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To paraphrase a piece of writing that caught my eye on the Internet: "The ability to put my thoughts on (virtual) paper and put them where people can read and respond to them has been marvelous, even if most people who have read my writings haven't agreed with them. If there is any hope for the long term success of democracy, it will be if people agree to listen to and try to understand their opponents rather than simply seek to crush them." -- RLF
In Memorium -- "My primary purpose in writing these articles is to help provide gays with a sense of their history outside of Stonewall. I feel we have to grab it wherever we are living it and get it down for the generations that will follow in our footsteps."--Mary Kapsalis.
August 27, 2008 -- Summer is winding down and the weather is ideal. I've been way too involved with this website and The Island Repertory Theatre Company to cover all that went on here this summer, but things that interested me got my attention and maybe that's all that can be expected. There are many website and blogs on Cherry Grove now. I'm sure that everything got a mention somewhere.
The Annual Grovettes vs Copettes Volleyball Game has become a ghost of its former self, but fans of the sport claim the competition has become fierce and the playing way more expert. This year, the Grove won 2-1. (Photos above.)
Here are some photos taken at the recent Miss Cherry's Pageant:
A forgotten envelope in our guest room closet held a treasure of writings by Mary Kapsalis and photos taken by Joel Schechter that he gave to me for publication years ago. I do hope that anyone concerned will not mind their being published here. They seem to date back to the 70's. I particularly like the one of Mary cutting hair. Can anyone out there identify any of the people and the exact year the pics were taken?
Of the period, Mary Kapsalis wrote:
IN THE BEGINNING, there was a chap named Dudley, who ran the buses out of Sayville to New York. I was on that bus going home one night when we were pelted with stones. Dudley shouted, "Get down and hold on!" So we careened through Sayville town like possessed people. No doubt the same youths were boated over to make trouble in our community. What they met up with were our guys who worked out at the gym. I handed out rolls of coins as they ran to confront the young thugs. Needless to say, they never came back.
It wasn't only the pelting of stones that we endured. Every sign that we put up pointing out the way to the ferry disappeared. People couldn't even get through to us. There was a lot of prejudice against us in Sayville. It changed in the 1970's when the population grew and more money began to flow. I don't think the prejudice let up, it's more that money began to talk . . .
The ferries took the better part of an hour to cross the water. One boat had no upstairs and we had to sit downstairs with the engine and the fumes. Some very hearty people were not above getting seasick. People by the name of Pokorny owned it at that time. Mr. Pokorny was one of the kindest men ever knew. There were no prejudicial slurs made from them. The boys made a lot of his wife. If you missed the boat, he would run speedboat specials for two dollars that got you here in no time . . .
The fire department was electrified by Jimmy Merry and Martin Kahn. To borrow a line from the Godfather: "It wasn't personal, it was business." Both of these men had a lot to lose if their businesses went up in flames. The girl firefighters, whom I called brave broads, were just as gallant then as they are now . .
Our postmistress had a husband named George. Handsome was not the word. Try gorgeous. Try yummy. When he whizzed by on his gas truck, hearts went pitter-patter, both men's and women's. On an island of beauties, that's really saying something! Jeanne Skinner always ran the post office like a tight ship; her mother before her. You can still hear her plea of "Pick up your mail. I have no more room!" . . . .
George committed suicide. He was a plumber and gas man who turned everybody's water on and off. One Spring, he turned the water on too early and everybody's pipes froze. In shame, he killed himself with a shotgun. I think she still has it. One year I had to borrow it for the production of "Annie Get Your Gun." I was the only one braze enough to ask here" . . .
At night in cardigans and blazers, we congregated on the deck of the Ice Palace, then called The Bat Cave. We were neighborhood, alright, with exchanges of gossip tossed round. When Vincent asked, "Who was going for the malteds?" we all knew what he meant. One evening the subject was a lady who had aspirations of being on Broadway. "Oh, yeah," was the cynical reply, "the only way she's getting to Broadway is on the cross-town bus." OK, she wasn't calculated to endear . . .
The Monster was presided over by the Prince of Cherry Grove Joe Sciallo, who checked every plate that went out of the kitchen. No wonder they came from up and down the Island. He was one of a kind and is sorely missed. Later on, Amelia of Top of the Bay brought food that would make a gourmet out of Ghandi. Mel Brooks and Ann Bancroft will attest to that . . .
In those days, people traveled between communities on a raising of the flag ceremony on the dock while we all saluted. How can you quarrel with The Star Bangled Banner? Paul Lynde frequented the Grove, as well. He was very gay and had a coterie of guys at his feet. He was a nice guy. There were more celebrities who came here then than now. This was their hangout. Felicia Sanders performed here. Kay Ballard appeared at the hotel. She stayed with Evelyn and Valerie. At the hotel, it gave one a start to emerge from one's humble room and see Carmen McRae and the divine Sarah Vaughn sunning themselves at the pool. A favorite house guest of Jimmy's was Morgana King.
Rock Hudson was a frequenter of the Grove. Burke McHugh was a famous model who had a lot of money. He gave a lot of parties and opened a restaurant in the Village called The Lion. He always had a big clique around him. People seemed more fascinated by the famous than they are now. Grove people allowed celebrities their privacy, which is probably why they liked to come here. -- To be continued in the next edition.
People, Places and Things: Jan and Edrie lost their precious Poppy (photo left) yesterday. She and her mommies. had a wonderful life together. (February 1, 1998- August 23, 2008.) . . .
Cherry Grove has a new Ice Cream Parlor across the walk from Island Breeze that always has a line waiting to get in. An instant success! Congrats Frank and Linda. For some reason there are a couple of skeletons sitting next to the brightly colored building that must signify the long length of time that it took to open the place. On the other hand, skeletons are good luck south of the border. Maybe it's a Mexican thing. (Photo right) . . . On Sept 13 - 8 PM, The Arts Project of Cherry Grove Presents " A NIGHT at the MOVIES" Showing the 1993 Original PAWS review Madame Stephanie's Scandals. Pop corn, old time candy and soda served by Cherry Grove's bitchiest ushers, candy vendors and ladies room attendants. Buy tickets early to avoid being seated in the children's section. Tickets available at your neighborhood community house. . . .
Read the latest review of Island Rep's presentation of Omar Prince in "The Rarest of Birds" on http://www.qonstage.com. . . . Playwright Tony Finstrom was in the Grove last week, attending rehearsals for the world premiere of his new play "Between The Covers", which was presented at Island Rep on August 24. A few days before performance, actor Daniel Logan had to drop out for personal reasons and world-famous actor Tommy Femia stepped into his role. The cast of this hilarious gay treatment of "All About Eve" also included Charity (wonderful as a brassy film critic), David Dubin, Dennis Callahan, Bob Verbrugge and Frank Spoto under the direction of Richard LaFrance. We're hoping for a production in Fort Lauderdale this winter. (Cast photo upper left) . . .
Joan Van Ness, Frank Santoro and Pierre Galarneau were honored by the Cherry Grove Community Association at Blueberry Hill for their years community service in Cherry Grove. . . . Our boardwalks have never been in worse condition (photo right); yet, none of our community orgs take time to do anything about it. All you hear is "the boards are not our responsibility." Isn't it time that someone assumes some? Hint: It's a great excuse for yet another fundraiser. This time, though, spend the money in Cherry Grove instead of sending it to the mainland on the next boat. . . . In a quiet ceremony, the ashes of deceased Greg Cheplin were recently scattered to the wind on our beach by a few family members and friends. Rest in Peace!
Increased Vigilance for West Nile Virus on
If you'd like your event mentioned here on ATGT, just e-mail info to mailto:AsTheGroveTurnds@aol.com and you'll no doubt see it in our next edition.
As The Grove Turns was founded on May 15, 2000. So far, we have received over a million visits to our site from over fifty countries. Next edition of As The Grove Turns: August 8, 2008. 'Til then, God bless.