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Neighbor to Neighbor: People really can live together in harmony

It matters not at all to me, the color of your skin

If you show me, at all times, the best you have within.

I don't care one iota, your religion or your race,

If you treat other folks you meet with honesty and grace.

Your height and weight won't matter, your age gives me no care,

If when there is a need for you, your helping hand is there.

Your looks may not be perfect - mine surely are not so,

If we can share a smile or two, you're someone I should know.

Two terrific parties within one week inspired me to write the rhyme above.

The first, held Nov. 12 at Rosedale's American Legion Hall, was run by that community's Lions Club's Joe Albergo, his sister, Millie, and a lot of other helping hands from American Legion Post 483 and the Lions Club.

I have attended other Lions Club fund-raisers to help purchase Seeing Eye dogs, but this one was also commemorating two other special events - Veterans' Day and Helen Charles' birthday, the big 4-0.

A surprise, to be sure! The dining tables, 10 guests at each, were at one end of the dance floor, with Tony Granato playing the keyboard and singing (including a terrific imitation of Sachmo) at the end nearest the stage. His friend, Marie, was the very attractive female vocalist.

One of Rosedale's long-serving veterans, Jim Hunt, commander of that American Legion Post, was presented with an elegant watch for his very devoted service. It was well-deserved. He is also one of the volunteers who helps at the Rosedale Senior Center delivering Meals-on-Wheels to shut-ins. (He's also a terrific dancer!)

The roast beef dinner, delivered by Valley Caterers, could not have been better. After the main course, Helen, who helps serve refreshments after the Rosedale Civic Association meetings, was presented with her surprise birthday cake. She quickly pulled husband, John, onto the dance floor and they whirled around as "Happy birthday, dear Helen" echoed through the hall.

It was a good time, as was Christ Lutheran School's 35th anniversary celebration at The Elks Club in Valley Stream.

Christ Lutheran School, 248th Street at Francis Lewis Boulevard, Rosedale, was founded by the Reverend Norman Dinkel, who, at 32 years of age, became the church's eighth pastor in 1963. After two gears of planning and hard work with groups of dedicated helpers, Christ Lutheran School, Inc. was born.

"In that first year, about one third of the students were from racial minorities," the anniversary journal stated. "Christ Lutheran School has led the way in racial harmony in our community from the beginning."

Students from the school have attended and performed at community functions in such a way that commendations have been well-deserved.

Under the direction of the principal, Associate in Ministry Ila Ruth Winn, the school's chorus performed at the very impressive 35th anniversary celebration. They were terrific! If only some talent scouts would attend these local happenings, they might discover some of the gems we know are here!

Pastor Aubrey N. Bougher, who hosted the celebration, gave a brief version of the history or the school, which was more fully disclosed in the wonderful journal each guest received.

Reading it was like living through all the historical trials, tribulations and successes with them. It, in itself, was a masterpiece that chronicled many important events important not only for the church and school, but for Rosedale and the rest of southeast Queens, where so many different groups make life interesting.

Those of us who participate often in that church's events, although not church members, are always welcomed with open arms as if we were members.

Ms. Winn was installed as principal at the opening service of the school year in 1999, with Pastor Bougher highlighting the anniversary of the school, recounting several aspects of the work done for the school by its founding headmaster, the Rev. Norman S, Dinkel.

The spirit of the late headmaster was certainly with us on Nov. 18, 2000.

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