Unsung Bay Ridge: Childhood memories


Merry Christmas to all of my readers. During this time of year, I reflect on so many memories of my childhood Christmases, and I thought it would be an honor for me to shine the spotlight on the Sisters of Notre Dame, who served at St. Anselm’s School for decades.

These sisters gave my siblings and me a spiritual foundation about the true meaning of Christmas. It was giving and sharing whatever we had, instead of the commercial aspect of the season.

I think fondly of Sister Meletia, who served the school the longest, and had the school hall named in her honor. I think fondly of Sister Mary Ellen, Sister Rosalie, Sister Dunston and all the other sisters who dedicated their lives to the well-being of children.

Our beloved principal was Sister Mary Valentine, who was a true mother to all of us. During the latter years of her life, she was very ill, and I had the privilege of transporting Sister Valentine to their retirement home in Connecticut.

Myles Davis and I traveled with her in the BRAVO vehicle, while she said the rosary as I held her hand. I am so thankful that we still have Sister Marge Forsyth of the same order still serving our community. I wish those Notre Dame Sisters a “Merry Christmas” in heaven. They truly made a difference in my life.


A special holiday “Thank You” to Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, who no longer serves at St. Patrick’s in Bay Ridge, but that did not stop him from answering the call to help make the Fort Hamilton Christmas Party for children a memorable and successful one. Monsignor Jamie helped the effort by soliciting food from some of our biggest restaurant donors. They responded generously and we had plenty to make the party a big success.

A special holiday “Thank You” as well to Nino Russo, of Gargiulo’s Restaurant, who took time off from celebrating his restaurant’s 50th anniversary, to go over and above our request for food to feed hundreds of families at the Fort Hamilton Christmas Party.

Nino called many of his other restaurateur friends and independently solicited donations of food and baked goods. He picked up theirs as well as making a special large cake in the shape of a tank. It was a masterpiece.

There were so many generous restaurants that I have decided to mention the exceptional donors in future columns. Thanks to every one of them.

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