In case anyone in our beautiful Quogue bubble might be wondering what is going on to our west, there is apparently no pandemic in Port Jefferson.
Returning to Long Island on the ferry from Bridgeport last Sunday, At Quaquanantuck came upon a scene resembling nothing so much as spring break in Fort Lauderdale. The streets were teeming with pedestrians in party mode, hundreds and hundreds of them, the majority without masks or face coverings of any kind, shoulder to shoulder and cheek by jowl, perspiring in the summer heat of 86 degrees and moving in tightly packed phalanxes that severely slowed or completely stalled vehicular traffic.
The slight breeze in the harbor town carried the unmistakable odor of a new kind of entitlement: “Protocol? What protocol? Why should I have to wear a mask? Everybody looks pretty healthy to me. It’s summer, dammit, and it’s my time to party.”
And that’s the problem, isn’t it? There is no consistency. Across America there are many who remain committed to safety and responsibility, people who are paying attention to the numbers, who know that the virus has been slowed by extreme measures but is far from being defeated.
And unfortunately there are just as many, or more, who either believe that flattening the curve was the final objective and now that’s done they can go about their business, and pleasure, with no further need for concern, or who are convinced, like many who attended the recent rally in Tulsa, that the coronavirus has never been anything more than a fake crisis.
In some other countries, the steepness of the spike on the upside has been matched by a steep descent on the downside. In the U.S., stringent restrictions helped us to flatten the upward curve in some of the hardest hit areas, but our continuing inconsistent response has resulted in a plateau that is now showing signs of climbing back to earlier heights. So what’s to be done?
One more time: if we, as a nation, cannot find a way to agree on what the hard numbers are telling us; if we cannot find a way to work together to mount a measured and consistent defense in order to give researchers the time to mount an effective offense; if we cannot agree that some at times painful individual sacrifices may be necessary to protect the health, and the long term economy, of our nation; then we will, as a nation, likely remain at the mercy (of which there is none) of Covid-19.
Time to pull together, folks. Time to pay attention.
And so it goes in the days of the novel coronavirus today.
There Are Heroes in Our Families, Too
For all those who have been spared the worst effects of the novel coronavirus, the many limitations on ordinary day-to-day activities have come with some unexpected opportunities to do things in new ways and to see things in a new light.
One example of seeing things differently would be in what has been in most cases a long overdue recognition of heroes in our midst. In times of crisis, medical workers and first responders are rightfully applauded and hailed for going above and beyond in their efforts to save lives, even though this kind of heroism is part of their job description 24/7, week in and week out every day of the year.
In this time of pandemic, though, we have even more reverence for these men and women and all the other essential workers and support teams who keep the country going, because we know they are not only doing their jobs, they are dedicating their efforts to the greater good of their communities, despite the increased risk to their own health and the health of their loved ones.
And so it is with the graduating seniors in the Covid class of 2020. Commencement exercises, awards nights, athletic dinners, and even graduation parties for high school and college seniors have always provided signal opportunities to grant well-deserved recognition to young women and men who have stayed the course and reached the finish line.
Is there any other term but heroic to describe these students making their way through the all too tortuous maze of changing curricula, aptitude acceptance, challenging subjects, hormonal oscillations, conflicting peer and parental pressures, sometimes volatile relationships with faculty and/or administration, social media skirmishes, romance (or its lack), and identity issues?
Their success can be acknowledged along the way in celebrations large and small of … a good report card, making a team, election to student government, a great performance in a show or a concert. But it is only at the conclusion—the final semester and graduation—that the incredible achievement of making it all the way through is appropriately heralded.
Then came Covid-19.
Instead of a joyful victory lap with friends and classmates in the final semester, high school and college students finished the year in their houses, by themselves, completing their courses online in a virtual space bearing no resemblance to the classroom experience. Meanwhile, school administrators are struggling to keep up with and decipher changing guidelines from Governor Cuomo—who is struggling to keep up with the fluctuations in coronavirus numbers—as they try to figure out if there can be any kind of a graduation ceremony at all.
That’s why At Quaquanantuck has been requesting information about graduating high school and college seniors, not just so that we can give a shoutout to these individuals, but to put readers in mind of all the young people across the country who have worked so hard for so long, only to be robbed of their due by the pandemic. Please, by all means, congratulate the students and their families listed here, but also keep a good thought for all the ones we don’t know about. All are heroes.
Grace Tilly Weimer Fitzpatrick, daughter of longtime Quogue residents Billie Fitzpatrick and Gretchen Weimer, graduated from Laguna Blanca School in Santa Barbara, CA, and will be going to University of Vermont College of Arts & Sciences, which has awarded her the Trustees Scholarship.
Max Gilbert, son of Susan and David Gilbert, graduated from St George’s School in Newport, RI.
Walker Hill, son of Katherine and Jim Hill, graduated from the Collegiate School in Richmond, VA.
Kay Horak, daughter of Maureen and William Horak, is graduating as the valedictorian of the Westhampton Beach High School Class of 2020 and will be going to Smith College in Northampton, MA, in the fall.
Caroline Kaynor, daughter of April and Bobby Kaynor, graduated from St. George’s School in Newport, RI.
Christian Lockwood graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, MA, with three majors: Astronomy, Geosciences, and Classics. He was also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi and received the Milham Prize in Astronomy and the Mineralogical Society of America Award.
Venturing out as part of both the 2017 and 2019 Total Solar Eclipse Expeditions, Christian has had his composites of the eclipses published in print and online. While at Williams, he enjoyed giving tours of the Hopkins Observatory, the oldest existing astronomical observatory in the United States.
Current plans for Christian include presenting at the Geological Society of America meeting this fall and researching the total solar eclipse in Argentina in December.
Jack Moore, son of Brooke and John Moore, graduated from New Canaan High School in New Canaan, CT.
Jack MacWilliams, son of Tammy and John MacWilliams, graduated from Tufts this spring and is currently on the prowl for a job, according to his parents.
Eleanor Niedermayer, daughter of Virginie and Ted Niedermayer, graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.
Dieken Torpey, son of Lorie and Neil Torpey, graduated from Colgate University in Hamilton, NY, this spring, with a major in Philosophy and a minor in Film and Media.
Dieken plans to finish the Tuck Bridge program at Dartmouth (virtually) and then look for a job in media and entertainment.
Some families are blessed with more than one graduate to report on:
Charlotte Cunningham, daughter of Holly Cunningham, graduated from the University of Virginia this spring, while her brother Reid Cunningham graduated from the University of Vermont. Their sister Eloise Cunningham, meanwhile, graduated from Chapin in New York City.
Electra Frelinghuysen, daughter of Lisa and Peter Frelinghuysen Jr., graduated from Princeton this spring. Her sister Diana Frelinghuysen graduated from Brearley in New York City.
Bea Huffines, daughter of Lisa and Robbie Huffines, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this spring and has already landed a job in Denver, which she will be starting in August. Her sister Nora Huffines graduated from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA, and will be heading off next to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Maddie Morris, daughter of Lynn Alexander and Chris Morris, graduated this spring from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. Her sister Anna Morris graduated from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA, and will be going to Washington & Lee University in the fall.
That’s the crop for this week, with special thanks to Lisa Huffines and Rosemary Cline for gathering information on graduates. At Quaquanantuck welcomes more news of high school and college graduates in the class of 2020; please send students’ and parents’ names, information about future plans, and photos to AtQuaq@gmail.com.
Refuge Hosting a Virtually Wild Night for Wildlife
Among the all too many cultural and social events laid low by the coronavirus pandemic this summer, one of the most devastating losses for Quogue residents—from an emotional and spiritual as well as a financial standpoint—is the annual Wild Night for Wildlife benefit gala for the Quogue Wildlife Refuge.
As QWR Executive Director Michael Nelson pointed out in an email update this week, “The Wild Night for Wildlife Gala has been our biggest fundraiser each year, providing over one third of our operating budget.”
This is why it is critically important for all the residents of Quogue, and the thousands of people from the surrounding area who make use of the Refuge facilities and benefit from its educational and quality of life enhancing programs, to step up and purchase a “virtual ticket” or make some kind of contribution to the Wild Night for Wildlife Summer Appeal.
The Conservator Award recipient for 2020 is Edwina Von Gal. Honorary chairs are: Sandy and Anthony Bonner, Jim Cramer and Lisa Detwiler, and Bill Ritter and Kathleen Friery.
As Mr. Nelson noted, all donations will help “to ensure that the Refuge is able to continue to provide quality care for our animals, and priceless experiences in nature for the community.” To purchase virtual tickets and to make donations, click here or visit www.quoguewildliferefuge.org and click on Wild Night Appeal.
And please remember, too, the new Quogue Wildlife Refuge “text to donate” app for smart phone users. Donations to the QWR can now be made from anywhere simply by texting QWR2020 to 202-858-1233. The new app leads users to a very simple donation form, right on their cell phones.
Meanwhile, in an ingenious bid to keep things lively, and personal, in the virtual realm, QWR Benefit Coordinator Kimberly Stever has hit on the idea of a special celebratory YouTube video premiere at 7 p.m. on the night originally scheduled for the gala, Saturday, June 11.
All in the community who love the Wildlife Refuge (in other words: all in the community) are being asked to share their favorite Refuge memories in 15-second video clips that will be edited together with thoughts and memories from QWR board members and staffers for the YouTube premiere on July 11.
Since the people can’t come to the party, the Refuge is bringing the party to the people in this special video tribute to the QWR. Here are the step by step instructions for making and sharing your videos:
- Film a short video—no more than 15 seconds—on your phone or computer.
- Tell why the Refuge is special to you or share a (15-second) favorite memory, place or experience you have had there.
- Share the video with the Refuge on Dropbox or Google Drive to the email firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply email it to email@example.com as an attachment.
- Send your video to the QWR by Sunday, June 28. For more information, email Kimberly Stever at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now get out those smart phones and start filming.
Church of the Atonement Taking Liturgy Virtual
The Reverend Dr. Richard D. McCall will be leading virtual services at 9 a.m. on four Sundays this summer for the Church of the Atonement on Quogue Street, on June 28, and July 5, 12 and 19.
Rev. McCall will officiate virtually at Morning Prayer services beginning this Sunday, June 28. The Atonement, a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, welcomes worshippers of all faiths. The virtual services are being offered in response to a mandate from the Bishop of Long Island that all church buildings remain closed for in-person worship or other gatherings through June.
This summer there will be one Morning Prayer service live on Zoom on Sundays beginning at 9 a.m. The service will be recorded for later viewing on the church’s website (Quoguechurch.org). All those wishing to obtain login information for the Zoom platform are requested to send an email to email@example.com for the Zoom meeting ID number and password.
Atonement organist and choir director Patricia Osborne Feiler will provide music for the virtual Morning Prayer services.
Rev. McCall and his wife, the Reverend Dr. Terry McCall, live in Bloomington, Indiana. This year marks the couple’s 21st summer with the Atonement family and, although they will not be present with us in person, all in the community are encouraged to participate in Atonement services online.
The Reverend Dr. Robert S. Dannals will officiate at the Atonement’s Morning Prayer services from Sunday, July 26 through Sunday, August 16.
Film Suggestions from Performing Arts Center and Hamptons Doc Fest
For June and July, the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center is offering exclusive tickets to stream two movies written and directed by the celebrated South Korean filmmaker Hong Sangsoo, “Hill of Freedom” (2020) and “Woman on the Beach” (2008).
Half the proceeds from ticket sales go to the PAC. For more information, trailers and tickets, along with links to companion commentary by Tuesday Night at the Movies host Andrew Botsford, click here or visit www.whbpac.org and click on Films.
Meanwhile, this week’s Hamptons Doc Fest pick for a “family fest favorite” is “Pick of the Litter,” a “dogumentary” that follows a litter of Labrador puppies as they train and go through the selection process to become guide dogs for the blind.
Audience Award winner at 18 international festivals, “Pick of the Litter” earned this praise from The Guardian: “… cuteness levels regularly exceed safe norms …” For more information, trailer, tickets, and an interview of Sally Scranton from the Guide Dog Foundation by Andrew Botsford at the 2018 Hamptons Doc Fest, click here or visit www.hamptonsdocfest.com and click on Festival Favorites on the panel on the left side of the home page.
Your Comments Welcome
At Quaquanantuck is happy to provide a forum for civil discussion of village issues and initiatives and welcomes all comments. All are encouraged to share observations, ideas and opinions by writing to AtQuaq@gmail.com.
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—or the world. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list.