By Barbara Gaby Placilla ~ It’s August and in any other year we would be saying that we are “hitting the home stretch.” Those who see the glass as half empty bemoan the fact that summer has reached the halfway point and dread that it’s coming to an end. While those of us who see the glass as half full look forward to all that August has to offer: too many tomatoes to eat, warmer water in the ocean, gardens in full bloom. This year the COVID-19 pandemic has turned all that upside down and at this point do we even know what the home stretch should be? Will things ever go back to normal? And what exactly is normal now?
Despite the pandemic, life in Ocean Bay Park has adjusted as best is possible and at times the silence is somewhat deafening! People are going about their daily activities, staying within their COVID circles and hoping that it is all over sooner rather than later. The beach is crowded but most people are following the guidelines and staying the recommended 6 feet apart. A sad commentary is that discarded face masks now litter the roads replacing those ubiquitous white paper pizza plates.
I do feel that Mother Nature has overcompensated because this year the vitex are such a vibrant purple, it is impossible not to be in awe. At times the color is almost blinding. Could this be her small consolation for an otherwise lost summer?
The Seaview ballfield has not seen any real softball games, but I did come upon a father and his two sons celebrating opening day of the MLB mini season with their own impromptu game. Glad they were Yankees fans! In the morning, there is a group that has set up their own family run day camp, complete with games and an exercise maze. which just proves that people are adapting and making the best of it.
I wish I did not have to write about the passing of two long time Ocean Bay Park residents – Steve Knopp of Michigan Street and Susan Abrahams of Ocean Bay Boulevard. Two people from entirely different generations and backgrounds, yet both had the same deep love of Fire Island. Steve was a retired airline pilot, who was one of the original volleyball players. He spent over 50 summers in Ocean Bay Park with his wife, Marki. Susan Abrahams was impossible not to like. I never saw that woman without a broad smile on her face. Her annual birthday party always spilled over onto the road and turned into a block party. She was my backyard neighbor and it was not unusual to hear Susan and her houseguests enjoying the hot tub on a cold winter night. One night over 20 years ago, Susan, her father, Jack, Bob Pols, and I snuck onto a neighbor’s roof deck and stayed up all night to watch the Perseids meteor showers. I like to think that she is now one of those shooting stars blazing bright but gone too soon. Rest in Peace both Steve and Susan; you are missed.
Stay well, stay safe and PLEASE wear a mask!
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