Acknowledgements

I have been putting this off for quite some time. This “final step,” if you will, penning my last column for South Bay

I told myself I would take my time with this one, write it well in advance of deadline, try to encapsulate everything in one epic, closing chapter. And yet, here I sit – 11:30 p.m. on the eve of my second to last day of work, staring at a mostly blank template as countless thoughts swirl in my brain. 

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Genesis

gen•e•sis: the origin or mode of formation of something; evolution, inception 

It all began back in elementary school; earlier, even. The clipping in the local South Bay Newspaper heralding the entrance of the Class of 2000...into kindergarten. I was a part of that storied graduating class, and as we progressed through the next dozen or so years of schooling, the various accolades of my fellow Lindy alums would be documented within the pages of our neighborhood paper. My own graduation announcement was featured there, as I moved on from the halls of Lindy High and began my studies in journalism on the opposite shore at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University. 

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Mementos

The stories that unfold in the space of a writer’s study, the objects chosen to watch over a desk, the books selected to sit on the shelves, all weave a web of echoes and reflections of meanings and affections, that lend a visitor the illusion that something of the owner of this space lives on between these walls, even if the owner is no more. {Alberto Manguel}

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Beginnings

Birthdays are beginnings. This is a sentiment I have always held particularly close to my heart, if for no other reason than it allows for the momentary illusion of a fresh start, at least for one day. What evolves beyond that point in time is anyone’s guess of course; but the symbolic turning of the page is one that resonates quite deeply for me.

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Metamorphosis

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ~ Maya Angelou

We all have a path, a journey we take through life. Some are relatively direct, with few bumps and curves along the way; others prove far more winding and full of detours. In the end, though, I believe we all reach the destination we are meant to. Eventually. 

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Inspiration 101

I recently had the opportunity to speak to a small group of high school students with an interest in writing during a one-week digital journalism camp held at Hofstra University. Not quite sure what to expect, I brought samples of our newspaper and magazine, along with a brief bio of myself, my career trajectory thus far, and a handful of anecdotes to share with the group. As it turned out, all that information filled up precisely ten minutes of what was to be a nearly hourlong presentation. 

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The Heart of the Matter

“I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world.” ~ Henry Luce

As I sit here at 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon composing my thoughts for this column, one can’t help but reflect upon the latest in a long line of tragic shootings to touch the nation, this time at the headquarters of the Capital Gazette, an Annapolis newspaper founded in 1727. Among the five fatalities were veteran editors, writers and reporters, as well as a sales assistant to the staff. To think that a random act of violence on an otherwise average day could at once shatter so many lives is quite jarring. 


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Green & White & Golden Memories

As I write these words, the Class of 2018 prepares to march onto the old Kienle Field at Lindenhurst Middle School to the familiar strains of Pomp & Circumstance. In just a few short hours, they will embark on the next chapter of their lives, as proud alumni of Lindy High, the last dozen or so years of schooling an already-fading memory. 

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The Greatest Honor

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” ~ Douglas Adams

As I sat in the audience at the recent Press Club of Long Island awards ceremony last week, intently listening to the words of one of our Hall of Fame honorees, the legendary writer and reporter Harvey Aronson, I was struck by the notion that one could choose a particular career to pursue and, so many years later {at the tender age of 89}, remain just as devoutly passionate about it. As he eloquently put it, “I wanted to be a writer… and so I became one.” 


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Sharing is Caring

I recently listened in on a rather interesting Press Club of Long Island panel discussion, highlighting the process which went into investigating a cold case that had gone unsolved for over 50 years on the east end of Long Island. The teamwork between reporters and the police department eventually resulted in the case being “cracked,” so to speak, and the unsolved murder put to rest.

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13

Triskaidekaphobia: fear of the number 13

I’ve known many people with an aversion to this perceived “unlucky” number, whether serving as a date of particular significance or - the more common superstition - when it should happen to fall on a Friday, of all days. Personally, I’ve taken special care to note any particularly negative occurrences on these infrequent juxtapositions of day and date, with thankfully few to report. Just another day, as they say. 

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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