Regardless, It’s Still Spring

So it seems the winter-storm-naming, major-“event”-salivating, sky-is-falling weather mavens actually got it right with their predictions this time, as the fourth nor’easter in as many weeks crippled the mid-Atlantic and northeast on Wednesday into Thursday.

Or did they? At the local level at the time this column was being composed on Wednesday afternoon, at the height of blanket coverage of the storm, the roads were completely clear and a light drizzle was falling. Of course, by the time of publication, there was some wet snow falling and accumulating (in the tenths of inches) but there was still no sign of the scary 40 to 50 mph winds that had been so cavalierly bandied about. Doesn’t do much for building up faith in the cataclysmic forecasting complex.

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Up and away.                                                                                                              –A. Botsford Photo

And while, as promised last week, readers will find no wondrous snowscapes accompanying this week’s column, At Quaquanantuck is very pleased to offer readers this lovely observation about storm four from a sensitive and gifted reader:

The Fourth Snowstorm Arrives

The fourth snowstorm arrives
The first day of Spring.

The egg stands upright
The tulip too
The branches from the last blizzard
Still there
The power lines in repairs
Children march to stay alive in school.

Nothing surprises anymore.

—Ginny Rosenblatt

A further consideration of the arrival of spring at the vernal equinox comes this week from globally conscious reader Lucinda Morrisey, who shared this, with wishes for a happy spring for everyone around our planet:

Eid Nowruz, also known as the Persian New Year, is a cultural (non-religious) celebration of the first day of spring and the renewal of nature, marking the date on which the hours of the night equal the hours of the day. Nowruz is a very old festival promoting peace and solidarity between generations and within families, as well as reconciliation and neighborliness. Contributing to cultural diversity and friendship among different communities, it is an affirmation of life in harmony with nature. It is said that Eid Nowruz is a time for cleaning your house and your soul.

A national holiday in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kurdistan Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, Eid Nowruz is an important holiday loved by Kurds everywhere.

And an important thought for all of us, now and in all seasons. 

“The Boys Next Door” Opens at Quogue Community Hall

The Hampton Theatre Company production of Tom Griffin’s “The Boys Next Door” opens tonight, March 22, at the Quogue Community Hall and runs through April 8. This tender and affecting comedy looks at the trials and the triumphs of four men with various mental disabilities living in a group home.

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Dorrian M. O’Brien, Matthew Conlon, Spencer Scott, Scott Hofer and Paul Velutis, left to right, in a scene from “The Boys Next Door.” –Tom Kochie Photo

In brief vignettes over a roughly two-month period, the play offers humorous commentary on the lives of the four men and their chief caretaker, the social worker Jack Palmer (Paul Velutis), who is struggling with the decision of whether to move on to a new job.

Hyperactive Arnold Wiggins (Matthew Conlon) is an obsessive compulsive, practically non-stop talker who works as a janitor at a movie theater. Norman Bulansky (Scott Hofer) is a middle-aged man with mental disabilities whose job at a doughnut shop has contributed to a weight problem. His would-be girlfriend Sheila (Jessica Howard) lives in a different group home.

Lucien P. Smith (Dorrian M. O’Brien) is an African-American man who faces extremely debilitating mental disorders. Despite the fact that he cannot read, he insists on checking out armloads of books from the library. The fourth member of the household is Barry Klemper (Spencer Scott), a 28-year-old man with schizophrenia who believes he is a pro golfer and gets highly agitated over small things. A turning point in the play revolves around a visit from Barry’s long absent abusive father (Mike Boland).

Called “a funny and touching play” by the Theater Mirror, “The Boys Next Door” was described in New York Times reviews as “emotionally appealing” enriched by “revealing, deeply sympathetic portraits.” In a Times review of the 1988-89 Studio Theater production in New York, critic Leah D. Frank wrote that “the play offers us a chance to see the lives of people who are struggling to get along and who are, in that respect, not all that much different from the rest of us.”

Six supporting roles are divided between two HTC veterans, Catherine Maloney and Bob Kaplan.

“The Boys Next Door” is playwright Tom Griffin’s most successful work; in 1989 it was the most produced play in America. Other plays by Griffin include: “Amateurs”; “Einstein and The Polar Bear”; “Pasta” and “Mrs. Sedgewick’s Head.”

HTC board vice president Ed Brennan directs. Set design is by Sean Marbury; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; and costumes by Teresa Lebrun.

Performances of “The Boys Next Door” will be on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30. There will be no performance on Easter Sunday, April 1. On Saturday, March 31, there will be two performances: at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. An additional matinee performance will be offered during the final weekend of the production, on Saturday, April 7, prior to the regular 8 p.m. performance that evening.

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Jessica Howard and Scott Hofer. –Tom Kochie Photo

There may still be time to sign up for the Quogue Library dinner and theater package on Friday, March 30, with dinner at the Quogue Club at the Hallock House at 5 p.m. and a ticket to the 7 p.m. performance of “The Boys Next Door” that night at the theater just down Jessup Avenue. The cost is $70 per person (non-refundable) due upon registration; all payment forms accepted. For more information or to register, call 631-653-4224, ext. 101.

Offered in association with the Quogue Club at the Hallock House, there will also be a special lunch and theater package available for the Saturday matinee on April 7. For information about all packages and available discounts, visit www.hamptontheatre.org or email info@hamptontheatre.org. To reserve tickets, visit www.hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111.

“Into the Woods” at WHB High School

Yes, it’s time for the spring high school musical in Westhampton Beach. This year, it’s “Into the Woods,” with the search for “a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold” sending a baker and his wife into the woods to reverse a curse placed on them by a vengeful witch. Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack of bean stalk fame, and Rapunzel soon join in on their own adventures, only to realize that some fairy tales are not what they seem.

Directed once again by Hampton Theatre Company founding member Rosemary Cline, free performances will be offered on Friday, March 23, and Saturday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 25, at 2 p.m.

Library Program on Responding to Dementia

Rescheduled due to a previous nor’easter, an important program on “Understanding and Responding to Dementia Related Behaviors” will be offered tonight, March 22, at the Quogue Library at 6 p.m. This program will offer practical information and resources to help dementia caregivers decipher behaviors and learn how to best respond.

For more information or to register, call the library at 631-653-4224, ext. 101.  

Historical Society in Search of Photos, Ephemera and Memories of the 1950s

The Quogue Historical Society has put out a call for photos, ephemera, and objects from Quogue in the 1950s. All are needed to populate the Society’s exhibition, “Happy Days: Quogue in the 1950s,” tentatively scheduled to open sometime in June.

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1952 newspaper clipping courtesy of the Quogue Historical Society.

According to one highly placed source, the Society and the exhibition’s curators would very much like to have donations of the aforementioned  1950s photos, ephemera, and objects. But they would also be happy to take objects and ephemera on loan for the exhibition and scan any photos and return them.

All donations and loan items can be dropped off at the Pond House. For more information, email  info@quoguehistory.org or call 631-996-2404.

Society curators are also asking people to start digging deep into their memory banks, as there are plans to have an oral history gathering at some point during the summer.  Stay tuned.

Still More Ephemera and Photos Needed, for Beach Club Anniversary

Photo contributor and regular reader Suzanne Lightbourn, as a member of the committee charged with compiling information for the Quogue Beach Club’s 100th anniversary, is also reaching out for any old photos or ephemera related to the club. Details will be provided in a future column on how to convey said items to the committee.

As Suzanne pointed out—and curators for both causes are apparently counting on—“Winter [or a relentless series of nor’easters] seems a perfect time to dig out and pick through photo albums and those boxes of loose photos and nostalgic memorabilia in the attic, right?”

Memorial for Michael Pitcher at Wildlife Refuge Saturday, March 24

W. Michael Pitcher—longtime editor, avid outdoorsman, president of East End Hospice, devoted father, and faithful friend—died on February 21. For those who did not see it in the local paper, his obituary can be seen here.

A memorial gathering and celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, March 24, at 4:15 p.m. at the Nature Center of the Quogue Wildlife Refuge.

Natural History Conference Friday and Saturday

Word has come from the Quogue Wildlife Refuge that the sixth annual Long Island Natural History Conference will be held this year at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Friday, March 23, and Saturday, March 24.

Leading naturalists will give presentations during this two-day conference on a wide variety of topics including coastal plain ponds, long-eared bats, macro algae, red fox, Gotham whale, deer and ecosystem health, iPhone nature photography, nature observation, journaling and citizen science, and more.

In addition, many of the more than 30 local sponsoring organizations will be staffing booths with useful information for attendees, and a number of independent naturalists will be offering poster sessions. Registration in advance is required through the Long Island Nature Organization. For more information about topics or to register, visit www.longislandnature.org.

At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes and photos of interest to Quogue residents, even if the items are being sent from winter addresses or other parts of the country. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list, or just to visit AtQuaquanantuck.com and feel free to follow.

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Sentinel.                                                                                                                    –A. Botsford Photo

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