Oysterponds: OHS to host first-ever Kids Day program July 30

Summer is always a magical time when people gather from all over the country to reunite with family or classmates. In Oysterponds, it’s even more special since many of the folks who gather grew up here or summered in what the world considers one of the most beautiful places on earth.
On July 16, there were a lot of Terrys, Strohmeyers and Rowes sharing memories at Poquatuck Hall and solidifying where they fit in the family tree.
This week, Don and Mina VanCleef had 12 gathered around their Skipper’s Lane dinner table and barbecue grill. Daughter Elizabeth and husband, Mike Lauber, and granddaughters Ana and Alina drove in from Ohio, as did son Jim, his bride, Jacquie, and grandson Lucas. Son Bob, with Trish and granddaughter Helen Marie in tow, ferried over from Rhode Island. The family all missed son/brother/uncle Tom and canine cousins Scout, Finnerty, Bonomo and Mousto, who remained in Ohio to stay out of the heat. Alex and Elissa Lauber were also missed, since being a grown-up is often tough when it means passing up vacations. Rumor has it that the family had a wonderful time and enjoyed a lot of well-deserved downtime.
OHS is holding its first Kids Day program — “What’s Wampum?” — this Saturday, July 30, 10 a.m. to noon. The program is for children 7 to 12 and costs $2. Call 323-2480 to sign up or get details.
Speaking of OHS, on Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. there will be a preview of the completed “chairs” that will be auctioned at the summer benefit on Aug. 6. At the same time the “junior historians” will hold a bake sale, so bring your wallet and your sweet tooth.
East Marioneer Dave Cervone had one of those milestone birthdays last week and his family celebrated with him in their usual custom — with lots of great food, good cheer and tributes. The best tribute came out of Dave’s wish for no gifts, rather a donation in his name to the St. Agnes homeless shelter John’s Place, a spot where you will find Dave and his bride Barbara most Tuesday nights from November to April. He has been dedicated to that effort from Day One. That is so Dave. We all wish him much happiness in his new decade and are grateful for his past contributions to our community.
Speaking of John’s Place, Orient Congregational Church’s new outdoor ecumenical worship service on Sundays at 8 a.m. has been gathering momentum. The offering benefits OCC’s effort to support the shelter and house the overflow on the most frigid winter nights.
Speaking of OCC, news of the passing July 11 of Walt Hawkins (husband of Ellie) reached me this weekend. Ellie was the church organist for a period and Walt was the smiling face who toted her music, helped prepare for the service and was her No. 1 fan. We all send our sympathy to Ellie on her loss.
Many of you will remember a very wise East Marioneer, Phyllis Garbe, who had a big impact on our community from the wee ones up. She rose to the challenge of being OCC playschool’s first director after St. Peter’s preschool closed in 1989. Sympathy to all. She was a very special lady. For her obituary, see To leave your memories of her for her loved ones, visit