Memories of Bayside

Margaret Gruen will share her memories of growing up in Bell Park Gardens in Bayside in the 1950's.

"Saved By The World" is the second chronicle from my book, "True Love."

 Before “The Summer of Dappled Leaves," the summer of 2008, for me, there was heart surgery. On Jan. 4, 2008, I surrendered my life and my heart into the hands of 12 good men and women and was “Saved By The World."

In the operating room were a team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, physician’s assistants and nurses of all races, ethnicities, religions and gender orientations. They came by way of white America, Nigeria, Russia, England, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and heart of my hearts, a nurse, who like me, started her journey in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

I think back to my beginnings and to the immigrants who came before me - some good, some scoundrels - as they made their way from within the pale from Kiev, Cracow, Berlin, Prague, Copenhagen, Warsaw, through the portals of Ellis Island and eventually to the borough of Queens, pleasant and homogeneous in the 1950s and now the most ethnically diverse parcel of land on the planet - vibrant and explosively alive with all races, all ethnicities, all religions and gender orientations. Strivers and seekers too – just like my predecessors - and I think to myself, life has come full circle.

Afghanis of Fresh Meadows, Bukharans of Rego Park, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens, East Indians, Pakistanis, Ecuadorians and Columbians of Jackson Heights, Koreans and Japanese of Bayside, Chinese of Flushing, Thais of Woodside – the list is fabulous – on and on it goes, unabated and ever-changing as the landscape of the world shifts - and as our doors open to them - so too my heart opened to them and was “Saved By The World”.

To those who came before me, to those who are striving now, in Queens and elsewhere and to my surgeons and that team of glorious men and women … I embrace you …

With love, always …






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