Suffolk County

Blogging From A To Z Challenge~ Letter L

LINDENHURST NEW YORK 11757

 

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is the town  I lived in for most of my lifetime, from September 11, 1971 until April 28, 2006.  Technically it’s an incorporated village.  Officially I lived in the Copiague school district but it’s right on the borderline between the two Long Island towns anyway.  I have many especially happy memories of all the time I spent there. 

 

LINDENHURST NEW YORK 11757

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the wallsteadter’s big weekend

Harvey and Shirley Wallsteadter, and their kids, really wanted to go to his family’s annual picnic on the Memorial Day weekend.    Each year they make sure they pinch all their pennies, foregoing all luxuries, howsoever slight or trivial,  so they can afford this one big annual trip.    It’s the only time they get to see all his relatives together so it’s the absolute highlight of eveyone’s year.

The big day finally arrived.     They made the three hundred mile drive to Hecksher State Park in East Islip, on the south shore of  Long Island.     Unfortunately they’re only allowed to get the park for one day each year.   If the weather isn’t good enough on the appointed day, there’s no second chance.  All the relatives gathered together in their favorite spot very early in the morning so the could set up all the picnic tables.

Finally it was noon and everyone wanted a nice hearty lunch.    The people on k.p. duty  set the tables so nicely.    Just as they were about to put all the food upon them,  cousin Elmer noticed some terrifyingly black and grey clouds upon the horizon.   Aunt Flo Pauline’s complexion blanched entirely.    There were people there from all over the country and they couldn’t afford to make any changes.

 Of course, being the industrious bunch that they’ve always been they managed to figure something out quite soon.   First and foremost they made sure they all shut their car windows.   Cousin Leroy reminded them that they could always go to the gift shop, buy an umbrella for each of them, and spend the day shopping in all the gift shops and enjoying all the other indoor attractions.      Conveniently, since they always spend the entire weekend together each year, the food wouldn’t be wasted.    They’d just have to make sure they took it all over to their hotel rooms.

 

In a way it was all so depressing because they were forced to miss out on the single most significant part of the entire weekend.     Nothing’s ever struck them as so enjoyable as the picnic.    In spite of all the initial frustration and resentment, Harvey and Shirley, along with all the others, got quite a kick out of their bad break.

 

 

 

http://todaysauthor.wordpress.com/category/writing-prompts/

herbert’s box

 The Quackenbush’s were a nice couple from Lindenhurst, New York.   After several month’s of Ethel’s incessant whining, Herbert finally gave into her wishes and went out into their backyard on Saturday morning in order to plant a nice new rose bush.   On the bright side, he thought, flowers could be quite a nice conversation piece.   It’s a fairly easy job and there was nothing else to do that day anyway.     After his first couple of minutes of digging, and a few swigs of Pacifico beer, he couldn’t help noticing an entirely unexpected metallic sound.  He banged his shovel against the object several times to try to get it out.   It took him quite a lot of strenuous effort but he finally pried it from the hole.   It was only a large empty container, very plain and drab, but he found it so impressive.    Both in the morning and evening each day ever since then, he polished his cherished souvenir quite thoroughly.    Ethel was starting to wonder what all the fuss was about.   What could he possibly have known about this nondescript thing?     It was his favorite conversation piece too.    Daily in the neighborhood and at work he would stop someone at random, and explain to him all he though might be a part of the imagined history of this supposed priceless artifact.     Until that fateful morning, he’d always enjoyed, sports, hobbies and recreation as much as any reasonably well adjusted man.    Lately, though, all the poor soul could think of was his container.     Daily and nightly he daydreamed about all the fabulous exploits its previous owners must have experienced.    His tales got taller each time he told one.   Ethel even frequently tried hiding it on him.    That didn’t work out the least bit well though.    His unvarnished resentment over such an unforgivable act of rampant cruelty was quite bitter.    He took it into their bedroom each night so he could guard it with his very life.    Eventually he became the neighborhood and workplace oddball.   People could understand if it at least stood out somehow but this thing was plainer than paste.   Eventually the all deliberately went to great lengths to avoid having to associate with him, always politely reminding Ethel that it was nothing personal but that things were simply getting entirely out of control.    Soon they had no friends or family and he even got fired.     Although that was so very long ago folks from Nassau and Suffolk counties, to this very day, dread so much as the very possibility of a recurrence of such an odd incident.

 

 

 

 

http://todaysauthor.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/write-now-prompt-for-june-24-2014/

 

memories may be beautiful and yet

I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I’ve always considered September 11, 1971 quite a major watershed moment in my lifetime.    I was on the verge of turning twelve years old and had virtually always, for as long as I could remember, lived in Jackson Heights in Queens until then.     On that date my parents, Mary Anne  and I moved to Lindenhurst, two counties away in Suffolk County, in the middle of Long Island, on the south shore.     To this very day I can still remember having made up my mind, in quite a determined manner, to make it quite clear that I may have been in Lindenhurst but I would always consider myself from Jackson Heights.    Some people, upon being bombarded with such a seemingly infinite supply of  cold turkey irrevocable changes, seem to thrive on such an adventure.   I found it all entirely too nerve racking.     Upon my having said good-bye to St. Gabriel’s in East Elmhurst, I went to Copiague Junior High School for two weeks.    From then on I went to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Elementary School, in Lindenhurst, until the end of the eighth grade.     Perhaps I would always have been an excessively shy neurotic with all sorts of lopsided ways anyway, even if I would never have moved at the beginning of my adolescence.    That much change, in that short a time, didn’t help though.    Eventually by the time  I started high school, I no longer minded all the new circumstances.   The best thing about someone’s being a high school freshman is that  he’s only one among many other freshmen.    During my first two years in Lindenhurst, though, I was practically the only new kid there.   There was a girl named Cindy in my class at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, who started the same day I did, but everyone else was already an established member of the old guard.    The other most memorable moments in my life were when my parents both died, at eighty years old,  within forty five days of each other, last autumn.    In November 2012 my mother started getting very violently ill with cancer.   She was forced to spend the next ten months constantly going back and forth to Medical Oncology Associates in Kingston, the Geisinger Hospital and General Hospital in Wilkes Barre, and John Heinz Institute of Rehab in Kingston.    She died on September 23.    My father died around a month and a half later, at the Veteran’s Hospital, on November 7,  of a heart attack.  Everyone knows this brings about quite a significant change in an individual’s life.    I was forced into making  quite a lot of significant decisions and changes that would have been otherwise entirely unnecessary.   My-Name-is-Change

Because of their having lived until I was fifty four years old, their having always been around had most certainly been quite a significant part of my identity.    Their good and bad qualities, character strengths and defects are now all in the past tense.    One of the properties this had in common with the move to Lindenhurst from Jackson Heights was its irrevocable, cold turkey nature.   Surprisingly, although I’ve never dealt very well with stress, I got through all the hospital trips and both funerals fairly well.  Whatever I was supposed to do, I must have done in an acceptable manner.   What still boggles my mind is that things go on and neither of them is available anymore.     All the things that transpired between November 2012 and November 2013 are now permanently embedded into my memory.   Like a change of address this milestone marks the beginning of a new era of my life and even a new identity for me.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/prompt-moments-to-remember/

dear sir or madame would you read my book?

Ever since I was still only a little kid, I’ve always been quite the compulsive bookworm.    When my parents, Mary Anne and I used to go back and forth to northeastern Pennsylvania regularly to visit relatives, I spent each entire trip reading billboards and other signs along the way.   I can still remember being quite mesmerized over what Cutty Sark could possibly have meant.    Whenever I ate or drank something I paid quite an inordinate amount of attention to abbreviations like oz. and lb. on the labels.    In school I developed quite a reputation for having won virtually every spelling bee in Queens and Suffolk County.    I was the kind of kid whom my teachers, on standardized tests, always gave credit for having been around five years above the average reading level for my age range.    I can remember having read, at St. Gabriel’s and the local East Elmhurst Public Library, books and stories like “The Five Chinese Brothers”, “Skeeter Chariot High In the Sky” and the collected works of Dr. Seuss.   I first heard of Edward Lear at St. Gabriel’s, when I read his “There Was an Old Man With a Beard..” poem.    In the sixth grade, Brother Thomas made my classmates and me read, among other literary works, Steven Crane’s “The Red Badge of Courage”, and Edward Arlington Robinson’s “Richard Corey” and “Miniver Cheevey”.     Throughout my days at St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School and Farmingdale College, I was exposed to F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Shakespeare, Keats, Yeats, Blake, Joyce and countless other writers.    The Beatles, and other singers and bands from their era,  have always been my musical favorites.    The songs of the 1960’s reflect quite a lot of classic literary influence.   Joan Baez’ “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving” is based on Byron’s poem.    Yoko Ono’s “Who Has Seen the Wind” is based on Christina Rossetti’s poem.   The Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” and Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” come right out of Lewis Carroll.   I’ve heard that  Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”  was derived from an old medieval or Elizabethan poem.    As with my taste in show business and pop culture, I tend to be a bit of a literary snob.    The majority of the writers who really interest me are from the distant past.  Because of my pathological aversion to change-I’m ever the stick in the mud-my reaction to someone’s “We need another Emily Dickinson or Robert Frost” would be quite a resounding “Whatever good would that do? We already have the real Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost”.   When someone else has nothing to do he may eat, read the sports page. or watch television.   When I have nothing to do I read the collected works of the Brownings, Brontes or Shelleys, or some other classic author.    Right now I’m reading Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park”.    I have to be careful though.   Once I tried to read  seventy five pages James Joyce’s  “Ulysses” over the course of a day.   I got an unbearable migraine that lasted for three days.     I always have to laugh when I’m in a book store and see books by and about everyone from Tim Conway to Suzanne Somers.    I enjoy all kinds of reading material, ranging from biography to poems, novels, philosophy and theology.   Because of my having always been smitten with the humanities, people often take it for granted that I majored in theology and philosophy in school.    As a lay Carmelite I really have to keep up with developments in Sanjuanist and Teresian theology.     Sometimes I feel as if I don’t fit in very well with a lot of the people I’m expected to associate with but you never know when my interest in classic literature can come in quite handy.    On New Year’s Eve Steve an I went to a party in the neighborhood.    Although everyone else there, unlike me, was married with children and enjoyed sports,  I ended up getting into a really interesting conversation, with a guy named Kirk, about the collected works of Flannery O’Connor.    Not many people could have kept up with someone who wanted to talk about her.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/writing-challenge-reflections/#more-71506

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