Friday, 06 April 2012 00:00
(Editor’s Note: Neill Reilly sent this to members of his St. Mary’s 1967 graduating class, a classmate forwarded it to the Manhasset Press and it is printed here with Mr. Reilly’s permission. St. Mary’s is currently establishing the Brother Kenneth Robert Scholarship Fund.)
Since runners ran all year long, I truly believe we were in the gym more and played more hoops than most basketball players. After track practices Brian Hussey and I and many of the other runners would repair to the gym and play pickup basketball games. Sometimes we would have to wait for the basketball team to finish. Runners were not supposed to be playing hoops. If Brother Thomas Joseph saw us playing basketball, he would get frustrated and was correctly concerned that we might sprain an ankle. We would dutifully wait for him to leave and then play.
Brother Kenneth and the basketball coaches controlled the gym. We assumed we could play until otherwise directed. Usually we got away with it and we would play after practices and meets. But Brother Kenneth had the keys and we had to abide by his rules. I always wanted a copy of those keys, but thought it would be automatic expulsion if I somehow managed to get a copy.
One evening after track practice in our sophomore year, Brian and I went into the gym. The scaffolding was up. This meant that some brave soul had volunteered to climb the scaffolding to replace the bulbs in the electric scoreboard. Usually that brave soul was Brother Kenneth. After climbing 20 feet on the scaffolding, he had to reach to take out and replace defective bulbs. This put Brother Kenneth in an understandably foul mood.
Brian and I started to play hoops right near the scaffolding, which brought forth the approbation of said Brother Kenneth. It was Deus ex machina. He led with his signature, “Hey, sunshine!” Which translates roughly into, “What are you idiots doing playing basketball and distracting me while I am up here swinging in the air?” Brian and I looked up. Brother pointed and said, “Sit, over there,” pointing to the scorer’s table. It was clear from his wording and tone of voice that we were not to refuse his order. Brian and I went to the scorer’s table, where John Conroy and Dave Ryan were manning the scorer’s machine.
Now for those of you who are uninitiated, it would be very difficult in the history of St. Mary’s to find four bigger knuckleheads in one place at one time. Each by himself enjoyed nothing more than getting grins from other knuckleheads. So this combustible combination was knuckleheads to the fourth!
The stage is set for our comedy of errors. The scorer’s machine set off the lights as you clicked the dials. Therefore, replacing the bulbs was by definition a two-man job. One to change the numbers, the other to see which numbers did not light up because of defective bulbs and then replace them. It was always the bulbs furthest from the scaffolding that went out. You had to stretch and get on your toes to get those dastardly defective bulbs. Meanwhile you were over 20 feet in the air.
Oh, yes, critical point. The scorer’s machine also had a buzzer to emit an ear piercing noise for substitutions and end of periods. The speaker was located in the scoreboard about a foot from Brother Kenneth’s ears. It sounded like an air raid alarm from World War II. That noise could be heard in Pakistan.
I have often pondered what was going through Bother Kenneth’s mind that he elected to have Dave Ryan and John Conroy man that device.
Brian and I sat and watched as John and Dave made supposed mistakes that were driving Brother Kenneth nuts with their hitting the wrong buttons and not following his instructions. But these were mere minor jabs. Dave waited for the ultimate moment, the full reach by Brother Kenneth to get that last bulb. At full extension just as he was struggling to get the bulb into the socket, Dave hit the buzzer. In my memory, Brother Kenneth almost fell and dropped the bulb which smashed on the ground. Given my hyperbolic nature, that may be exaggeration. He shouted, “Ryan!” Dave looked as innocent as fresh milk. Brother Kenneth was fuming, but he was caught on the horns of a dilemma. Which one of these four esteemed knuckleheads could he trust so he could finish the job and get down from the damned scaffolding? He had to finish the job and did not want to climb up again at a future date. He went with the best choice, John Conroy.
Now time obscures memory and the golden rule is to not let facts get in the way of a good story. Suffice it to say, I am not sure of the rest of the story, but in my mind’s eye it played out this way. Brother Kenneth gets his composure back, selects the last light bulb and reaches the ultimate point of no return. He turns his back on the scoundrels and in an act of pure, blind faith, goes once more into the breach! What a brave fellow! I do believe that John was at the controls and did make a valiant effort to protect the outstretched brother, but Dave was bigger, stronger and funnier. Dave could not resist this daffy duck moment. People wait their whole lives for unique opportunities and not Dave’s best friend or the wrath of Brother Kenneth could stop Dave from his appointed task. He wrestled past John and just as Brother Kenneth was fully extended, Dave hit the buzzer.
Brian and I dissolved into puddles of laughter, which was an affront to Brother Kenneth’s near death experience. I think Dave ran from the gym and John tried to apologize, but soon joined Brian and me in uncontrolled laughter.
What we put those kind souls through! This is why God created scholarships – to assuage Catholic guilt!
Years later, I was a CYO coach at St. Mary’s and somehow got the keys to the gym. I was in heaven and my team practiced all the time. Eventually, I was found out and I had to turn in my keys. But for a while I had em!
Saturday, 18 May 2013 00:00
Manhasset resident Arda Nazerian Haratunian is lending her expertise and support to ERASE Racism, a civil rights non-profit that advocates for racial equity on Long Island. As a member of its planning committee for the third year in a row, she is helping to organize ERASE Racism’s Annual Benefit Celebration, which will take place on June 5 at the Garden City Hotel.
A strategic communications consultant, Arda has more than 25 years experience in both the private and public sectors. She most recently served as senior policy advisor and communications director to former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and previously worked for New York Governor Mario Cuomo. During the decade between her two careers in public service, Arda was on Wall Street, serving as managing director of global corporate communications for Citigroup’s Corporate and Investment Bank and before that, head of media and public relations at the American Stock Exchange.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
There is a floral treasure in Manhasset, something unique: it’s the greenhouse in front of Manhasset Florist on Orchard Street. “Having my own greenhouse ensures premium plant growth and creates optimum conditions. This allows me to offer the healthiest plants to my customers,” says owner Alexander Otis. Indeed, the plants look truly perfect and a delightful scent of blossoms fills the air of the greenhouse.
“My father bought the business and property 45 years ago. During those years, he opened a total of five flower shops in Nassau County,” said Alex. His father trained him and his sister Aretta in the flower business. “While still attending high school we both helped on Saturdays and during our vacations,” he explains. Alex graduated from the New York Institute of Technology as an architect and worked as an engineer for over six years before returning to his roots to help his father manage his five flower shops and to run one, Garden City Florist. “When my father retired in 1999, I took over Manhasset Florist & Greenhouse and Aretta took over Port Washington Florist.”
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
One of Manhasset’s 12U intramural baseball teams defeated Great Neck in the first game played at the renovated Valley Park field on Saturday April 27. Manhasset’s offense scored 10 runs, including a home run from Devin Callery, while pitchers Logan Hyde, Jeff Torborg, James Marchetti and Grant Petracca combined to limit Great Neck to one hit with 11 strikeouts in six innings. Edward Jarvis, Robert DeCastro, Massimo Abruzzo, Colby Schmidt, Gabriel Cohen, Spencer Kaye and Justin Louie each contributed quality defensive plays. Manhasset raised its record to 4-0 and stands in first place in the inter-town intramural league, which includes 8 teams from Merillon, Albertson-Herricks, Great Neck and Manhasset.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:34
The Manhasset Junior Varsity Ice Hockey Team finished their season Wednesday night, April 17, beating Bellmore/Merrick 4-3 in the championship game at the Bethpage Community Park Ice Rink. Wednesday’s finale marked the end of an impressive campaign by the Indians which included a 19-1 regular season record and a trip to the New York State Championship in Ithaca.
Manhasset got off to a strong start scoring four times in the first period on goals by Michael Walsh, Michael Brzozowski, Mario De Bueriis, and Matthew Cecchini whose tally would prove to be the game winner. Nolan Behringer, Ryan Kiess, and goaltender Alex Feinstein led the defense in shutting down a powerful Bellmore/Merrick squad, securing Manhasset’s first ever Junior Varsity Championship.