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Local Author's Book Debut

What’s in your couch cushions? Spare change? Forgotten toys? The other matching sock? What if the things you found deep down within the couch had the power to change the course of history? That’s the fantastical idea behind Bethpage resident, Henry Clark’s debut young adult novel, What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World.

The book centers on three 12-year-old children who find a discarded sofa on the side of the road near their bus stop. As they begin to search between the cushions, they find a zucchini colored crayon, a double six domino, a mysterious coin, and a fishhook. These seemingly commonplace items soon thrust the friends into an adventure as they try to thwart an evil mastermind’s plan to conquer the world.

“It’s the kind of book I enjoyed back when I was 12 years old,” Clark says. “I’ve always liked stories that start in a very normal situation and then totally spin into directions you never expected.”

Clark has always had a penchant for crazy stories. As a young boy growing up in Connecticut and later Bethpage, he loved writing anecdotes of kids having wacky adventures. He was an avid reader and would ride his bicycle around the neighborhood while simultaneously reading books such as The Hardy Boys and Tom Swift.

He stopped writing in middle school, and worked for Old Bethpage Village Restoration as a supervisor for 30 years, writing intermittently for science fiction magazines and MAD magazine. In 2011, he started writing longer manuscripts aimed for adult audiences. However, the eight manuscripts he wrote never garnered any interest from literary agents.

One day, he was driving around in Suffolk County when he saw a sofa sitting on a curb. He had recently read an article about a big coal seam fire in Pennsylvania and began to wonder what would happen if the sofa had been sitting close to the edge of the underground perpetually burning fire. This sparked the idea for his children’s novel.

Clark initially sent the manuscript out to five literary agents and unlike with his adult pieces, got a response for What We Found In The Sofa very quickly.

“No one was interested in the books for adults, but with my first attempt at a children’s book several people got back to me. Obviously I was meant to write for kids,” Clark says.

Clark recently read excerpts from his book at the Barnes and Noble in Carle Place. The 61-year-old author has already written a sequel.

What We Found In The Sofa is available at bookstores and on amazon.com.

News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com