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Neighbor to Neighbor: Laurelton businesses bid farewell to friend

June seems to be racing out of control. Here it is nearing July, with half of 2002 already part of history, along with the many graduations and weddings taking place in this month that is traditional for those occasions. We congratulate all the happy celebrants and wish them “to live happily ever after.”

As the saying goes, however, those of us who have had a friendly relationship with most of the people in our business community have discovered that “a little rain has fallen into our lives.” Willie Young, who has been a valued Laurelton merchant for a couple of decades, died a few weeks ago.

Young was a tall, strong-looking gentleman who never seemed to age in all the years he was here. He often stood outside Young’s Florist, at 288-15 Merrick Blvd., with the long, gold chain he wore around his neck, gleaming especially brightly on sunny days. We always spoke, even if it was only a quick, “Hi! How is everything?”

I, like a number of others, had spoken to him a day or so before he had felt ill, decided to go to the hospital for a checkup and had a heart attack on the way. His family did not make any announcement, so many in the community were shocked when they found out; it seems appropriate to let the rest of the public know so that any who wish may say a special prayer in his memory.

His staff still is there to serve the needs of the community and others, for those beautiful wedding and graduation events, for the “I love you” bouquets and, yes, for the funeral pieces as well. If you care to speak to anyone there, the number is 1-888-978-6819. They especially miss him because “family” really extends beyond one’s household doors.

We all will miss Willie Young. In spite of that very sad note, our community activities must go on. In fact, several weeks ago The Local Development Corporation of Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens, (LDC/LRS), began an ambitious anti-graffiti program for the three communities in its service area. The day this project was initiated it was sunny and dry, perfect for painting.

We had arranged with 105th Precinct Youth Officer Shirley Kirkland to bring a large contingent of helpers from Post 2105 Law Explorers, as well as some other adults. State Assemblyman William Scarborough, whose idea it was to form the LDC/LRS to improve these three communities, arrived as scheduled with Jack Tenneyson, to see and thank participants.

A bit later, City Councilman Leroy Comrie stopped by to say “hello” and to tell us he also appreciated our good work. We were thankful for their compliments! Everyone worked hard painting store gates and walls at that site, while at St. Plus X, Boy Scouts from Troop 556 were busy with other adult volunteers, painting that very large fence that loops around the school.

A couple of weeks later, youths and adults participated in “Join Hands Day,” which is a program sponsored by America’s Fraternal Benefit Societies in partnership with The Points of Light Foundation. Our goal was to clean up Laurelton Park, on Brookville Boulevard in Rosedale. It had rained the night before and still was threatening to continue.

Luckily for us the rain had made the ground soft enough to easily pull the weeds, and before we stopped for lunch the sun had begun to show us our work again was appreciated. It is a big job, not quite completed, but a big dent was made — preapproved by the Department of Parks and Recreation, of course.

At the end of our work, during lunch, we were given questionnaires to find out how well the generations worked together. One question asked adults, “Did you learn that young people can be responsible?” Another asked, “Did you learn that young people can work well?” These quotes are not word for word, but similarly, left some responding that some adults always have recognized in some young people such good qualities as being responsible and working well; one need not discover that by working on any one project.

We appreciate all of those young people all the time and only wish there might be some miraculous change in some others so they could be applauded as well!

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