‘I was what they call a bird-dog.’
Stephanie Rogers, Fire Island
“My husband got a rare form of leukemia and passed away in September of 1983. He was a deputy inspector with the Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau. The Marine Bureau launched a boat in his memory and christened it the F. Barton Hose. That was 40 years ago. With two teenage sons, I was determined to make our life fun.
“We learned to how scuba dive and ski. Then I began to sell boats. I was what they call a bird-dog. I’d talk to people at boat shows and introduce them to salespeople. I organized boat trips out to East Moriches, Shinnecock and Block Island. But the marine industry wasn’t healthy in the late 1980s.
I did yoga since the 1960s, much of it learned from books or television.
“A friend invested in a restaurant and asked me to run the bar. I had gone to bartending school, so I did that for a while, but it was a seasonal restaurant. With my sons now grown, I became a ski bunny in Colorado for the winter.
“Then I went to France to ski and work. I was a madame pipi, collecting change at the bathroom, and learned French. I also studied polarity, which is a kind of body work. Needing to up my game, I moved with my cat to Santa Fe and took a nine-month immersion course.
“Having lived in Japan as a child, I wanted to see it again, so I lived in Kyoto and taught English and polarity massage. I returned to France to work at the Val-d’Isère ski resort in the French Alps. The friends I summered with had moved, but I still had my house in Fair Harbor. I now stay April to November. This is home.
“I did yoga since the 1960s, much of it learned from books or television. In 1993, two friends took a yoga class in Saltaire and hurt after returning. I said, ‘You shouldn’t hurt. Come to my back deck and we’ll get up to speed.’ Soon they brought more people over. I outgrew the deck, so I began teaching yoga on the beach. I came up with the name Steph’s Body Works, because I’m older and my body works.
“I’m a registered polarity teacher, craniosacral therapist, certified yoga instructor and still learning. I just took a course on yoga for people with osteoporosis and am signed up for a class that uses body work to help people with long-haul COVID and Lyme disease. We’ll see how it goes.”
Interviewed by Shoshanna McCollum