Virginia Lane, my mother, is someone you would love to talk to. She is loved by family, friends, people at her church -- and she never met anyone she didn't like.
She has had a tough life with a lot of sadness, but she still has the greatest outlook on life you ever saw. When I'm down, I call her. She says, "That's life. A lot of people have it worse than me."
Everyone who comes in contact with her says, "I love your mother."
She's lived in Franklin Square since 1950. Her husband passed away in 2001 after a very long illness -- she used to have to drive him to dialysis three times a week during the winter, summer, all year round. She still drives and goes to St. Catherine of Sienna Church five days a week.
She also belongs to a ladies gym called Curves. They do circuit training and she goes there at least four days a week. She goes to lunch with the girls who work out there -- she's extremely social.
She is a character and is the greatest conversationalist you ever will meet. She was recently featured in Curves health magazine. You'd never know her age from the picture, and she has three sons, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
If she's not with the VFW Ladies Auxiliary or volunteering for charities, it's a church group -- whatever it is, she's in the middle of it. She walks and delivers the civic association newsletter to everyone in the neighborhood. She loves it. She says, "I get to see everyone."
She is by far the most amazing 97-year-old woman you could meet. I am very proud of her, and she is a great lady.
A LIFELONG LONG ISLANDER
I'm an Island Girl! Always have been, will always be. I moved to Levittown from Queens at age 2 in 1954 and enjoyed suburban living from the very start.
Shopping at the East Village Green was my first dose of retail therapy. Swimming at the community pool there provided endless fun and memories. Mostly, I loved school in Levittown. My sister and I walked there. There were no buses, and Mom didn't drive then.
In 1963, my family moved us to a new, larger home in what was advertised as "close-in Commack." Dad worked in the city and it was commutable.
Junior and senior high school was upon me, and I couldn't wait to begin that adventure. It was all I had hoped it would be.
The Commack School District was growing fast in the 1960s, and they had to divide the high school into Commack North and Commack South. I became a member of Commack South High School's first graduating class in 1970.
Bob Costas, who went on to become a famous sports announcer, entertained me during science class, repeating the Johnny Carson monologues from the evening before. He does have a tremendous memory!
College began with Suffolk Community and finished with Stony Brook University (including a master's degree). I graduated in 1974, got married three weeks later and moved to Center Moriches.
My search for a teaching job began with many days of substituting. I finally secured a position in the tiny district of Eastport in 1977. The entire district was housed in one school -- kindergarten through 12th grade. As time went by, the district grew greatly and eventually, merged with South Manor in 2003.
After a long, rewarding, 33-year career, I retired in 2009 from what I always knew and loved about Long Island: its great schools!
Deborah Felten Cannarelli,
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