At times, my intuition is way ahead of my brain. I’d like to think that I arrive at a lot of my opinions through logical reasoning, but often, I feel like something is wrong long before I can articulate why it’s wrong. This was the case with the word “privilege” as used in the phrases “white privilege,” “male privilege,” and the especially reviled “white male privilege.” Something about the way these terms are bandied about bothered me, but I couldn’t explain why until recently.
It’s not that I have any doubt that privilege exists; I’ve certainly seen it in action. Even if you’re not particularly devoted to the cause of achieving greater social justice, it’s not difficult to see that being white and male confer some advantages in our culture. So if I admit privilege exists, why does the term make me wince in annoyance?
On Sept. 30, the annual Sons of Italy Feast and Festival was held. It is always a fun day and this year proved to be no exception. Broadway was filled with fun activities, good music, and delicious food to indulge in – even if nutritionists might take issues with zeppoles and sausage being part of one’s diet.
Nassau County was shocked last week with the sad news of Peter Schmitt’s untimely death. As the presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, Schmitt was a prominent political figure and often the voice of Nassau County Republicans. He was opinionated and often quite blunt about defending his stance on county issues and he frequently sparred with the leaders of Nassau County Democrats. If you are a Republican, you often chuckled at his comments, and if you are a Democrat, you probably have clenched your teeth in anger at something he said. Much like his favorite baseball team, the Yankees, you were either strongly with him or strongly against him, but there was often no room for being in-between.
However, there was a side to Peter Schmitt that most of Nassau County didn’t know, which is how I will remember him. Despite the hard image, which he sometimes portrayed, Schmitt, or simply “Peter”, as he was known around Massapequa, was tremendously approachable and friendly. I often bumped into him in the local stores in and around Massapequa, and he would be quick to strike up a conversation. Recently, the conversation would always turn to his grandchild, who he had recently welcomed into the world. He was a devoted family man who adored his wife Lois, and he was so proud of their daughter, Samantha.
Like everyone who got to know Peter Schmitt personally, I have been deeply saddened by his sudden passing. Just last Sunday I was with him at the annual Sons of Italy Italian Feast where we chatted for hours with people both young and old.
As the presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, Peter was unequalled as a committed and dedicated government leader. And as a friend – a father and husband – he was as fine a man, as I’ve ever known.
Now that I’m an honest woman, as they say, people have started to ask about whether or not my husband and I are planning to have a baby soon. I don’t know the answer to that myself. Sure, I want a baby—babies are so adorable that I turn to mush every time I see anything that looks even remotely like a baby. I coo whenever they show a baby during a commercial, even though I know they’re just trying to sell me overpriced soap.
However, am I ready? First, there are financial concerns. I feel like I should wait until I have money safely invested in a house before I take on the responsibility of caring for another person. At the very least, I don’t think I could safely carry a baby up and down the steps to our two-floor walk-up, so if I had a baby in my current apartment, I would never be able to go outside.
It is with much excitement that I assume the role of editor at the Massapequan Observer. As my predecessor Joe Scotchie wrote last week, I have lived in Massapequa for many years, and I am thrilled to be reporting on my community. Since I moved to Massapequa, I have often said that both Massapequa and Massapequa Park are great communities. Whether enjoying lunch at All-American, a shake at Krisch’s, or just a walk down Park Boulevard, Massapequa has some many unique and charming things to enjoy and some terrific people who live here. And now I get to realize the dream of so many journalists by becoming the editor of my hometown paper.
Last week, the New York Institute of Technology hosted three events in which Paul Burrell, who was the butler to Princess Diana, was the guest of honor. I attended one of these events, and was eager to do so as I have always found Diana to be a fascinating historical figure. Despite her fame and fortune, she gave of herself to help others who were suffering. She was an individual who was truly working to change the world for the better and tragically, she was taken from us much too soon. During his presentation, Burrell spoke of this.
“It’s it better to give than to receive because when you give there are no strings attached,” Burrell recalls Diana saying.
While I was driving west on Boundary Avenue at the intersection of Rt. 135 in Massapequa on Sept. 14, a man driving east in a Town of Oyster Bay Code Enforcement car quite clearly had a cell phone in his ear in violation of Nassau County law, which requires a hands-free device.
Already, youngsters in the Massapequa area are back in school. It seems young people today face a double whammy: Television and computers. There’s not much choice with the latter contraption, as young people need the Internet for homework assignments. Still, there is a better way. The real jewel of Nassau County is its public libraries, with the finest system in the nation. That includes the Massapequa Library and its many thousands of fine volumes. When we say libraries, we do not mean electronic devices, but old-fashioned texts. Young people should spend as much time there as possible. The recent history of Massapequa is full of successful artists, musicians, entertainers and authors who spent much of their youth at the county’s various libraries and then went on to become creative talents in the larger world.
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