2007-10-19 / Columnists

Simon says...

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

Lew M. Simon Lew M. Simon Boy, how the weather is changing; from a beautiful, warm and sunny day, to a windy and chilly one. We've been a busy little beaver, as usual. On Wednesday, October 3 we attended the Sea Breeze Golden Age club of St. Francis de Sales parish. Their annual flea market and raffle is one of the best events of the year. There were a lot of beautiful baskets that the president, Maureen McGee, puts together. It is par excellence.

Maureen puts in long, tireless hours with no salary. She and her committee do a wonderful job. Her loving husband, Andy, spent many tireless hours posting leaflets for this event, as well as schlepping and lugging over 30 carloads of merchandise for this event. Andy and Maureen are the best. They do not make people better than them. They are a super couple who love and care about our community.

On Friday evening, October 5, the new women's Hibernians Division 25 had a ceili at the Colony Theatre. It was a beautiful family event with lots of beautiful children that really made the night. The ceili was called by Maureen O'Malley-Byrnes, dance instructor of O'Malley Irish Dance Academy, who really knows how to teach Irish step dancing and ceili dancing and have a lot of fun. President Bernadette O'Brien and Vice President Virginia Minardi and their committee, including Sean Minardi, who was beautiful as D.J., did a great job.

On Thursday, October 11 we attended the St. Rose of Lima annual dinner dance. I knew two of the honorees very well. Eileen Breslin is one of the finest ladies you could ask to meet.

For the past 15 years she has diligently brought in ads for the St. Rose of Lima dinner journal. She has always made herself available to the church.

Just recently, after the death of my dear friend Lorraine Shiel, Father Peter approached her to run the St. Rose of Lima Golden Age Club, knowing what a good woman she is. The award Eileen received as one of the pillars of the church was well deserved.

Another award winner was Marva Hanlin, whose mother instilled in her the importance of going to church. Marva is referred to as the mother of the Arverne community. Her love for the community, the church and her wonderful family and friends make her truly blessed.

We are saddened by the deaths of two outstanding individuals. Norman Winthrop was a gentleman and a scholar who loved helping people out. He was a great husband, father and grandfather with a great personality. We know God has a special place for him as an angel. My deepest sympathy to his family.

The next person was definitely the mother in spirit of the Rockaway Music and Arts Council. Barbara Eisenstadt served for 15 years as president and board member. What can you say about class personified? Barbara's husband Marvin is the CEO of Sweet 'N Low. They had a strong, loving relationship. Barbara lived for her children and grandchildren. Who would think that someone of her stature would be an everyday, mildmannered, sweetheart? Each and every day she would take time to water the beautiful flowers in the planters all around the neighborhood, literally digging in and doing gardening.

Barbara helped establish fantastic programs in our schools and for adults in our community, because of her love for music and the arts. Opera, culinary and literary arts were included. Barbara's smile and her beauty, not only facial, but her inner beauty shined. She was a soft-spoken woman who shared her love, knowledge, wisdom and class, never demeaning anyone. She was always praising and never demeaning others. Even her recent battle with pancreatic cancer, metastasizing to her bones, could not stop her. I admire her and don't know if it was me, if I could do what she did. Whether it was a community meeting or event, she made it her business to be there.

Just a month ago at the RMAC Fall Festival, Barbara was in a motorized scooter, looking very frail but running both days with her cell phone in one hand and a walkie talkie in the other, going from booth to booth making sure that this festival was the best it could be.

What can you say but "amazing." She was always there, caring but never wanting the credit for anything. For over 20 years, Sweet 'N Low has sponsored Dancing Under the Stars and Barbara always said please not to write her and Marvin's name. They do it with pleasure. This outstanding, humanitarian community leader with wit, style and love can never be replaced.

God has chosen to call her to have no more pain and has made her one of the lead angels in heaven in charge of culture and arts. As they say in the Jewish religion, she was a Jewish mother, an ayshis chayel and a real mensch. My deepest sympathy to Marvin and the children and grandchildren. We all love you and will always be there for you. We have truly lost royalty and class in the Rockaways. Our next trip to Atlantic City's Bally's Claridge will be this Saturday, October 20. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. The cost is $35 with $20 returned. Bagels by Beach Bagel. Tickets are available at 718-945-1216.

On Friday, November 12, a benefit will be held for Chris McCabe, a 15-year-old boy who was born with spina bifida. As a result, he is confined to a wheel chair. He has undergone 43 surgeries and will have the 44th on October 22. During the last operation, everything didn't go as planned. As a result, surgery had to be rescheduled. Christopher is such an inspiration to all who know him. Despite his health problems, he always looks to the bright side. His parents, Joe and Sheila McCabe, have endured a financial strain as well as an emotional strain on the family. Chris' family, friends and neighbors will be hosting a benefit Night at the Races with 50-50 chances and raffles on Friday, November 2, from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 333 Beach 90 Street. There is a $20 contribution at the door, payable to LAOH Special Funds, 633 Bayside, Rockaway Point 11697. For questions, E-mail FundforChris@aol.com. All donations are tax deductible. Yours truly will be selling 50-50's. Please see our advertisement in this week's Wave for the 20th annual Dinner Dance and our prestigious honorees. You can still purchase tickets and journal ads to October 28. Your dollars

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