Explainer: This post was inspired by a recently uncovered compilation of an old neighborhood newsletter. The bound volume is an amazing time machine. The pages go backwards, forwards, and take us to a place where we ache to go again.
The West Islip Kindness Project began in a small village on Long Island during the summer of ’52. The baby boom had been detonated and several friends gathered in the home of Bob Keeshan to discuss the fallout. They didn’t realize it at the time, but this great generation was forming the nucleus of our country’s soul in a post-war world.
The Concord Village
Bob Keeshan jumps at the chance to become “Captain Kangaroo.” Pat Cleary sewed his prototype jacket (Simplicity Pattern 4107)
Without Bob Keeshan:
Someone said it must be a lot like learning to swim: all the other times, the instructor was right there holding your head above water. Then you make your first strokes unaided and he’s gone. You’re on your own.
Bob Keeshan was more than the Concordian staff’s instructor: he was the glue that held it together, the gasoline that set it into motion, and the wings on which it flew into being. Now, because there are only 24 hours in every day, because he has a family, a tremendous job with WABC-TV and other civic responsibilities, Bob has resigned.
It would be innocuous to say we’re sorry to see him go. We’re a little awed at the prospect of a CONCORDIAN future without him and tremendously aware that we now face a challenge almost as intense as the one Bob himself must have faced when he first conceived the notion of this community newspaper.
To a man, the CONCORDIAN staff wish Bob Keeshan and his family the very best of everything. But we will not say farewell, or anything nearly so final. We still expect to hear from Bob, frequently, and we want him to know that we’ll always be listening.
[Trish’s note: …to a man??]
Lawrence Elliott pens “A Little Girl’s Gift” and joins the editorial staff of Reader’s Digest.
Studio 54 & Beyond
The Captain has left the building, and the famed TV studio became Studio 54.
Concord Village West Islip
Jeff Olson, the Cowboy in the Village People, lived next door to the Cleary family on Alwick Avenue in Concord Village. Peg Cleary and Jeff were buddies from day one. They even strung two tin cans between their bedroom windows so they could always stay in touch. Jeff is credited with saving Peg’s life one day after she fell asleep in a pipe at a construction site. Peg, in turn, didn’t tattle on Jeff when he removed the pegs from the lobster claws at the fish market. Jeff eventually got caught in his own net anyway, when mom found the pegs in his pockets on laundry day.
Puppy love filled the air coming off the Great South Bay. When the Olson’s Boxer mix gave birth, the Cleary’s got the pick of the litter. In turn, Tige, the puppy, had his pick of retainers. He started with Kathie’s.
We’re not sure what happened to Tige, but we all know what became of the boy next door. We have him on retainer.
With six kids in the family, the Kileys always had a full house. The best seats, however, were in the painted station wagons circling the block. Open windows, summer nights and a view of Richard getting ready for his next roll was the stuff of impossible dreams. The ladies behind the wheels loved to hear Richard Kiley narrate their stories. They spared no expense.
A Digested Gift
With three girls in each family at the time, the Elliotts and the Cleary’s formed a formidable flock of females. Barbara and Ellen quickly paired up and were inseparable for the first nine years of their lives.
Larry Elliott, already the recipient of the Freedoms Foundation award, went on to author several biographies of inspiring people. As an editor at Reader’s Digest, he wrote A Little Girl’s Gift, a touching, true story of a child whose courage changed thousands of lives.
All Profits Go to Charity
TIME TO GIVE BACK
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Since 1961, nearly one million corneal transplants have restored sight to men, women, and children.
Adopt a Joey
Kangaroo tastes like a cross between venison and buffalo. The texture of the meat is not quite as dry as deer but it’s leaner than bison.
Warning: Consuming overcooked kangaroo meat may result in feelings of guilt.
A tooth is much more to be prized than a diamond
Ho, there, foul monster! Cease the knocking at thy craven knees and prepare to do battle!
Thirty Windmills: One Million Dollars
Forty Windmills: One Million Dollars