Ocean Bay Park by Barbara Gaby Placilla

Birthdays, weddings, graduations – some of life’s most momentous occasions were all put on hold for the past 15 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I can think of no better way to start the summer of ‘21 in Ocean Bay Park than with multiple CELEBRATIONS!Every birthday is a celebration but only a handful can be called milestones. Three beloved members of the Ocean Bay Park community marked their eighth decade – Robbie Harris Byrnes onMarch 7, Mike Supple on May 22 and Mike Supple on June 10. Pat Supple hosted a party at the Douglaston Yacht Club to toast Mike’s 80th birthday. The party theme was a Broadway theatre homage to Mike’s 50 plus years as a stagehand. I had a hard time choosing which playbills to replicate on the cake I made for him. The highlight of the party was a Cher look-alike drag queen piano player/singer who did every Broadway tune from Mike’s years on Broadway.   You name the show, Mike has worked it, and so that was a lot of music!It’s June, so of course it is time for weddings. On June 5, Vanessa Hartley married Shane Kula under a flower-covered arbor on the bay beach by Flynn’s. The following week, the Byrnes-Donohue clan gathered before their annual “invasion” in August to celebrate the marriage of Bridget Sowluski to Brendan Gebert. The wedding took place on the beach. Bridget’s parents bought Eleanor Ellix’s house, so it’s a welcome to Ontario “deck warming” as well.Kudos and congratulations to all the students who hung in and completed their studies, despite having to spend so much time on Zoom. Anthony Catanese Jr. just graduated from St. John’s University a year early and with most of the credits needed for a masters, which he will complete in the fall. Graduating high school are Harrison Jaffe, who is on his way to University of Vermont and Taylor Kingsley who will attend the University of Rhode Island.Besides having new neighbors on Ontario, we are celebrating the return of Danny, Annetta and Patryck Kozyra who were finally able to come from Poland to spend another summer in Ocean Bay Park. I did not recognize Patryck when he came to the door as he has grown into a tall, handsome young man in the time since the pandemic. The homecoming was bittersweet because it meant that the cat we share with them, Flynn, immediately deserted me for them. But Flynnsie sneaks over for treats and I know he is thrilled to have his “boy” back.I am so happy that we are back and hopefully on our way to a healthy and happy summer. At this point, there is no reason to look back and mourn what was – it’s time to look forward to what will be. I always try to see the glass as more than half full and if the past year has taught us anything, I truly hope it has given us an appreciation for all we hold dear and cherish – our family, our friends, and our beautiful beach. Now let’s get back to living the Fire Island life!