BloggersDavid Reich-Hale Denise M. Bonilla Sophia Chang Tara Conry Carl Corry Erin Geismar Scott Eidler Mackenzie Issler Carl MacGowan Deborah S. Morris Ted Phillips Candice Ruud Nicholas Spangler Joshua Stewart
People of Ronkonkoma: Dale Spencer
As part of this week's Town Focus: Ronkonkoma series, Erin Geismar will be conducting quick interviews of everyone from community leaders to people on the street.
Occupation: Curator, Lake Ronkonkoma Historical Society Museum
How long have you lived in Ronkonkoma? I’ve lived here since 1979; I’m one of the new people in town. A lot of people laugh about that because I didn’t grow up here, so I’m new to them. But I started coming here when I was 7 to swim.
Where did you grow up? I lived in Brentwood after moving out from the city.
So why did you end up coming to live here? When I was a kid and I would come to swim with my mom, I really fell in love with the town and with its history. So when I was ready to move out, I got a house here with some friends, and I really don’t ever want to not be here.
So what made you fall in love with the place? It’s hard to say only one thing. The lake is a good start. And it has always had a country feel to it even though it’s in the middle of the suburbs. It’s not a really high-class town, it’s normal middle-class, which makes it comfortable to be here. And the people of Ronkonkoma are just really good people; I think that’s what it is. I’ve also always loved history, and there’s so much of it here. I could study the history of Ronkonkoma for a lifetime.
How did you become the curator for the museum? I saw there was an opening for the job. I was friends with everyone there, I had been volunteering and doing a lot of research here, so I applied. That was in November of 2010.
Do you have a background in historical studies? No, no background. I was a manager at a lot of different corporations, so mostly my background is in business. History was always more my hobby, something I had been pursuing all my life.
How would you define the character of the community? I think it’s the people. They are just a good, down-to-earth group of people that have a lot of pride – though that’s not so obvious if you don’t talk to them about it. And the lake adds a lot to it.