2008-01-25 / 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 As we sit here today to write our column it will soon be the 12th anniversary of the death of my beloved mother, Jennie, who passed away on January 31, 1996. Who would even think it is 12 years? It still feels like yesterday.

Those who have lost a loved one can understand how many times I would like to call my mom to discuss an event or an issue or to tell her about somebody I have seen or question her on something.

My mom was my best friend and biggest advocate. Mom loved to travel to various community events and meetings. One would say that I learned to be outspoken from my dear mom.

My mom loved to make sure the Rockaways were not dumped on and got their fair share. She loved to go to City Hall to testify and rally against the city dumping on us. Whether it was a homeless shelter or 10,000 market rate units, a fight against library budget cuts, cuts to education, traffic lights or elimination of the Cross Bay Bridge toll, she loved to be there.

For a number of years she served as President of the AARP, advocating for seniors rights and was active in her beloved Hammels Senior Center on Beach 90th Street (now Seaside). Her strong support of her favorite charity, the local ladies division of the Philip Port Memorial unit of the American Cancer Society, led her to calling bingo for HILI and the Yeshiva of Belle Harbor.

Many of mom's friends have adopted me as their son. They include Florence Altschuler, who spoke to mom on a daily basis and worked bingo with her; Florence Weiss, who taught mom how to check her blood sugar for diabetes; and her dear friend Lois Bernstein, with who she worked at bingo, and ate out with a lot. Many of mom's friends have passed away, and as they passed I have thought that my mom would be at the gates of heaven to welcome them.

Alice Duck, Dorothy Jackson and many other friends must be up there playing mah-jong, bingo or in the casino.

Mom must be laughing when I scream to her that I miss her. At the same time I'm sure she is very proud of my long hours and hard work advocating for the people.

Each and every time my sister and I get together we always say we wish we had one more hour to sit with our mother. My sister says she would have her make roast beef and potato latkes because she was the best cook in the world. I would love to take her out for prime rib, which she loved, and tell her how much I loved her and miss her.

When my aunt Yetta and I get together we always discuss old times with my mom, growing up, holiday occasions and just how wonderful and charitable my mom was.

I'm proud to say I have no regrets and would not do anything different when it came to my mom. I could rest my head on the pillow and sleep nights knowing I was blessed with the best mom and was always there for her.

Yes, there were times when I was a brat and mom had to whack me or hit me with a hangar or broom and sometimes I got her even madder when I laughed when she hit me. But one thing for sure, she always spoiled me rotten. If I ever needed money or any assistance she never let me down.

It gets very lonely and depressing during the various holidays, Mother's Day, or her birthday. I often wish that I could pick up the phone and dial her in heaven.

According to the late Msgr. Burke, heaven was a local call from Rockaway. When I make this call we can discuss a gamut of things. I was truly blessed with wonderful, outstanding parents who truly knew the meaning of love and responsibility. They instilled in me the great qualities that helped to mold me into the person I am today. Thank you mom, I love and will always miss you.

Those who have lost a loved one are blessed with good memories and thoughts. It never gets easier, but life goes on by keeping them in our hearts and prayers.

After my last column, which came out on Friday January 11, I received a call from Bob Lettiere, officer in charge of the Far Rockaway Post Office (11691-11697). He is substituting for Postmaster Buonocore who is on leave.

I invited Lettiere and Maxine Moore, who is in charge of the Rockaway Park Post Office, to my office to discuss the problems many Rockaway residents have had with the Post Office as well as the terrible service I have received at my home and office.

It was great to have both of them come up. They are enthusiastic, ready, willing and able to correct problems at our Post Office.

Lettiere is a hands-on administrator who is trying to push the postal bureaucracy to solve some of our problems. Maxine Moore has a nice smile and wonderful attitude which is a breath of fresh air.

We discussed postal problems including missing mail, incorrectly delivered mail, late deliveries, frequent new personnel, long lines at windows, overflowing mail boxes and repairs needed at the Rockaway Park station.

You will be able to discuss your problems with Bob Lettiere and a supervisor from each of the local Rockaway Post Offices on Thursday, February 7 at the Good Government Regular Democratic Club, 112-20 Beach Channel Drive at 7:45 p.m.

This is the last WAVE column I will write before the New York presidential primary on February 5.

Let it be on record that I vehemently oppose Rudy Giuliani as the Republican candidate for President of the U.S. because of his 1998 role in closing down the Neponsit Home on Beach 149th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. They told lies that the buildings were in imminent danger of collapse and removed the patients in the middle of the night like cattle. Patients lost dentures and personal belongings.

Several deaths also occurred.

We notice ten years later how strong the buildings still are.

For shame on Giuliani for thinking he had a cash cow and trying to turn over the land to greedy developers.

We urge all Republicans to just say no to Giuliani.

We urge all Democratic voters to vote with their heart. I speak of June 13, 2004 when we marched in the American Legion Convention parade in Broad Channel. While marching down Cross Bay Boulevard, I had the honor and pleasure of getting the ear of U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton. I told her about the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department firehouse that was in danger of collapse and got her to agree to go out of the line of march and inspect the building. She made a commitment for what she called Hometown USA to assist and follow up with Congressman Weiner to get the House and Senate to help obtain funds for the firehouse. Thanks to their teamwork the Congress appropriated approximately one million dollars. The firehouse will be built after some red tape is straightened out.

On the same hand I fully respect John Edwards who is a fighter for the middle class and is taking on corporations and the corrupt influence that lobbyists have in government.

Barack Obama is a breath of fresh air to many. He is relatively new in national office and is not experienced enough at this time.

With more experience his time may come.

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