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Sweet Valentine’s Day Soirée

Everything came together as the Friends of Raynham Hall Museum held their Valentine’s Day gala at the Piping Rock Club on Feb. 14. It celebrated that Oyster Bay is the home of the first recorded Valentine: in 1779 British occupying commander Lt. Col. John Graves Simcoe of the Queen’s Rangers gave it to the American Sarah Townsend, 19. The funds raised will benefit their new education center in the Lincoln Building at 30 West Main St. and the museum campus.

Guests came prepared to bid on the well-chosen silent action items, with a sweetheart theme as well as the successful live auction, which ended with the opportunity to donate funds to bring bus loads of fourth-grade students from cash strapped districts to come and learn about the American Revolution.

Patricia Pulling Sands was honored for her work for the museum over the years, including chairing the development committee, which is spearing heading the capital campaign project. The museum board and the Town of Oyster Bay, with the help of a grant from the Main Street Association, are creating a museum campus to better educate the public on the many stories the house has to tell; and to add to the critical mass that makes Oyster Bay a destination location. She said they tried to get the Lincoln Market building in the ‘70s but it took until now for all the pieces in the puzzle to come together in what will be an education center. She credited those women whose work created the museum we know today: Sarah Delano Redman, Ethel Roosevelt Derby and Bertha Rose among others.

Honoree John Bonifacio, Main Street Association of Oyster Bay president, is also on the board of the Friends of Raynham Hall. He said, “It’s nice wearing the two hats. I believe in both missions: that we can keep the RHM vision of having an education center. It will totally add to the culture and history and attractions of the downtown, and to its vibrancy.” He added, “I am an educator; I love history.”

Meredith Maus, MSA executive director, commented that Oyster Bay groups work together and, “It’s a great atmosphere to further and initiate projects and it’s a boon to work with the Town of Oyster Bay.”

Carol Silva, Master of Ceremonies, appreciates Oyster Bay and values Raynham Hall Museum. She said of Oyster Bay, “It is a place of living history… The 26th President said it was good enough for him and it’s good enough for me.” Silva said she and Cathy Reed, her Girl Scout co-leader, took their troop for a Haunted Tour of Raynham Hall.

Silva said that in 1740 Samuel Townsend left Jericho to establish his homestead in Oyster Bay, where he owned an apple orchard and a meadow that led down to the water. “In this 117-year-old house we know that this was where the ‘good’ spy ring, the George Washington Spy Ring’s spy Robert Townsend, was from.” That gives another reason for RHM fame.

Silva added, “Thousands of fourth-graders come to visit the house to learn, among other things, that in 1861, they had the only kitchen in Oyster Bay with running water. [There were no indoor bathrooms at that time.]”

Michael Goudket, dressed in an historic Revolutionary War uniform introduced the final section of the Live Auction. He thanked the guests for their support of the museum, where his job is to take fourth-graders through the museum. “If you could see their faces as they hear of the ghosts and the Red Coats in this 22-room museum.” But he said there are school districts that can’t afford to being their students to the museum because of their tapped out budgets.

With that, auctioneer Gordie asked for donations of $1,000 to sponsor a bus, and at each response Goudket tipped his hat in thanks. The amount asked went to $500, and $250 with a request for whatever guests wanted to donate. The funds came along swiftly.

This was another great gala evening to remember with grand friends, great food, an important cause all in a welcoming location. For more information about the museum please call 516-922-6808.

News

Driving rain and an early start time did not deter 600 people who arrived at Crest Hollow Country Club recently to celebrate the Women’s Fund of Long Island’s 20th year and to honor four exceptional women.

The breakfast started with a meet and greet and a chance to showcase Women’s Fund contest winner Patti Hogarty, designer of “Women as Bamboo.” Inspired by her neighbor’s bamboo, she entered the contest drawing a design of the bamboo, which Ambalu Jewelers of Roslyn then turned into various pendants of which 40-percent of the profits would go to WFLI. Hogarty wrote a short essay comparing women to bamboo in that they are strong and can weather difficult storms, yet remain graceful and continue to grow sending out new shoots.

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dr. Dennis O’Hara addressed the board of education at Tuesday night’s meeting about offering a summer school program at the high school. It would be the first time the district had a summer school program in more than 12 years.

Dr. O’Hara explained that with the institution of the Common Core state standards, students are faced with a greater level of academic rigor and more challenging coursework. The program would offer remedial and enrichment classes for students both in and out of district.


Sports

In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.

The conditions were as fierce as the competition earlier this month at Oakcliff Sailing’s Halloween Invitational.

Ten teams from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda battled 30-knot-plus winds, heavy rain and biting cold to see who would take top honors at Oakcliff’s final match racing event of the 2014 season.


Calendar

Raingarden Workshop

Wednesday, November 19 & Thursday, November 20

Informative Hospital Talk

November November 20

Opera Night

Sunday, November 23



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