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Point of View: Buoying Prospect

Thu, 03/03/2022 - 10:44

Newsday had a story the other day about two Catholic grammar schools up the Island having embraced the teaching of Spanish and English from the earliest grades, an eminently sensible practice, though one long in coming, that has apparently been warmly received.

Interesting that an institution so often associated over the years with peremptoriness would act in such a liberal way, and can thus stand as an avatar — at least in this respect — for the Island’s public schools. These Catholic elementary schools, in Central Islip and Deer Park, also are welcoming one and all when it comes to religious affiliation. This seems a far cry from the day when Mary, then a first grader at St. Peter’s of Alcantara in Port Washington, was spanked bare-bottomed by a particularly sadistic nun for having given a pen to Joanie Powers, who didn’t have one.

The benefits of bilingual education, especially on Long Island, are obvious given the great number of Spanish speakers who live here. To think that if bilingual education catches on we will be able to communicate and work together more freely — and to strengthen our synapses and communities — is buoying, a prospect that offers hope when often, it seems, there isn’t much.

I was reminded that there is hope as O’en and I walked through the neighborhood last night. A number of houses were lit, as if there were no end to Christmastime. And why should there be an end to Christmastime when it comes to our spirits, and to our collective spirit?

On another subject, I was reminded this past week that I’d forgotten to include in recent excerpts from our “Five Characters in Search of an Editor” reading the line, uttered by Lyrica Languish (Barbara Johnson), that had brought down the house — to wit, “And oh you tempting double-bosomed lilacs, I writhe and dig my nose in your sweet fragrance.”

That line, by the way, was one of several gems to be found within an overwrought ode to the seasons that appeared on our April 25, 1974, letters page. There were other gems within its nine stanzas too, though none that quite matched the above, which I find myself repeating, to Mary’s delight, every spring, writhing as best I can.


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