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What’s In A Name?

If this column is confusing it means you haven’t lived in Oyster Bay for very long. It mentions several men, whose last name is Robinson: Rick, Tom and James, none of whom are related. It doesn’t mention two more Robinsons: Ed Robinson, Esq. who grew up in Oyster Bay and was the OB-EN School attorney, and his son Chris Robinson, an engineer who attended St. Dominics.

Additionally, the next three are Oyster Bay High School graduates: Rick Robinson is white and came to Oyster Bay from LaGrange, Indiana. Tom Robinson is the only black man and James Robinson who grew up in East Norwich.

So here is the story: Rick Robinson called to congratulate me on my retirement. We met recently at the Tom Robinson Tournament in OBHS. Rick said he worked for a time as an assistant coach with Tom. He said, “It was a lot of fun. When a student came into the office and asked for Coach Robinson, we would say, ‘Which one?’”

Coach Tom Robinson was a dear man I got to know through Robbie Hallock’s salesman Don Jarvis at Hallock Chevrolet. At the time I was selling automotive ads for Anton newspapers. (Don is the brother of East Norwich Fire Department ex-Chief Jake Jarvis). He is now a golf pro, the last time I heard at Deepdale Country Club. Donny was friends with Tommy and he would tell me about how the basketball team was doing which helped me write stories about the Baymen.

One of my favorite photos in the newspaper was of Tommy at the end of a championship game in Westbury. I got a shot of him, ecstatic, as the team won a championship at Westbury High School.

The photo was a little blurry but it had such emotion it was great.

His untimely death still saddens me, even today.

He is well remembered in the community. His friend Butch Garrison, another OBHS graduate, who went on to be a football coach at Nassau Community College for many years, helped with the dedication of the free basketball courts at the Roosevelt School in honor of Coach Robinson. The lovely red and gold plaques have a bio of Tom on the back, said Mr. Garrison. (Note the photograph.)

We met James Robinson who is currently on the OB-EN board of education, shopping at Stop & Shop before Christmas. He was at the Tom Robinson Tournament too. He said, “Tom Robinson was a coach and teacher of mine when I went through the school.” His son Dylan was playing in the game. He has just been recruited to play baseball at Courtland. His older son Jake is at Oneonta and playing baseball. His wife Mary was also at the game.

James said being on the school board is a great learning experience.

The same comment about the board of education was made by James Smiros, when he left the position. He said he learned a great deal from Dr. Phyllis Harrington whom he admired, and from the whole experience of serving on the board.

Bringing this small chat with you full circle, and back to Rick Robinson, you will remember that he retired from writing a sports column for the Oyster Bay Guardian for about 25 years and he said to me, “after a week you will forget what is it like to live for deadlines.”

Strangely or maybe not so strangely, I am still writing a story a week for the Enterprise Pilot, and I still have to deal with deadlines, but editor Jill Nossa does all the worrying for me.

Again, speaking of retirement, I received an email from my cousin Harold Anderson who lives in Quito, Ecuador with his wife Toa. He said, “Make a bucket list.

“Buy a bucket,

“Look around the house and yard and whatever — to see what has to be done.

“Get a small pad, write down those things separately, and drop in the bucket.

“When you feel ambitious, pick out a chore from the bucket AND DO IT.  DON’T PUT IT OFF.  You can’t dip in twice.

“End of my helpful suggestion.”

FYI: I still have to buy the bucket.