KISMET: Across the Bay with MJ

KISMET: Across the Bay with MJBy Marijane VoltzThe Fourth of July celebration this year was a real crowd pleaser, as the floats were out of this world. The Northwell Health Southside Hospital Pirate Fest float was a beautifully-made mini pirate ship constructed by Jim Phelan. There were pirates and mermaids handing swords out to the crowd in an effort to remind the town of the Pirate Festival, which will take place on Tuesday, August 2 from 12p.m. to 5p.m.Other fun floats that marched up Pine Walk were the Patriotic Princesses and Animal House float. Along with the floats were the Volunteer Fire Department Marching Bands of both Bay Shore and Islip. Grace Wood sang the National Anthem as the Marine Honor Guard raised the flag. No one appreciated this day more than Walter and Peggy Ulma, who were longtime residents and came back to Kismet, making the long drive from Florida. They sold their Bayfront house to Dana DeRuvo Hanner and Joe Hanner back in 2014 and reunited on the front porch of La Famiglia to enjoy the parade. They also had front row seats as the Bay Shore Fire Department played atop Dana and Joe’s roof. It was a joy for Kismet to see Walter and Peggy again.Photo 1 BruceLorenzJuly4thPhotoA notice is being sent out to all of Kismet that it is time to go on a diet. This is a direct result of our new crossovers that lend a limited amount of space to pass by one another on the walk. We should be happy that the crossovers are finally here and that our homes are once again protected by the dunes, but let’s hope derelict day trippers don’t disregard the crossovers as they lug their coolers and chairs over the dunes. Suck it in or lose the weight, Kismet!In other community news, on Father’s Day Kismet celebrated in a very special way by honoring the memory of Paul Whitney who passed away earlier this year. Paul was the owner of the Kismet Market, but more than that, he was a dear friend and neighbor. As Kisminites gathered at Kismet’s Time Square, just in front of the market and beside the beautiful memorial made in Paul’s honor, Paul’s children Andy, Linda and Lori took a moment to say a pray, recite a poem and give their thanks to everyone that supported them through a difficult time.Some friends shared personal stories about Paul, including Sam Wood who spoke about Paul’s generosity. When Sam started his bike rental business as a young boy, he recalled his parents renting out their house for a week, leaving Sam to find space for the bikes. Paul offered him space behind the market and never charged him a dime. Sam also remembered Paul being a great listener, never telling him how to run his business, but always lending an ear.Another memorable story came from Mike Makowsky, who told a funny story of his wife Dusty falling off their boat and into the four-foot marina. As she screamed for help, Paul Whitney and Larry Cole nonchalantly approached her and said, “Just get up!” Mike became choked up, not being able to finish what he was saying. We later found out that Paul and Larry handed Dusty a pair of arm floaties. Dusty, being the good sport that she is, walked into the Kismet Inn later on that day adorned with the floaties on each arm. Paul was loved and those wonderful stories will forever keep his memory alive.On June 25, Dana DeRuvo Hanner from La Famiglia, hosted the Special Moms Network, which was started four years ago with friend and fellow nurse, Susan Kleiman. The women met when their sons, who were both special needs, resided at The Center for Discovery in Harris NY. Discovering that there was no place for moms to go to be empowered and educated, they started The Special Moms Group Facebook page, which has now grown into thousands of members that span across the country and over to England, Scotland and Italy. They have started a website,, where there are Special Professionals and Featured Family stories, blogs and information on resources that have been approved, so that there are places moms can go to other than government agencies.The Special Moms met with Guy Leggio, a volunteer Bay Shore Fire Department member and trustee to the Bay Shore school district, back in April. The moms wanted to find out from Mr. Leggio what standards of practice were already in place when a special needs person is in need of assistance. They found that there wasn’t any formal protocol. Leggio challenged the moms to come up with a system that would have all of the vital information on one form and in different languages instructing emergency units on where to find a nonverbal person, especially one who may have a favorite hiding place inside the home. Go to the Special Moms website to learn more.The Maggie Fischer Memorial Cross Bay Swim will take place on July 22 as 100 swimmers and just as many kayakers, (one for each swimmer), prepare themselves at the Fire Island Lighthouse to make the 5.25 mile journey across the Great South Bay. The swim was renamed in 1999 in memory of Maggie Fischer who was training for the swim and died in a tragic car accident only days before the race. Only five swimmers swam that year in memory of Maggie as the other 94 attended her funeral. Come and be a part of this amazing event. Cheer on the swimmers and kayakers as they take off from the Lighthouse at 7AM or applaud their accomplishments as they complete the swim at Gilbert Park in Brightwaters. Proceeds benefit the Hospice Care Network Children’s and Family Bereavement Program and a scholarship fund in Maggie’s name. Donations can be made online by going to or through “Network for Good.”MJ can be reached at [email protected] with any news or happenings you would like her to include in her column.