By Barbara Gaby Placilla
While some people like it hot and others don’t, there was no denying that the summer of 2018 was in full swing. The weather was hot and sunny and all of a sudden it seemed like everyone I knew was hosting family guests. It’s a family affair – that’s what the past two weeks have been, here in Ocean Bay Park.
The annual Byrnes Invasion took place like clockwork on the last weekend of July. It has become a harbinger of half way to Labor Day. According to family matriarch Carol Donohue, there were more adults and fewer kids as the “kids” have now grown up and have families of their own. Nobody seemed to know exactly how many of the extended Donohue-Byrnes clan invaded OBP, but it’s safe to say more than 50 and less than 100!
Angelo Sakonas’ house on Ocean Bay Boulevard was filled to capacity when his stepson Cory Hewitt visited from California with his wife, Sarah, and their two children, Dylan and Lucia. They were joined by OBP regulars, Cory’s sister, Kelly; husband, Frank Borges; and their two teenagers, Nicholas and Sofia. Nicholas, 19, is in the Marine Corps Reserves and just completed training exercises in Alaska. Steve and I had our two teenage grandkids, Nicklas and Samantha, for the week. Their younger brother, Caleb, was off to summer camp and won’t be back until late August when we all celebrate our Nick’s 16th birthday. On one of the hottest days, I spotted Candace and Fred Schiffer with their three young grandchildren enjoying ice cream before it melted.
Lisa Jaffe’s mom, Susan Abbott, came up from Florida and was feted with an 80th birthday party on the beach. Since this was a Jaffe event, there was a “tent” and fantastic food including Paul Mohring’s excellent lobster rolls and a special birthday cake complete with a crystal 80 and Boca bling! Cousins came from near and far to help Susan celebrate this milestone birthday. They were joined by Steven Jaffe’s sister, Moira; her husband, Steve; and their son, Jack; along with Ocean Bay Boulevard/Ontario Street “regulars:” Kathy and Tony Catanese, Chas, Lori and Taylor Kingsley, Lisa and Sean McNamee, Tamara and Nick Sandow, and myself. Everyone sang Happy Birthday and Harrison Jaffe arrived in time to give his Grandma Susan a hug and a big kiss.
Susan Abrahams, who shares her July 22 birthday with Lisa, held her annual birthday party on the 21st. Since it invariably rains on her parade, this time she was prepared and had her entire back yard tented. The rains came but her guests just partied on!
Not everyone had family join them in Ocean Bay Park. Sometimes you take Fire Island with you. Rachelle King just returned from a whirlwind “grand tour.” Rachelle is an avid traveler who tries to take an exotic jaunt each summer. This year, she joined her 89-1/2 year old father, Stanley King, on a 25-day journey to 11 countries in Europe, including a 12-day cruise to Sweden, Russia, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Germany, Holland, and France. Among the highlights were visiting the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia; visiting the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark; biking in picturesque Tallinn, Estonia; and being in Paris not just for Bastille Day to see the most incredible fireworks at the Eiffel Tower, but to be there when France won the World Cup! Rachelle just returned and reported that the energy and excitement were amazing and they were over the moon to see so much incredible art and architecture, eat incredible food, and share this once in a life time father-daughter experience together.
Speaking of globetrotters, the OBP FD Auxiliary hosted another lecture by Peter Greenberg, the noted travel writer and Emmy Award winning travel editor and reporter. Peter grew up in OBP and even though he travels all over the world, still considers this home. Each time Peter has a travel talk, you learn something you didn’t know or more importantly should know when it comes to travel. These are not to be missed events and I hope he continues to do them for many summers to come.
Now that it’s August, those of us with gardens are eagerly waiting for that first bite of a luscious, ripe, red tomato (or yellow if you plant Mr. Stripy). This is a bittersweet moment because we all know that summer is flying by and before we know, it will be September. But before that occurs, we have two more big events to anticipate. The annual Ocean Bay Park Community Fair will be held on Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Schooner Inn from noon to 3 p.m. The Ocean Bay Park Association was founded in 1956, and along with the residents and business owners strives to promote and preserve a residential and family-oriented environment in our town. This annual event is an opportunity for us to all come together as neighbors to raise the much needed funds used to maintain and improve the Ocean Bay Park community. We still need donations of goods and services for the silent auction, and cooked dishes and baked goods to sell. Plus we always need volunteers to help man/woman the event! All monies raised will be used by the OBPA to help defray the cost of community projects that are not provided by the Town of Brookhaven. You can contact my co-chair Cami Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or me at email@example.com. So, please come to the Fair.
To round out the weekend, the 12th Annual Fire Island 5K Run for Rose will take place the next day, Sunday, Aug. 12. This event is a 5K run that benefits the Rose DiGangi Foundation, supporting brain cancer patients and their families. Additional race information can be found at www.fi5k.org.
Until the next time, as Van Morrison sang, “Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly” and go “Into the Mystic”!