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From The Desk Of Dr. Charles Murphy

America is the land of opportunity. Unfortunately, these opportunities have diminished in recent years; however, with a little hard work they’re still out there for young people. During one of the worst periods in our country’s great history—The Great Depression—opportunities were few and far between for most Americans, much worse than today’s Great Recession.   

At this time, my paternal grandfather survived by working his small farm and many odd jobs in New York’s Mohawk Valley. Although he had left school in the eighth grade, he was considered fairly well educated for this time period. Incredibly at this time, only about 10 percent of students graduated high school. 

By and large, the Great Depression hit this part of New York State—the Leatherstocking Region—hard. In fact, employment opportunities were non-existent, and as a result, many people began leaving the area looking for new opportunities. My grandfather’s cousin Frank left a few years earlier and wrote to him about a great opportunity with New York City’s Corrections Department. 

Cousin Frank was living like a king as a corrections officer—he had an apartment, new clothes, food in the pantry and a little money in his pocket. He told my grandfather that New York was looking for additional guards and all that was required was a good score on their entrance examination. For an impoverished young farmer, my grandfather saw this as “an opportunity.” Sure he had to leave home, but without running water, a bathroom, or electricity, the decision was a rather easy one. After all, he just needed to take a test.  

Fortunately, his tiny one room schoolhouse in Herkimer had adeptly prepared him with a well-rounded education and the essential test-taking skills. He found his way down to New York City where he took the Corrections, as well as the police department, exams. Given that he scored well on both and that the police department paid better, he took at job with the NYPD where further opportunities to climb the departmental career ladder were available through additional test taking. Shortly thereafter, he traded his distressed farm for a house in Brooklyn with running water, two bathrooms, and electrical power. With the knowledge gained from that little schoolhouse, he was able to carve out his piece of the American dream. These days opportunities may be challenging, but with an education and the requisite skills, today’s children will be able to find their way.

News

The smell of pine, wood and scented candles greet customers with a sense of home as they cross the wooden threshold to the Amish Craft Barn in Seaford. There they will find dolls, birdhouses, quilts, ceramic turkeys, hand-painted Christmas trees, oak furniture and other seasonal and holiday tchotchkes.

 

Massapequa natives Frank and Pam Hoerauf started The Amish Craft Barn & Gift Shoppe 20 years ago after an inspiring visit to Pennsylvania.

Holidays increase daily congestion 

While parking around LIRR train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town. 

 

“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”


Sports

The Island Trees Cross Country teams continue their improvement in 2014. This year the girls’ team has a record of 8-2 and with their victories over Clarke and Wheatley High Schools, they clinched the Division Championship for the first time in Island Trees High School history.

 

The girls are led by senior Captain Angela Brocco who has been rewriting the girl’s record boards. Brocco set the school record for the Warwick Valley 5000 meter course on Sept. 20. 

This season the Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team at Division Avenue has the rare ability to fill every position on the field with a member of the senior class. All 11 seniors have made contributions to the success of this year’s squad.


Calendar

Turkey Cookie - November 21

Lost Nights - November 22

Town of Hempstead Meeting - November 25


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