2005-01-28 / Columnists

Simon says...

Lew M. Simon
Lew M. Simon

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23 rd A.D. Part B

This column is dedicated to the ninth anniversary of my mother’s, Jennie Simon, passing to heaven, It’s been nine years and it seems like yesterday. So many times I’d like to pick up the phone to discuss an issue, ask a question or tell my mom I love her.

  For those who have lost a loved one you often wish you can tell that person of someone you met that you both know. Loving someone does not mean you never fight. Everyone fights. I often remember my mother letting me have it on many occasions. Both my mother and I fought for what we believed in and stood steadfast. My mother taught me respect and to be community and civic minded.

One of my mom’s biggest charities helped raise money for and support the Philip Port unit of the American Cancer Society. She was a member for almost 35 years. Mom looked forward to the yearly luncheons. She wanted to help them find a cure for cancer and she loved the wonderful food at the Washington Hotel.

I have kept up with the Simon tradition. I have been on the luncheon committee for over 15 years. I’m the guy who goes out to sell the raffles and collect the gifts for prizes at our annual luncheon.

As you know, mom loved to go to all the community civic and political meetings. One of the meetings she attended was the Wavecrest Gardens Tenants Association. Through the years mom and I worked closely with past President Myrtle Williams. Mom and I were amazed how hard Myrtle worked for the residents of Wavecrest Gardens. Myrtle was always there to help all the residents of the over 1600 apartments who needed her.

Mom, Myrtle and I worked as a team to bring the owners, the wonderful Goldfarb family, into an open meeting with the tenants. Great things came out of the meeting. Major renovations of the Wavecrest Gardens shopping center were needed. The Goldfarbs put their money where their mouth is and invested a fortune.

Just the other night, January 14, Myrtle Williams, graduated from the cardiovascular program at the Sanford Brain Institute. I was very proud to be at her graduation party and celebrate with her and her family. We know mom was there in spirit to tell Myrtle how proud she was of her accomplishment. We know Myrtle will make a fine doctor. We have also encouraged Myrtle to take back the reins and get involved in the Wavecrest Gardens Tenants Association.

Mom was like me. She liked to fight for what she believed in. Whether it was a bus trip to the Board of Estimate at City Hall, Albany or Washington, we always spoke out to improve the quality of life for all in our community. Mom spent many years volunteering to call bingo or be the paymaster at bingo at the old HILI in Far Rockaway on Beach 17 Street, Beach 88 Street for the Yeshiva of Belle Harbor, or volunteering for the Yeshiva of Belle Harbor in Maspeth.

Through the years Mom made wonderful friends such as Florence Atlschuler, Lois Bernstein, Joyce Ness, the late Nina Listman, Sophie who ran HILI bingo and her great close friends Alice Duck, Dorothy Jackson, Nivea Marshall who was like a daughter to her, Liz Edwards, Lila Rhyne and many, many others.

  For over 30 years, Mom sold Avon products and eventually made it to the President’s Club, the highest honor. Her secret weapon was the team of Simon and Simon, mother and son. From junior high school through college, I assisted my mom in making sales.    

Mom fought very hard for the Seniors at Hammels Senior Center where her friends Abe Mintz. Bernie and Ann Klein, Goldie Rosenfarb and many, many others were members. Mom was also past president of the AARP where she fought diligently for senior rights. Mom also attended all of the St. Patrick’s Day fundraisers with me. If you disagree with anything I have said, my mom would give you hell.   

The biggest gift my mom got before she passed was to see two of her beautiful granddaughters. Mom thought the sun rose and set through her granddaughter’s Bambi and Ariel’s eyes. My mom loved to pal around with my sister Fran.

In 1994 when I was running for District Leader, she voted at 6 AM and went with Fran to the Amish country on a trip. I asked mom how she could go away on Election Day when I needed her for victory. Mom said she would be back after 9 P.M. I said to go and enjoy herself. I never thought in a million years I could pull it off and win. Mom came home and called me at 10:30 PM. We sent somebody to pick her up so we could go to our victory party and celebrate. I know my mom was so proud of me.    

On August 12, the day after my birthday in 1995, my mother wound up in Peninsula General Hospital, fighting for her life with heart problems and liver cancer. She then wound up in Peninsula Rehabilitation where the care was above and beyond.    

She passed away on January 31, 1996 and was buried on February 2, 1996. I remember that clearly. I lost my best friend in the world. Due to the fact there is no Jewish funeral home on the Rockaway peninsula, we had the service at the Democratic club office. The purpose was for everyone who knew my mom to be able to pay their respects.

The huge turnout of people ran out to the street. I always thanked my mom in my prayers for teaching me to have a heart of compassion and love and always remember to share with everyone. Although she is not here, she’s still in my heart. The pain never goes away.

You will always miss your mother. A real mother deserves to be remembered as mother of the century. We know mom is a special angel shining down and guiding us.

Our next Atlantic City trip will be on Saturday February 12. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. The cost is $32 with $25 and a 100 minute phone card. This is a special month. They guarantee that the first $50 you play and lose will be returned as a check for $50 for playing the following month. Call 945-1216 for reservations now.

Good news for residents of the Seagirt Boulevard area of Far Rockaway. North Fork Bank after taking over Greenpoint Bank announced they would close the branch on Seagirt Boulevard. Vice President George Vogel spoke to me after hearing of the possibility of many seniors with walkers and wheelchairs sitting in their office.

They understood I would get arrested with the seniors if need be. On Wednesday January 12 North Fork announced that they would maintain the location as a satellite office with a part time schedule. Hats off to all the people who spoke up when they heard about the threatened closing, including Penni Ambrose of the Senior and Handicapped Tenant’s Association of 1915 Seagirt Boulevard, community activist Floyd Smith, Marilyn Romar of Ocean Park, Sylvia Mercina, Harriet Winthrop, Flo Altschuler and Helen Hoffman of Seaview Towers. Penni, who is almost 90 years young kept the pressure on by scheduling a community meeting. It is quite obvious that when people are united they win.   

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