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OBHS Gospel Concert and Exhibit

Learn about the connected Roosevelt clan, at the Koenig Center

Gospel singing and hand clapping will be heard along South Street on Dec. 8 as the Oyster Bay Historical Society (OBHS) hosts their annual concert. Come enjoy the free concert by the Hempstead A Cappella Ensemble at 4 p.m. at the Hood A.M.E. Zion Church, 137 South Street, at the corner of Summit Street. It will be followed by refreshments at an open house at the Earle-Wightman House at 20 Summit Street from 7 to 9 p.m. The one-hour gospel concert is a not to be missed event. Think toe-tapping and hand clapping.

The OBHS is also opening their new exhibit: “Miniatures: Doll Houses, Little Rooms and Childhood Treasures” at the Koenig Center. Featured will be the model of the North Room of Sagamore Hill; a model of the two period rooms in the Earle-Wightman house; and a 1922 dollhouse that belonged to Polly Weeks of Oyster Bay that was donated by her daughter Ellen Nicoll who grew up here.

OBHS Director Phillip Blocklyn said, “In the exhibit we are featuring things relating to Roosevelt children, not just TR’s children but the children in the larger Roosevelt family, and including them.

“There are letters written by or to Roosevelt children. There are a few letters TR wrote to Elizabeth Roosevelt’s father John Roosevelt. One was to John written by TR when he was on his African safari; and a number of letters and at least one drawing by Roosevelt cousins,” he said.

Mr. Blocklyn said, “The thing I notice about all the material is that the family kept in touch. The nieces and nephews wrote to their grand-parents and they wrote to each other. They were a very connected family.

“We have the text of the telegram that TR sent to his cousin Emlen when his wife Christine had her first child, named after her mother, in August of 1884. What is interesting is that the telegram was from Medora, North Dakota, and it was the same year TR’s mother and wife had died six months earlier.

“And the other interesting thing in this short telegram is TR ends it by saying ‘he’s perfectly delighted,’ which sounds so much like Roosevelt,” he commented.

Other things people will enjoy seeing are the miniature printing press, dolls and children’s clothing, children’s books and things made by children as well, like samplers. There are also lots of doll clothes and doll house furniture.

“The reason I like the things we have in the collections of the various Roosevelts is that they are not so much about history and politics but are an inside look into the family. And, they really were very much a well-connected American family,” Mr. Blocklyn said.

One could say they were well connected in both senses of the word.

Mr. Blocklyn said, “There were five cousins all born within about the same year and were called the Magical Five by the press. They were, Alice, born in 1884, Elfrida, born in 1883, Christine in 1884, Eleanor in 1884, and Dorothy all born in a 10-month period. They grew up together and all came out as debutantes at the same time.

“We have many letters from Elfrida who wrote a lot of letters as a child and they are very interesting. She mentions people like her ‘uncle Percy’ who is Percival Lowell, who discovered the planet Pluto — a planet no more. He also wrote about the canals on Mars. He is a very interesting person and she would mention visiting him. When you look to see who ‘he is’ — you find he is very important. The same is true of her Aunt Amy. She is Amy Lowell, a noted American poet. In the exhibit we have a calling card of Percival Lowell and a book of poems by Amy Lowell.

 “It is interesting to see how the Roosevelt family were connected to a large web of important families. We have put a great deal of the information online on our website under exhibitions and events and archives. There is something there about every event we have had since 2008.”

Mr. Blocklyn also announced a cookbook coming out on Nov. 19 that is being sent to members. It’s called Oyster Bay Historical Society Cooks. “It is recipes created by our staff for all of the events we’ve done over the past few years. We do our own catering and these are the recipes they created: Jacqueline Blocklyn, Nicole Menchise and there are even recipes by Grace Searby,” he added.

Additionally, the OBHS gift shop, Windfall, will have books for sale as well as hand made knitted items by Jacqueline Blocklyn including some that can be ordered. There are also two, holiday card-making classes coming up on Saturday, Dec. 1 and Saturday Dec. 15. Please call for information and reservations at 922-5032 or check their website obh.org.

News

On Saturday, July 5, Building J on the Western Waterfront was opened to the public for a free concert of classical music played by talented youth in the Oyster Bay Music Festival. The acoustics in the large metal shed were lively as the backdrop of the Ida May, a wooden oyster dredge under construction, lent artisanal flavor to the rich stew of mostly sea-related musical selections. People sat on stacks and benches of freshly milled wood or stood in the cavernous space. They soaked in beautiful solos, duets and trios that combined voice, piano, flute, cello and violin. Frank M Flower & Sons provided fresh oysters that engaged the palate, and representatives from Steinway & Sons gave a quick overview of how their pianos are made, relating several aspects of their meticulous process to the construction of the Ida May.

Last week was one of Oyster Bay’s biggest, most anticipated summer events, the Italian American Society’s St. Rocco’s Festival. Returning to its usually spot in Fireman’s Field on Shore Avenue, the festival was filled with amusement rides, live music, and great food and company.

“We come every year to St. Rocco’s with friends,” said Laura Regan of East Norwich. “The rides and awesome food make it a lot of fun.”


Sports

Oakcliff’s intensive training program provided a high level of competition last weekend at the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship in Oyster Bay.

This year, the teams selected for the event were highly ranked through the United States, and several of the competitors are past and current Oakcliff trainees, including Elizabeth Shaw, Kathryn Shiber, Madeline Gill, and Danielle Gallo.

A total of 11 members of St. Dominic Track Team (grades 1-8) recently medaled at the Nassau-Suffolk CYO Championship Finals at Mitchel Field. In the finals, the athletes competed against the finalists from all three regions, representing more than 2,500 athletes from 23 other parishes.

In addition to the student athletes’ success, the track coaches were honored as well. St. Dominic CYO Track coaches Phil Schade (grades 1-3), Julie and Mike Keffer (grades 4-6) and Rich Cameron (grades 7-8) were selected by peer coaches in their region for the NSCYO Team Sportsmanship Award. The Saint Dominic CYO track program, in its second year, has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with and the young runners are among the best on Long Island.


Calendar

OB Band Concerts

Wednesday, July 23

Music Under The Stars

Friday, July 25

Annual Chicken BBQ

Saturday, July 26



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