Rise Above

We all have our obstacles, the daily struggles we try to overcome in an effort to be our best selves, to live our best lives, to reach whatever pinnacle of fulfillment possible. They say you should never compare your journey with anyone else’s, or look to compete in such a category. To each, his or her own; live and let live, and every other cliché in the book.

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
Christmas Conundrums

And just like that, it’s less than two weeks until Christmas. No sooner did I unpack my infamous Christmas closet and brace myself for the avalanche of décor which poured forth, then I must now begin to contemplate how in the world I’m going to fit everything back where I found it. ’Tis the season, indeed, short as it may be. 

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
Spirit of the Season

Once a Bulldog, Always a Bulldog… so the slogan goes, stamped on every piece of Lindenhurst paraphernalia this side of Wellwood Avenue, and beyond. And it’s true. I have not been a student of the Lindenhurst school district since 2000; but, come every Homecoming, I am there - along the parade route, in the stands, on the sidelines - snapping pictures for this very paper and cheering on the home team with the rest of the crowd, many of them fellow alumni.

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
I Heart New York

I love New York City. Unfortunately, my trips to the Big Apple tend to be few and far between; certainly not for lack of attractions to visit, but for the simple fact that time tends to slip away with the daily grind. Before you know it, months have elapsed, and all those fun day trips you had discussed with family and friends remain unexplored. 

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
Of Foliage and Fuzzy Friends

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted a “furry” pet of some kind, be it a puppy, kitten, bunny, even a guinea pig. Of course, once I moved into my own apartment and realized that such fuzzy companions require far more attention than I, as a full-time member of the workforce, can provide, I settled for my beloved little Buddy the Betta - and, following his passing, my new baby Betta, Norton von Spudly. Not exactly furry, but still fairly entertaining and interactive as fish go. 

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
Harry

“Have you ever really had a teacher? One who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine?” ~ Mitch Albom

Last week, I was saddened to learn of the passing of a most cherished teacher, mentor and friend, Mr. Elsesser - “Harry” as he signed the yearly Christmas cards we exchanged. They say that some people leave footprints on your heart… this was most certainly true of the man who took me under his wing way back in 4th grade, and helped me to soar to new heights I never thought possible.

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
When We Were Young

There’s something about this time of year, even being 17-plus years removed from school, that still resonates with a certain degree of excitement. First days, new supplies in hand, a fashionable outfit all picked out the night before… just seeing snapshots of my friends’ children brings back a flood of memories from when I was a child, excitedly comparing schedules with my own classmates, mapping out what routes to take to class, planning who to eat lunch with - the important things.

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
An Eclipse, a Fox and a Whale … Oh My!

“An eclipse, a fox and a whale … what's next? A zebra?” These were the words overheard at Robert Moses Field 5 on the afternoon of Monday, August 21st, spoken by a little boy as he incredulously recounted the events of the day. Nearly 30 years his senior, I have to say I shared the sentiment. 

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
A Funny Thing Happened…

A funny thing happened on my last trip to the beach; rather, several amusingly bizarre things that left my friend and I shaking our heads in bewilderment and wondering if we were, in fact, part of some sort of candid camera exposé.

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
Raising the Flag

There are many Memorial Day weekend traditions that people enjoy. Most of them tend to involve barbecues and beaches, bathing suits and sunbathing. Few take the time to truly appreciate the meaning of the holiday itself.

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
Seventeen

I remember the day like it was yesterday… which is fairly impressive, considering it was actually 17 years ago, to the day in fact. This momentous occasion of which I speak, on March 8th, 2000, was the date I was told by our high school principal that I was, in fact, “officially” the valedictorian of our senior class. 

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
Rosie

Rosemarie Kupencow – “Rosie,” as I always affectionately called her – was the very first friend I made when I started working here at South Bay’s Neighbor Newspapers, just about 11 years ago. The resident proofreader, she introduced herself to me right away, and made sure I felt welcome in this new, unfamiliar setting, showing me the ins and outs of the newspaper she had come to call home for close to a decade at that point.

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
Forever Pals

May God always watch over you (me too). Be careful, and always be good.
Love You, Your Pal Forever
Grandpa
P.S. Did not cheat!

…An excerpt from the inscription my Grandpa, my “Pal,” wrote in the pages of my senior high school yearbook, after some gentle, good-natured prodding that, after all, he couldn’t always just leave these things to Grandma.

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
Gone Too Soon

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

So the saying goes, and so the sentiment is reinforced every time news is received of the untimely passing of a loved one, friend, or even a celebrity or complete stranger. You just never know what goes on beneath the façade. Especially in this day and age of social media and what some might consider too much “sharing,” it is striking to note that the public profile rarely matches the internal struggle for many.

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
The Light of My Life

Goodbyes are never easy. In fact, they may be among the most difficult tasks we are forced to contend with in life, as we become so used to having those we love surround us, as a part of our world. And when they leave, well, that world comes crumbling down.

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
The Blink of an Eye

They say you shouldn’t write when you’re angry. But I am angry. Angry that a beautiful girl with a promising future was taken so suddenly and senselessly from us by the stupidity and carelessness of another human being. Angry that all the hope and promise that came with her graduation from high school just two days earlier vanished in the blink of an eye. And completely devastated by the fact that I knew this girl personally.

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
An Indelible Mark

Almost exactly five years ago, in February of 2006, Lillian Nolin announced her retirement as the Editor of South Bay’s Neighbor Newspapers, or “South Bay News,” as she still fondly referred to it. I remember the day that she “gave notice” to me, an editorial assistant about 60 years her junior who had only begun working at the paper myself less than a year earlier – one of those “moments” destined to forever shape your life, whether you realize it or not at the time.

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment
A Literary Legend

How do you encapsulate an entire life, in a column? It was something Ed Lowe did every single week, for years. Somehow, amidst the details, the quotes, the anecdotes – at times touching, at times humorous – he managed to boil it all down to the essence of the person. He was a master storyteller, in a class all his own.

No one could possibly do his story justice.

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Jamie Lynn RyanComment