A Deeper Trip Down Memory Lane


 Thank you to The Rockaway Times for publishing the photo of the St. Francis de Sales Tyros Basketball team as a follow up to the friendship article about John Roberts and Dee McClean.

My sister, Mary Ellen, sent the photo to me and it immediately began a rewind of decades-old memories of my many friendships on that team, and the very important part of my formation.

 I then read the articles online and more joy unfolded.

When I left Rockaway for California to begin my Navy service after graduating from Holy Cross in 1969, I took the values of my upbringing in Rockaway with me, Family, Faith. Friends, Community. When my wife, Scotty (Ridgewood, Queens) and I married in Feb. 1970, she brought those same values as someone who spent countless days in Rockaway, developing her own friendships, and being immersed in those values, that mirrored those of her family.

My Rockaway roots have been and will always be foundational. The opportunity to relive those friendships of my youth, the importance of them to who I am, and their alignment with the importance of my entire Blum family, my St. Francis De Sales nourished Faith, and strong belief and commitment to serve my Community, is a gift beyond description.

When I was getting out of the Navy in 1972, I told my parents that Scotty and I, and at the time our two daughters, would like to temporarily move back with them until I got a job. My Dad said it would be fine, but he suggested looking for work “out there” first, as we could always move back to Rockaway. I felt OK with that, in part because I knew my “Home” would always be Rockaway Beach. And after 51 years “out there,” it still is. And over those years our entire family, five daughters and husbands, and 10 grandchildren, have made frequent visits “home,” and have likewise found the alignment of values.

I’ve included a picture from the summer of 1979 with John Roberts, Joe Gilbert, Margie and Dee McClean, and Eileen Gilbert at a gathering we tried to have whenever our family made a trip “Home” from CA. Although these occasions diminished over the years, the fondness of these memories has not.

By Frank Blum