2018-07-26 / Columnists

Babylon News & Muse

•Babylon has lost one of her cherished sons. Patrick Henry died Sunday, July 22. His family, who spent the last couple of years helping him battle his illness with grace and patience, surrounded him.

Patrick spent his life in service to the community in many different ways. He was a veteran of the Korean War as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, and an officer in the U.S. Merchant Marines. He served for 63 years as a volunteer with the Babylon Fire Department in the Phoenix Hose Company. He was a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the Washington & Lee University Law School.

Pat was elected to the office of the Suffolk County District Attorney and later served as a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court. He is the beloved husband of late Theresa Lennon Henry and brother of Margaret Daly and the late Thomas E. Henry. He is the loving father of Jennifer A. Henry, Margaret Henry (Bradley) Shaw and Elizabeth Henry Kennedy, Lindsay P. Henry, and James Henry. He also was the devoted grandfather of thirteen.

Babylon High School Class of 1998 reunion held recently. Babylon High School Class of 1998 reunion held recently. I first came to know Pat as a sailor, when he would take my parents and his neighbors, the Coopers, as well as their daughter and myself sailing on the bay. He would have been in his late teens or early 20s at that time, and to this day I am surprised that a young man of that age would find time to be so kind to older couples and two nine- or ten-year-old girls!

Over the years I came to know him as the father of a large family, then as a friend and attorney after I was injured in an accident.

His sense of humor and the twinkle ever-present in his eyes, even in his final days, made him someone to admire and enjoy. All those who came to know him will miss him.

The wake is at Chapey’s in West Islip today, Thursday, and the funeral will be held at St. Peter’s by the Sea in Bay Shore tomorrow, on Fri., at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Springbook-Sunrise House, 105 Campus Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820.

•Every summer I notice a number of notices of local class reunions. On July 14, the Babylon High Class of 1998 held its 20th reunion in Babylon.

Chaired by Erika Murray and Kristin Cannetti, the reunion was held at The Local, a relatively new pub on the corner of Railroad Avenue and Depot Place. Everyone had a great time. See photo, upper right.

•Another recent event was a group of friends and relatives gathered at The Irish Coffee Pub in East Islip to celebrate the 80th birthday of Marie Owens, shown below.

•I’ve been reminiscing with friends about how we enjoyed the summers when I was a little girl. It’s ironic that I have no photos of myself as a child, but my memories of those days are very vivid.

Memories from those days always include my older brother John, and younger brother Rob. John was 18 months older than me, and Rob was 18 months younger than I was, so growing up, we spent a lot of time together.

We were fortunate enough to belong to the Babylon Yacht Club, and loved spending summer days swimming and sail- ing. Ironically, we had no idea what a great place we were missing by not going to the Babylon Village pool! In recent years, I have found out what a great place the village pool is! And it’s quite a bargain as well!

In those days, many people were still swimming in the Great South Bay. The BYC had roped off two sections of the water, with a large dock to the left, a smaller dock with a low diving board in the middle, and a shorter dock with a high diving board to the right. A thick rope ran from the middle dock to the other docks at a spot where the water was about four feet deep.

In the area to the right was a big log, painted white, tethered by chains to the bottom. Both of these were in deeper water and swimmers used to rest on them. A short ladder let you climb on the raft easily, and most swimmers stayed in that section of the swimming area.

I know we had at least one lifeguard on the sandy beach, keeping a sharp eye on us. (The lifeguards were usually handsome college boys, and girls of all ages were in love with most of them!)

Just behind the sandy beach were four or five picnic tables beneath what I guess would be called an open sided Quonset hut. When we weren’t in the water, we were sitting at the picnic tables, playing cards, reading comic books, or just passing the time talking to the other kids.

In those days, at five or six years of age, we would start taking swimming lessons. The Club’s instructor was a very nice man I would later have as a teacher at Babylon High, John Nash. I remember having a crush on Mr. Nash when I took swimming lessons. Although he spoke in a monotone, he had a good sense of humor and a nice smile.

Later on, in Babylon High, his was the last class of the day, algebra. Unfortunately, his monotone voice would put half the class to sleep, including myself.

When my parents bought the house in Argyle, they had the large attic on the third floor converted into two bedrooms, a full bath, and a small storage room. At that time, John and Rob shared one of the rooms and I slept in the other bedroom. The rooms were freezing in the winter and broiling hot in the summer. While we had fans, they were old and spun very slowly. Air conditioners were an unheard of luxury. With my broken air conditioner this summer, I can’t help but remember those long ago days! When I buy lottery tickets these days, central air is one of my plans for the future! But in the meantime, my air conditioner is due back in working order this week! Hurray!

•By the way, from time to time, I am fortunate enough to receive a note from a reader, telling me that they enjoy this column. I also have been fortunate to bump into readers occasionally and been complimented. I would just like to take a moment to thank these readers for their kindness. If you have suggestions or questions, please drop me a line at the Beacon offices.

Happy birthday to Jimmy James and Chuck Akaiski!

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