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Your question is very important to me. I left Staten Island because I took it all for granted and expected that the life I made for myself would be better. I knew that I would be giving up a network of friends and the familiarity of a community that I watched grow around me but whatever was driving me was stronger.

Now, I live in a community that is more provincial than the one I left and I can see the strength and endurance of my colleagues who have many generations of family living within a few miles of each other. I envy the very thing that they take for granted.

It is difficult to always be someone new, even while living in my transplanted location for over 20 years. I suppose that is why being able to say I was born at Staten Island Hospital, grew up in Westerleigh, attended Immanuel Union church, and graduated from PS30, Port Richmond High School and Wagner College gives me so much pleasure. Those are real roots and folks who I may have been too preoccupied to know when I lived there are important to me now. They are important because they share the same experience legacy that I have and only they can understand exactly what I mean when I talk about it.

It took me a while to finally grow up. The event of growing up taught me that everyone you meet is valuable and knowing about their life, family and interests is just as important as is knowing your own.

Life on this earth can get awfully lonely when the only person you see is yourself in the mirror. This is especially so when that is all you see even when surrounded by people. That is why I am proud to call myself a StatNislander. I am no longer a person I invented, I am a real person with roots on StatNisland and a real love for all the gifts of that experience.

Who else but StatNislanders have the choice of experiencing big city sophistication, small town provincialism, rural wildness and suburbia all at once. At no time are you perminantly locked into any one of those choices as you would be if you lived where I do now.


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