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To most golfers, breaking 80 is like scaling the heights of Everest - in a snowstorm! For me, however, it's always been even tougher. Over countless rounds spanning 4'/2 decades, the best I'd ever done was an 82 out at Swan Lake in Manorville back in 1999. Never again have I come that close. My scores, in fact, have gotten progressively worse. So much so that a good round these days means not losing too many balls.
One day in October, though, the golf gods smiled.
I was playing alone at the Hollbrook Country Club and for the first 17 holes my game was the stuff of fantasy - drives that went straight, irons that flew far, wedges that landed on the green and putts that rolled in. Even the occasional sand trap gave me no problems. Never before had I played so well. With such consistent, almost preternatural, skill. It was hard to believe my all-but-forgotten dream was about to be realized. I only had to shoot an eight or less on the final hole.
The late-afternoon sun was just supping beneath the treetops when I pulled up at the 18th. Taking a new ball out of its sleeve, I sat there a moment, eyes to the sky, begging not the gods of golf, but God, Himself, to let the magic continue a little while longer. Then, with a deep, calming breath, I got out of the cart, grabbed my club, and headed toward the tee.
The flag of 18 waved like a red blur, almost 500 yards away. A good drive down the middle would get me almost halfway there. "Seeing" it happen (as Tiger Woods suggests), I reached into my pocket for a tee - the longer kind made for today's larger club-heads. Not finding any, I was walking back to the cart when a crow of gargantuan size suddenly swooped down, pulled my bag of tees out of the cup holder and flew off. Screaming, I followed the bird to a nearby tree. It sat on an uppermost branch about 40 feet up, the booty dangling from its beak. I cursed and raved. Almost flung my club at the thing. The beast just looked down at me, one eye at a time.
Another search through my golf bag produced nothing. Neither did careful scrutiny of the ground. So a 4 wood off the biggest broken tee I could find was my only option. The ball sliced left, deep into the woods. Four strokes later, it was finally back on the fairway. Two more and my ball now rested a mere foot from the cup. Despite my poor start, the incredible feat still seemed to beckon.
But then as my putter began to move forward, the ebony creature suddenly swooshed onto the green. Startled, I missed the putt We stood there a moment, only a few feet apart, staring at each other.
"WHY?" I shouted.
The bird cawed.
Then flew away. .
With a resigned tap, I sank the putt for an 80. At any other time, that score would have been cause for great joy and celebration. That day, though, it seemed a disaster.
I played Holbrook again the following week.
Shot a 98.
And, of course, I never once saw the crow.
Last night we lost part of our Brentwood family. Maureen Rezza (mother of Christine Bouchard, teacher at OP) passed away peacefully at her Brentwood home surrounded by family. Maureen was a retired Clerical from Human Resources, as well as, a wife, mother of three, and grandmother of five. Details are as follows:
Walsh Funeral Home
60 Carlton Avenue
Central Islip, NY
Wednesday, December 21 and Thursday, December 22
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Funeral Mass to be held at St. Luke’s on Wicks Road in Brentwood at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, December 23rd.
EXPRESSWAY: PAT-DOWN AND A PAT ON THE BACK
By Chris Veech
A funny thing happened to me on the way to Des Moines this past summer for a reunion and the Iowa State Fair. (Yes, we saw the Butter Cow, ate pork, corn and everything else on a stick, and we missed the Republican straw poll candidates by a day, but not the hoopla.)
When I arrived at LaGuardia Airport to begin my trip, it was about 11:30 a.m. and there were no lines at the security gate. Relaxed airport employees returned my smile when I mentioned how lucky I was to be breezing right through.
As I put my bag and purse through the scanner, I blithely pulled out my "hip replacement patient ID card," given to me by my doctor after surgery about two years ago. It's supposed to explain that the titanium in my hip would set off an alarm on the walk-through scanner. It did, but I wasn't absolved by my special card.
The security agent matter-of-factly gestured to a glass-wall pen. I gathered my bag and walked to the pen. The agent, not in a pleasant mood, went in search of someone to do a pat-down. I thought, "It is what it is, but it will become what you make of it."
The agent returned, not smiling, and said she would do the deed, and instructed me to stand with my legs apart and arms in the air. She patted my body, starting at the shoulders and moving over the torso front and back, then deftly over the groin and down the legs. The agent did a good job. It wasn't personal, it wasn't a punishment. It was what it was -- a result of continuing insecurity.
As she stood, I smiled at her as I lowered my arms -- and thanked her for a very professional job. Now she seemed surprised, and the corners of her mouth crinkled into a smile. She nodded, saying nothing, and left me to continue my journey. In the mood she seemed to be in, just her smile was a victory for me.
I realize that airport security has been in the news. Three women traveling to Florida and wearing medical devices have accused Transportation Security Administration personnel in New York of forcing them to disrobe so their devices could be checked. The TSA has responded that it does not do strip-searches.
In my case, perhaps I'm fortunate that my metal device is inside my body, so only my natural contours need be investigated. As much as I'd rather not be patted down, airport agents don't have a deep love for the process either, as I inferred from my LaGuardia experience. Elderly Woman Search
During my pat-down, I realized that the people who work in our airports are rarely thanked or smiled at as they do these mandated jobs. We don't take the time, because most of us are so concerned about ourselves that we don't think about those around us.
But I had, and I found that my trip was ever so much more pleasant as a result. On the return trip, though I flashed my useless card, I was again patted down, also professionally, and I repeated my thanks, which again were well received. (I'll still keep the "get out of the pat-down" card in my wallet. You never know.)
So next time you travel, remember that those workers in the crowded airports try their best, sometimes in vexing situations. Flash a smile, say thanks, and see how much better they, and you, will feel. It does become what you make of it.
RENEW YOUR ROBS 2011-2012 MEMBERSHIP
Just a reminder to our members to renew your ROBS membership for the coming year. You can download theMembership Application here and mail it along with your check for $25 dollars to Marge Kirchner, 666 Hawkins Road East, Coram NY 11727. Make checks out to ROBS.
If you are not currently a member, please go to theMembership page of this site to learn more about the many benefits of joining ROBS. You can also download the application from that page.
We hope you will be joining us, and to our current members, thank you for your renewal.
DOT ZUCKERMAN IS PLANNING A TRIP TO THE ANCIENT WORLD FOR JULY
MOST IGNORANT OF LABOR HISTORY
By Marianne Gruskin | Jupiter, Fla
I graduated from Flushing High School (1957), and I remember learning about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in the Flatiron (New York City, March, 1911). Samuel Gompers started unions to protect workers' rights. This past March, PBS-TV had a documentary about the fire. I lost a 15-year-old cousin in that fire. I am now residing in Florida and I asked several native Floridians in their 50s if they ever learned about the fire, Gompers, or if they know why unions were started. They said no. Maybe if they had learned about the conditions workers had worked under, they would be more empathetic towards unions.
I experienced the first New York City teachers' strike in 1962. I was a newly appointed permanent sub at Flushing HS. My former teachers were picketing and no way could I cross the picket line. Many of those teachers were near retirement age, and they were fighting for my future.
The above Letter to the Editor appeared in NYSUT United, November 22, 2011"Letters: Hold your heads high" Marianne was motivated to write this Letter to the Editor because she recalled learning about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in school. “My 8th grade social studies teacher, Mrs. Sheridan, was the teacher who imparted this tidbit of info. This was 1952 or' 53." This year commemorated the 100th year anniversary of the fire.
The following is a prose written by Donald Kubicsko who retired in 1995 from Sonderling/Ross High School. To view the original illustrated version, click here.
by Donald Kubicsko
“We’re free, we’re free!” shouted the chorus of leaves, as they fluttered and swirled and danced about while leaving the bonds of their trees... “Oh my, YES, we’re happy as can be to simply fly free and whisk ourselves from here to there without a care—and as fast as we can with the help of the air”
“And thanks to the GODDESS OF TREES, now we can roam without worry and go as far and as high as one can fly—We needn’t worry any more for I heard the Good News—HAVEN’T YOU?” inquired the sturdy oak leaf to the maple and dogwood leaves in Don and Barb’s backyard.
“No, No, No, please tell us so we can enjoy it too, please!” So the mighty Scrub Oak leaf told them and did so without worry or having to look over his shoulder to avoid serious danger for himself and others.
“That’s FANTASTIC and WONDERFUL!” shouted the maple and dogwood leaves.
“Now we can fly without worry, too. And now that we can freely move about without the cloudy thought over me, I can go about and tell all our friend leaves as one leaf to another how beautiful and handsome you EACH turned out this Fall. From way up high on top of the mighty oak I watched with AWE and saw how your green coat turned into elegant yellow, then to beautiful red before you departed from your branches.”
”I’m so glad to tell you that now but before then I couldn’t chance it to come so close because of...YOU KNOW WHO...and what would happen to us?! Why, even my leaf friends had to hide just about anywhere they could. Some would lay low in the rain gutters having to live drippy, wet lives. Others would try to hide under the old man's deck—surely a good place as he’d never come under there to get us. And then some would gather together in the flower beds as the old grump can’t tell a daisy from a rose or a weed; and his wife would give him grief if he messed any of them up. Most of us found a safe haven, but I really felt sad for those out in the open green lawn where they were defenseless against IT.”
“And do you even know what he did?? He took out his old rusty ladder, climbed up on his roof and AIR BLASTED the gutters scattering all my friend leafs to places far and unknown—never to be seen again and then hunted them down like criminals—what a wretched SOUL was he. Next, he cruelly grabbed his sharp-toothed rakes and worked their claws over the defenseless leaves and piled them up and threw them into some dark gloomy black things called B-A-G-S, then drove them down the road twelve miles to a distant land called—THE DUMPS whereupon he shook them out amongst other strangers—”“WHAT A DESPICABLE MAN WAS HE!”
"But... but... have you heard the good news today? IT got sick the other day and coughed and coughed, and gagged. The old man couldn't FIGURE out what happened and what he ought to do, so he fed it some liquid stuff and lo and behold it frighteningly purred again. We were so frightened again and wondered what it would do, but then it sputtered again and again, and again then simply lost ITS breath and stopped for a while...”
“Then, it scared us again but we laughed and laughed when its handle CRACKED AND CRASHED to the ground causing thunderous cuss words from the old man's mouth. Again, he didn't know what to do so he decided to seek help from the local lawn doctor. All he could say was that THERE’S NO CURE for wretched IT, the DEVIL’S ARM. Sadly, the old man left with a feeling of dread— but...good news!
—we were able to fly and swirl and flitter about as he left for Mr. Mike's house to rout out our other friend leafs.
"There, all he did was work the rakes to near death—breaking tine after tine without regard to stainless steel strength. Then we all started to count—forty-one, forty-two, and ended at forty-seven black bags of screaming leaves, our FRIENDS. But then, we heard from far away the sound of thousands and thousands of leaves delightfully shouting and screaming, and swirling and flying all about. Screaming and screeching—HAVE YOU HEARD, HAVE YOU HEARD...?!?" The old man’s leaf vacuum is DEAD.
"Thankful, Thankful are we. Leafy leaves that are finally free! Free to watch with happy glee as the little tan car carried IT away with all three — grumpy old man, his son and granddaughter slowly, slowly driving to that 12 mile place and ITS final resting place called THE DUMPS.”
“Flee at last, Flee at last, we can finally Flee at last!”
Now, the old man goes from mall to mall to find another for next FALL only to be told it’s worth six hundred green—and that’s what is REALLY MEAN for him, but “We’re free, We’re free, as happy leaves can be!”
Why did we do it?
What was our purpose in taking on such an open ended “History Project”; for which we evolved a script of questions and got answers from over 150 subjects for two decades?
We couldn’t answer the question in 1994 when people would ask “What are you going to do with the interviews?” All we could say was that for educational purposes we had to document our record now or lose the chance to preserve so many poignant accounts, funny stories and touching tales told by exemplary educators. We knew these dedicated public servants might shortly, for reasons yet unknown, be leaving Brentwood for good.
So, we decided to let time sort out the details. We began scheduling appointments. We asked questions and listened saving for generations the essence of what it meant to have been an educator or employed, in this large public school system during the second half of the 20th century. Brentwood remains an exemplar to all others; a diverse microcosm of America reflecting 124 districts on Long Island while simultaneously resembling thousands across the U.S. We’ve accomplished something here to be proud of. Whether we were interviewed or not, ours is a claim of service that few professionals in the State of New York or elsewhere have positioned themselves to share in the way we have. INITIALLY the practice of sitting with a subject for an hour and giving them a hundred percent focused attention seemed somewhat daunting to a number of friends and colleagues. So much so in fact that many declined our repeated invitations to speak with us as they left careers or retired from full employment. Despite all assurances that we were not about investigative journalism or invading privacy, they deferred. Now, twenty years after we began, some are saying they may be ready. “Better late than never” we say. However, to all among you who were willing to share not only your classroom experiences and personal stories, but precious memories from your lives along with your fondest hopes for the future, we say “Thanks”. Thanks for allowing us to continue the process by paying it forward as we share these interviews with the Brentwood community and countless professionals and researchers near and far. Through an acceptance of ROBS offer of collaboration with Archivist Dr. Geri Solomon and The Long Island Studies Institute at Hofstra University our History Project lives on in academia as well as in the collection of the Brentwood Public Library, thanks to Director, Thomas A. Tarantowicz.
Enjoy unlimited visits to www.robsny.org where you can watch and listen to segments from featured Interviews in the ROBS History Project Section on our Announcements Page each month. Return here to listen and learn again and again.
THIS MONTH'S FEATURED HISTORY PROJECT
Patricia Stuhler Retirement Information Day
April 28-29, 2010
Patricia was a Special Education Teacher at Oak Park. She had twenty five years in the District caring for the children she loved. In an emotional portrait of a dedicated and sincere professional, she traces her career through years of fulfillment, overcoming challenges and alluding to the difficulties of children learning how to read. She tells us how she might like to be remembered and concludes with a few profound words of advice for her successor
Retirement Information Day
April 28-29. 2010
Richard has been an Elementary Physical Education Teacher in the Brentwood School District for a total of thirty seven years, devoting most of his time between Twin Pines and Pine Park Elementary Schools. He comes from a family of educators, including one brother and several relatives. His father John Curio, will be remembered as having been a respected member of the Brentwood Board during it’s formative years, and serves as a shinning example to this son who followed in his public service footsteps. The first year was his most challenging, for it was then he learned to enjoy children, paving the way for a satisfying and rewarding career. He’s been preparing for this moment for a while but not until this year has he admitted to being “Ready”.
THE TOWN CRIER -MarilynDePlaza@aol.com
"The Town Crier" was set up a number of years ago so that the retirees of the Brentwood School District could have an email center to stay in touch. Since I began to send out all sorts of information, retirees from all over the country have sent me their email addresses. Some have asked, "Do you have any idea where so and so is?" Others have sent proud news of their accomplishments, their family news, photos,etc. and sadly, we often get bad news. Many retirees whom I have never met write me to thank me for keeping this connection going, as everyone remembers the Brentwood years with warm feelings.
Sadly, Pat Leap, HS language teacher, passed away last night after a recurrence of cancer. The wake will take place at Joseph A. Weber Funeral Home, 231 Hawkins Ave., Lake Ronkonkoma, on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 2 - 4:30 and 7 - 9. The funeral home will open at 8:30 Friday morning for a final viewing before the 9:45 funeral Mass at Church of the Good Shepherd, 1370 Grundy Ave., Holbrook.
Florence Mussler, daughter of Florence Corkery has passed away. She will be reposing at Raynor and D'Andrea Funeral Home.
Montauk Highway, Bayport
Sunday - 7-9PM -12/11
Monday - 2-4PM and 7-9PM - 12/12
Burial will be in Calverton -
Those wishing to send condolences to Florence - Her address is:
224 Connetquot Rd