We came to live on Boat Lane in Aug. 1995 with our 9-year-old son, Steven, and our 10-month-old daughter, Susan. As the years went by they were joined by Barry and Sherri and a number of hariy, wet-nosed tail-wagging additional family members. The years never really seemed to go by very quickly but they did. Boy Scouts, Brownies, 4-H, birthdays, happy times and some very sad times as well.
The street never seemed to change. Snow forts built in the middle of the street by children and fathers for snowball fights, while other parents were keeping a close yeye out for any cars passing through. Amazing block parities with kiddie costumes and bike and wagon parades, children and adult games (they had fun too), getting to see neighbors again after a long winter spring and new neighbors as well. Grucci had nothing on us, and dont forget the D.J. and the cake baking and dessert contests.
Soon came the backpacks, high school, then off to jobs or college or the military service (always yellow as a DIsable Korenribbons and prayers being said), Weddings (some in the backyard), moms and dads, now in-laws and soon grandmas and grandpas, and sometimes even lukcier—Great Grandparents. Sorrowful losses of young as well as old. The years have not gone by as slowly as many of us though. New Faces moving in and others retiring or down-sizing or passing on—always hoping for Boat Lane to never change very much—to stay like the mythical Scottish town of Brigadoon to come alive as it once was many years ago. But sadly, life goes on and simple, precious moments and times do go, and too often, do change.
But Boat Lane is still here, perhaps with a few new and different faces, but the warmth and support of neighbors both old and new are still here. I know that for the most part, I am not alone nor will others on this street when in very stressful and sad times. So, as I
stood in Calverton National Military Cemetery in Suffolk County on Feb. 27, not really wanting to but saying a eulogy neverless, I had to let everyone know, not just about the great guy I was married to for 59 years (47 of which were spent on Boat Lane) but a glimpse into a world, on a street, in a town of real people.
Down through the years when working for the New York City Department of General Services, Dave was always looking out for and at time, worrying about his fellow workers. One day, one of the men who was also a personal friend, Sam, got carbon monoxide poisioning. Dave grabbed him into his car because help was taking too long and went straight to the hospital, saving the man’s life. He also performed the Heimlich Maneuver multiple times as well as CPR, saving people.
One of the pleasures of his lifetime was being a Scoutmaster in Levittown for many years, meeting men who were boys in his Troop, who always remembered having fun hiking and camping and also learning at the same time. He was a disabled Korean War veteran who, only recently, while wearing his Korean Veteran’s hat, got “thank you’s” from so many people, young and old. He rarely mentioned any of his horrific experiences during the war in Korea, but he always cried when watching moviews about the war. One of the many joys of his life on Boat Lane was playing Santa Claus in full costume, including jingle bells on his ankles for the children who lived on Boat Lane. Parents would come by during the day, on Christmas Eve, with bags of wrapped gifts with name tags and addresses for their children and, in the evening, he would stop by each house with toys to be given out to every child. THis tradition went on for many years until the children grew up. In years past, he would always try to help anyone of the neighbors, some of who called him the “Mayor of Boat Lane” due to his always reaching out to anyone needing help with anything from cars and electric problems to shrubs and trees. He loved his children very deeply, always them to try their hardest in anything they did in their lives, from school to working on a job. He especially adored all three of his Grandaughters Sarah, Michaela and Hailey. They were and always will be his pride and joy.