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Saturday, April 11, 2020--COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, has caused widespread lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders since March 12 in the New York City area. I traveled via JetBlue, Chicago's Blue Line, and Greyhound to Milwaukee, WI, to see our newest granddaughter (photo from Mar 5 of Emmeline with her two foster brothers is 11th in the row at left) ... and am still here in Milwaukee. I likely will not return to Hempstead, Long Island, before April 30. I am teaching by Zoom and Blackboard. When this will end, we don't know, but we DO know enough to shelter in place until the first wave has passed, and act with extreme caution including social distancing afterward.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, I led Nurse Marilyn Kitt and 8 Long Island University nursing students on a historical tour of central Hempstead, They are completing a community study of Hempstead Village compared with Garden City. At Village Hall, Mayor Don Ryan took over, with a half hour's give-and-take between him and the class. Then Officer Holley (left) and Officer Williams (right) gave the class and me a one-hour tour of the police facilities. An excellent trip.

ALSO: On Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, at the invitation of Valley Stream Historical Society Vice President Billy Florio, I gave a one-hour talk titled "Ten HempsteadsPresidents and Mayors in Times of Great Change." The audience was composed of history buffs who asked excellent questions and, even more, added a lot to my own deep knowledge of Hempstead.

The Hempstead Beacon is publishing some short articles of mine. It is my dream to write and publish about Hempstead, New York. My Arcadia history book was published March 19, 2018; I wrote the Mayors Display, which is still on the walls of the Hempstead Village Hall courtroom as of Sept. 29, 2018; writing short articles for the Hempstead Beacon is one more step. Thank you, Hempstead Beacon!

(I do not know why the website refuses to publish the photo right side up instead of sideways.)

On February 22, 2019, my brother-in-law Dav4id Maruna passed away suddenly from a chest infection that went septic. He is pictured at left with his two adopted sons, Joshua (middle) and Timothy (right). On March 17, I flew to Orlando for Dav4id's

memorial service. (He is the fourth generation of the second son born to a second son; hence in his humorous way, he inserted the 4 into his name.) Also this month, my mother Ellen Duell turned 90, our daughter Marigold defended her PhD thesis, our son Ariel performed at an Ultimate Jam event in Manhattan, our son Ian premiered a central in a major new ballet with Ballet Austin, and our son Justin took a week's vacation in Oahu with his wife . . . AND I have been striving to finish my novel, The Day America Turned Black. More on that later!

February 12, 2019 -- Justice may be breaking for unjustly jailed dark-skinned men at last!!

January 25, 2019 -- view my latest blog about education versus marketability in the category "Joining the Battle Against Racism."

December 5, 2018 -- Inside historic Hempstead Village Hall, I listened to 40 children from Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School sing three selections for the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony (Mayor Don Ryan presiding). Not only were the children's voices on pitch, but I could understand every word. The family feeling among the parents, students, village administration, and attending villagers made me once again proud to claim Hempstead Village as my home.

Sept. 29, 2018 -- My son Ariel Bethany came to see the fine historical display of Hempstead's mayors and presidents going back to 1853. I supplied the many hours of research and writing; Jenise Richardson, publicity director for the Mayor's Office of the Village of Hempstead, supplied the design. See my blog.

8.25.18 At left is the May 1852 notice of the intention of the villagers in the village known as Hempstead, in the Town of Hempstead, to incorporate with the village name to be simply "Hempstead." (It re-incorporated in 1895 as The Village of Hempstead.) I have spent about 20 hours this week just poring over the minutes of the Hempstead Village Board of Trustees meetings, determining who was actually president of the village and when. The village leader started to be called "Mayor" in 1927.

7..30.18 I love my church, which is St. George's Episcopal Church, 319 Front Street, Hempstead, NY. I spent much of this past month working on a grant application to New State's Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. If we get the grant, it will help pay for the historic preservation part of repainting and repairing St. George's exterior -- the white part visible beyond the gate posts, which is the St. George's sanctuary and is 196 years old. This church building is the oldest still-extant worship space in Nassau County and the second-oldest congregation on Long Island. Preserving its historicity will help to preserve the picturesque beauty that once characterized Hempstead throughout.

7.2.18 I stand with young Rosario Casco, whose Christmas 2017 request that he not receive presents, but give them to hospitalized children, sparked his parents to start Rosario's Giving Tree charity. I was honored for writing "Hempstead Village" as a service to my village.

6.24.18 At the left is a poster for a charity event that I will be attending tomorrow night and at which I will be an honoree -- with two amazing people, Ray Negron and Rhonda Klch.

6.3.18 Whew! Busy time. Since April 28, I have given four more historical tours to Village of Hempstead fifth-grade schoolchildren. This selfie with two of the students shows the mural on the wall of Hempstead Village Hall Courtroom. The mural commemorates the land purchase agreement made on December 13, 1643, between Tackapousha of the Massapequa indigenous American group, leader of that and several other groups, and John Carman and Robert Fordham.

4.28.18 I have given four Hempstead Village historical tours this week: a one-hour bus trip for local seniors, a three-hour trip with 24 enthusiastic fifth graders from Barack Obama Elementary School, and two walking tours today (April 28). More tours to come! It's so much fun!

4.20.18 My book, Hempstead Village, was released from Arcadia Publishing on March 19, 2018. Forthwith some pictures of the March 27 books signing held in Hempstead Village Hall as part of the villages monthly 375th anniversary events. The photo at left shows me standing with Mayor Don Ryan on the left and former mayor Wayne J. Hall, Sr., on the right. The image below it, left to right, depicts the panelists invited to contribute their longtime expertise to the overall occasion: Lael von Elm, Superintendent of Alarms for Hempstead Village; George Siberon, head of the Hempstead Hispanic Civic Association; Mayor Don Ryan, who taught business at Hempstead High School for thirty years and coached youth athletic leagues for fifty years; and Hildyne Bowens, former village historian and lifetime village resident. The third photo shows a pan of the audience, including my mother, Ellen Duell, in the front row with silver hair and a brown dress. Next to her is my longtime friend and neighbor, Anne Washington.

12.27.17 Whew!!! I have weathered a desperately busy teaching semester at New York Institute of Technology, with service in the Writing Center at Nassau Community College. Long copyediting projects added to the workload. So did two periods of revising Hempstead Village, my history book -- during the last week of November and the second week of December. Since mid-September, I have also delivered four presentations about the upcoming book at a meeting of my civic association, the general meeting of the Village of Hempstead Board of Trustees, the Hempstead Historical Society, and St. George's Episcopal Church of Hempstead. Now that Christmas has delightfully transpired, I will schedule more presentations AND recruit historians and librarians of Long Island to help with historical tours of Hempstead during April 2018.

9.22.17 The FINAL final version of images and captions was turned in today. Though on 9.13.17 I felt I had completed the work, I needed another grace period to recheck some items that left me uncertain. The production editor, Liz Gurley, gave me one more grace period and I now feel satisfied that the book is absolutely as accurate as I can make it, the images are the best possible for the purpose, and my part in writing, finding images, and getting the images in the right format is FINISHED.

9.13.17 I am deliriously delighted to say that I turned in the images and captions plus the foreword, acknowledgments, and introduction to Arcadia Publishing-- the whole book is done! There will be tweaking, but it is DONE. Tonight I gave a talk about it to my civic association, receiving a warm response from the friends and neighbors whose opinion I care about most. I feel pleased, proud, and ready for more Hempstead history projects!

8.28.17 Nearing the deadline for turning in all materials of Hempstead Village, my history of the Village of Hempstead for Arcadia Publishing! The book will be in bookstores in mid-February.

5.29.17 To view a Newsday article by journalist Stefanie Dazio about my having been hired as village historian, go to


5.28.17: Participated in the Hempstead Village Memorial Day ceremony at Greenfield Cemetery, and an hour later, in the subsequent parade leading from American Legion Post 390 (housed in 300-year-old Carman-Irish house) back down to Greenfield Cemetery, where many Hempstead ancestors are buried. Village citizens at the curbsides cheered all of the groups as we passed. We stood, we celebrated together, we said, "Here we are -- serving, and on this occasion, uniting for commemoration of the fallen and the living who yet serve." I marched with the Ingraham Estates Civic Association.

As of Tuesday evening, May 2, 2017, I was voted in as Village Historian by the Mayor and the Board of Trustees of the Village of Hempstead. This image shows the seal of the Village of Hempstead, New York. It depicts George Washington, who stayed at the famed Sammis Tavern (shown in the background) during his 1790 west-to-east trip across Long Island. Washington preserved careful notes of his trip that give us our most detailed information about Long Island colonial life. I am writing a history of Hempstead that will be published early in 2018, the 375th anniversary of the founding of the village (which is also the founding of the Town of Hempstead and, indeed, of Nassau County).

Feb. 20, 2017: Today I joined a rally at Central Park West and W. 61st St., Manhattan. Here is a picture of me holding the poster I made using my Lady Liberty Calls a Meeting with Trump cartoon. The rally gave me the satisfaction of publicly yelling out my feelings about Donald Trump's actions before, during, and after the 2016 presidential election.

Feb. 17, 2017: Expressing my feelings toward Donald Trump's immigration stance -- the smaller image is updated from the larger one of 12.30.16 to reflect the change from President-Elect to President. I made a poster of this to use in a demonstration.

The Shu Factor is currently a trilogy, with further books planned. Book One,

War of the Roads, is completely finished -- publisher info to come. Books Two and Three, already written but still in the revision phase, will follow. Below is my design idea for the book's cover. The drawing is mine.

War of the Roads Description

     Tryphena Simon has a bizarre first name. She also has three piercings in each ear, a gold ring in her left eyebrow, a fresh zircon belly bar, and an appointment to get beat into a street gang. What could be bad?

     Okay, her glutinous fourth-grade brother who keeps blurting her secrets – that’s not so good. Her control-freak, octopus-handed father who won’t even get her a smart phone – that’s pretty dark. Her wine-soaked, scorpion-tongued mother – that’s just ugly.

     But so what? Tryph is about to rove new territory with the Marine Avenue Disciples. Her life is all set . . . except that Shu, this generic-looking new guy in the sophomore class, keeps showing up. Not that he’s interested in Tryph. He’s just, like, around. And when he’s around, Tryph finds herself dodging razor-sharp dust clouds on the moon, fleeing predatory motorcyclists in a back alley in Rome, and doing totally uncharacteristic things – like getting an A-minus in English and (even weirder) telling the truth.

     Who on earth is this kid named Shu?