By Barbara Gaby Placilla
Wow, July 4th! Can you believe it? Why it that the older we get the faster time seems to go? Steve and I “got out of Dodge” for a week so that I could celebrate a really big birthday and quietly sulk that I was getting older but still waiting for the “getting better” part, if you know what I mean. We had a great week, albeit with very poor internet service and since there was no CNN, we made do with MSNBC! Luckily, we must have picked the right week because we learned that on Fire Island it rained for six straight days and there were rumors that the construction of an ark was underway.
Unfortunately we did not get back on the island in time to attend the showing of the documentary film “Cat Man of Ocean Beach,” at the OBP firehouse. My spies reported back that it was very well attended and a “meow”bulous success! The film is a documentary written and directed by University of Tampa graduate Evan Lauri about John “Jay” McCollum, the president of the non-profit Fire Island Animal Welfare Society. For anyone who is new to Fire Island, John McCollum is the man I call the St. Francis of the West End. Not only does he care for animals of all shapes, sizes and species, he is an expert who always takes the time to stop and answer questions or offer advice on how to peacefully coexist with our four-legged or two-winged neighbors. Since John lives in Ocean Beach, I call Seaview’s Bruce Mayer the St. Francis of the East End. Both of these year-round residents care deeply about all animals and consistently go above and beyond in providing care for them. There was a wine and cheese reception after the showing and John and Evan answered questions. Thank you to the OBP Auxiliary for hosting this fundraiser, and especially to Karen Swinsky Carouso who was instrumental in promoting and organizing the event.
Being away for a week and having a tight deadline, I had to immediately go out and troll for news. The first person I saw was Anne Curry who told me that she had just completed her 10,000 steps for the
day by walking to and from the Sunken Forest on her somewhat newly replaced hip. She called me “Brenda Starr” and we reminisced about that ancient comic strip. I told her it brought back memories of my favorite Aunt Marian, who I always fantasized really was Brenda Starr because of how glamorous she was. We both wondered whatever did happen to Basil St. John and I have to remember to Google that.
It is houseguest season and fun to meet new and interesting people. Nonda Volpe is in residence at her home on Cayuga for a much deserved two week hiatus and she introduced me to her college roommate, Angel Lynch. They have been friends for more than 40 years. Champlain Street’s Kevin and Theresa Padgett were hosting her brother and sister-in-law, Tom and Gina Kabicki. Theresa, Gina and I talked about what it was like growing up in NYC neighborhoods before they became “hot” real estate markets. Kevin and Tom have known each other since kindergarten in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where they all grew up before it became chic and trendy. The school they attended, St. Vincent’s, is now a condo. I grew up in Sunnyside, Queens, which was always the best kept secret since it’s only a 15 minute ride on the Number 7 train to Grand Central Station.
Tanya Tesa came by to pick up the two pack and plays from the Placilla’s “babies are us basement,” in anticipation of her annual family get together. Steve always asks me why I hang onto this stuff since our youngest grandchild, Caleb, is now 10 years old and I always reply, “We live on an island and you never know who will need it!” Oh, and Happy Birthday, Tanya – enjoy the kids.
Speaking of birthdays, I would be remiss if I did not wish a VERY Happy Birthday to our Community Manager, Bartley Horton. Thank you Bart, for all you do.
The Ocean Bay Park Community Fair will be held on Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Schooner Inn. I know it’s just the beginning of July, but time really does fly on Fire Island so I am asking for your help now. The Ocean Bay Park Association Community Fair has been held annually for more than 45 years. We need volunteers to help canvas businesses on and off the island for the donations and items that we offer in the silent raffle. We would love to return to the “gourmet” aspect by offering more homemade/ home baked goods so please consider making and donating something. If you are culinary challenged, we accept donations of new items that can be resold. This is a great time to clean out the closet, attic, or wherever you stash all those things you really don’t need/want. Volunteers are needed to help set up, run and break down the event. It’s not work, it’s a great opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and most importantly give back to the community. My co-chair, Cami Meyer and I are looking forward to hearing from you. Please give us a call – we’re in the Directory. The more volunteers, the better the event!
The week of July 4th kicks off summer as we celebrate our country’s founding and independence. I look at all the happy, healthy and vibrant children who are now careening up and down the streets and I am reminded of something that Audrey Hepburn said. Not only was she a superb actress, she was a great humanitarian. “Nothing is more important than empathy for another human being’s suffering. Nothing. Not a career, not wealth, not intelligence, certainly not status. We have to feel for one another if we’re going to survive with dignity.”
Happy Birthday, America!
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