I miss Long Island. Back in the early 1990s, I was fortunate to attend Hofstra University in Hempstead, but I have to admit, it took me a little while to adjust. I came from a small, somewhat isolated town called Pittsfield, Mass., just across the New York State border. Pittsfield seemed like a big city growing up; after all it was the most populated area in Berkshire County. We were seen as “city people” by our peers in the neighboring rural towns.
In reality, though, we were rural in just about every way, just like many of the towns and villages in upstate New York. Life was relatively calm, and you knew people; it was like a two degrees of separation. There were long-time family restaurants, century-old businesses, and even a Woolworths with a lunch counter. When I got to Long Island I realized just how rural I really was. The culture, personality and faster lifestyle felt like I had jumped into a freezing cold swimming pool. I quickly recognized there was going to be an adjustment period; I just didn’t know how long that would be.
Luckily, I made fast friends with a few Islanders and some City people as well. They showed me around and it wasn’t long before I saw the sense of community from town to town, village to village. Remarkably, because I didn’t expect it, the Island was not all that different from my little hometown up north. Sure, things were faster and busier, but at the grass roots level, so to speak, people were just as community-centered as any rural locale. Generations of families grew up and lived in the same towns and they knew each other and care about their communities. I have great memories of the Island and of Islanders, and I do miss the place.
I also miss doing Profiles for Island superintendents and commissioners. I know, it’s been awhile, but we’ve had some trouble lining up ones on Long Island. If you know someone whom you think deserves to be profiled, let us know. We’d be happy to pursue it.
And finally, we’re now a little more than a month away from the annual N.Y.S. Highway & Public Works Expo in Syracuse. Look in next month’s Superintendent’s Profile for specific details, such as door prizes, lunch tickets and a comprehensive exhibitor listing.