By Barbara Gaby Placilla
Please don’t shoot the messenger; I hate to be the bearer of bad news. Labor Day is here already and you know what that means. The days have started getting shorter, the three words we all hated when we were kids, “back to school,” are a reality and the ferry schedule is changing. But look on the bright side. Even though this is our last issue, the glorious month of September is here, some of the best days in Ocean Bay Park are yet to come and I have still have news to report.
Diane Sweeney and Ken Klein had four generations of her family for their annual get together. Diane’s daughters and their families included the youngest member of the clan, Diane’s great-granddaughter, Autumn, 4 weeks old. DD you do NOT look like a GG to me!
Angelo Sakonas also had a family reunion but not on Fire Island. Angelo returned to his village in Greece, outside of Athens. It was his first visit back in almost 20 years and his pictures of the beach and the delicious food at the seaside tavernas brought back memories of my honeymoon in Greece 31 years ago.
Every year the Fire Island Hotel closes out the season with a bass fishing tournament the first weekend in October. It’s always a good time whether you catch the winner or not. Since the bass are not yet running, we decided to take our houseguests, my brother, Stephen Lott, and his wife, Diane, fishing on the bay for a practice run. Along with Pat and Mike Supple, we boarded the “Captree Princess” for an afternoon of fluke fishing. Of course, my brother, who lives on City Island and goes fishing every day, caught the first fish. He also won the pool with the biggest, beating out Captain Andresen. We all got keepers and the next day totally enjoyed the catch of the day (before).
I reported the passing of our Ontario Street friend and neighbor, Frank Ollari, in my first column. On Saturday, Aug. 18, his partner, Mildred Nece, hosted a cocktail party in his honor. The private gathering of 60 was held at the Schooner. This was not a memorial with speeches et al., rather it was a toast to Frank and a celebration of his life. The only “memorial” was a fitting display of Budweiser cans, Frank’s beverage of choice.
As I was leaving the party, the Beermann boys, Chris and Luke, were coming in with their grandmother, Joanne Beermann. I did not recognize Luke since he was not wearing his yellow Fire Island Ferry T-shirt. He was sporting a beard, black rimmed glasses, and a blue button down shirt and he looked every bit the part of his new job as a professor of athletic training at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. His brother, Chris, also had big news. He is engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Stephanie Dluginski. His mother, Elaine, told me that they are planning a winter wedding for February of 2020. I was happy to see family matriarch Joanne out and about after some recent health issues. Happy birthday to Joanne in advance.
The circle of life continues. I also reported in that same first issue, that John and Mary “B” McCullough’s son, Emmet, and his wife, Sophia, were expecting. Congratulations to the entire family and welcome to the next generation of McCullough’s in OBP, Liam Flynn McCullough who was born on Aug. 6. Grandpa John told me that the baby’s middle name is a reference to the fact that his parents met at Flynn’s!
I can’t report on the annual Ocean Bay Park vs Seaview Homeowners game so it will have to remain a cliffhanger until the first column of 2019. Hopefully it will be good news and the trophy will come back home.
Congratulations and good luck to all the OBP students beginning or returning to college. Nicholas Borges is entering University of Hartford, Anthony Catanese is starting at St. John’s University and Melodie Rose Catanese has transferred from Iona to the pre-veterinary program at LIU Post – aka C.W. Post. She spent her second summer working at the Suffolk County Farm and Education Center caring for animals.
Movies under the stars at the Seaview bay beach have become an end of summer tradition and once again the Seaview Community Fund did not disappoint. Big thanks to them for helping close out the summer with a vintage movie. This year they presented “To Catch a Thief” starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. It’s hard to beat that combo on the screen, what’s not to love? The location, the jewels, the dresses and sitting under the stars at the bay watching two screen legends is the closest thing to a drive-in movie you can get on Fire Island.
Change is coming to Ocean Bay Park, but we still don’t know when. The change I refer to is the demolition of the remaining beachfront houses to make way for the next phase of the FIMI project. For the third summer we have sat on the beach with these sad, boarded up ghost houses lining the dune from Superior to Seneca. I nicknamed them the Moai, because they remind me of the monoliths that stand guard on Easter Island – watching and waiting for something. We have spent yet another summer in limbo waiting for our turn at the beach restoration that has already taken place to the west of us. Until then, we are like the Moai, sentinels who watch and wait and hope that we make it through yet another season of hurricanes and nor’easters without too much more damage to the beach and our community.
Thank you all for reading my musings. I hope you all made your own special memories and I look forward to seeing you all next season.