2019-01-10 / Columnists

Babylon News & Muse

Happy New Year to one and all!

I hope that you enjoyed the holidays as much as I did! My only complaint about Christmas and New Year’s is the difficulty I had in remembering what day it was! This year it was hard because we had two four-day weekends, back to back. When you no longer go to work on a regular basis, it’s easy to lose track of the date, but the breakdown of the holidays this year made it even more confusing.

The beginning of a new year brings its own reminders. It’s not just the dropping of the ball in Times Square, or listening to fireworks and the clang of pots and pans, it’s remembering to change the last digit when writing the date and deciding whether to make resolutions for the arriving year.

Thinking about ending the year also brings to mind those we have lost. Sadly, Babylon started off the New Year with the loss of a popular friend and neighbor. On New Year’s Day, Nan Hanaway slipped away in her sleep, a couple of days short of her 102nd birthday.

Nan’s passing means the end of an era to me. I knew her from my earliest days, as her children were close in age to me. She was a member of the Walbridge family, with numerous relatives living in Babylon consisting of the Robbins, Thurlow, Lawrence, and Anderson families. Sadly, I think Nan was the last of that extensive group to live in the Village.

Nan was born in 1917 in Babylon in a Dutch Colonial home on The Crescent. She was the daughter of George and Emma Robbins Walbridge and attended Babylon schools. She graduated from Smith College and worked for a magazine and an advertising firm, before joining the Navy Reserves in 1941.

She was assigned to Newport, where she met Tom Hanaway, who was also in the Navy. After a whirlwind courtship, they married and eventually came back to Babylon. In due time, they had three children: Tom, Katherine, and Ann, (better known as Candy).

Over 20 years, most of the students at Babylon High got to know Nan Hanaway as the attendance lady or truant officer. She performed her job admirably, while remaining surprisingly popular with students and faculty alike.

Always stylishly dressed, Nan was a bright and intelligent woman with a good sense of humor. Her family, friends, and neighbors will miss her.

Her husband, Tom, and daughter, Candy, predeceased Nan. Visiting hours will be held at Chapey & Sons, in West Islip on Jan. 18, from 2 to 4 p.m., and 7 to 9 p.m. A Celebration of Life will be held at Christ Episcopal Church in Babylon Jan. 19 at 11 a.m.

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