Victoria’s Diary: To be or not to be!

My grandchildren had a blast in the pool!

To be or not to be — that is the question I’ve been thinking since my family vacation. The question is for everyone to be phone free during our trip, or is it too much to ask?

Our annual getaway with all my children and grandchildren is the delight of my life, but there’s another party in the room that I didn’t invite and that’s everybody’s tech tools.

From 14-year-old Blake down to 8-year-old Hudson, they’re all “connected.” It was a sight to behold seeing all of them on their devices and even the smallest, 5-year-old Sloane, was part of it. When I suggested to my daughter we have a device-free vacations in the future, she was incensed, suggesting I must be crazy! “This is their way to relax,” she boldly told me.

Shiro’s of Japan in Westbury prepared a hibachi and sushi dinner for us in our rented backyard.

I know my own needs to keep my phone near me. What is it about our fear to be detached?

One place where we were all detached from the world was in the pool. For hours and hours, all six kids frolicked and rocked! There were races under water and even the littlest Sloane gained the skill and stamina to swim the width of the pool like a fish. I don’t know who was prouder, her or me.

As a working mom I cherished mixing fun with work. The house I rented for our getaway was in Westhampton Beach, the first stop on Sunrise Highway and the gateway to the greatest beaches in the world in “The Hamptons.”

Josh with Hudson and Sloane at the beach.

My son Josh and I are devoted to community journalism and an opportunity came our way to acquire the iconic 61-year-old community weekly Dan’s Papers! It is a jewel of a media company that we expect to steer through the pandemic we are all battling.

My love of neighborhood news began in my Bayside living room 35 years ago and has enabled me to meet extraordinary people. I look forward to meeting Dan’s creator Dan Rattiner and as I say hello to him, I say goodbye to another wonderful, feisty and passionate publisher, Maureen Walters.

She was the brains behind the Ridgewood Times and Times Newsweekly for decades and was a tireless fighter for her community. She adored her son Johnny who worked beside her and when he passed, she decided to pass on her other love: her newspapers.

I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to serve, with my son, the proud communities of Ridgewood, Maspeth, Glendale and Middle Village. Maureen passed away at the age of 86 but was a teenager at heart. Her whole life was devoted to faithfully serving the communities she adored. She may be gone, but she will never be forgotten. May she rest in peace.

On Thursday night, Sept. 3, we said goodbye to another great lady: Claire Shulman, the Queen of Queens. We hosted a Zoom celebration of her life between and QPTV streamed the tributes of dozens of people whose lives Claire touched. 

For those who couldn’t tune in live, the program was be recorded and is available to stream online.

On the Tuesday before she died, the last day I visited her, I brought her a copy of Dan’s Papers and told her I will be acquiring it. She touched its silky cover and gave me a little smile even though she was not able to speak. 

I miss not having her to share my life with. There is a hole in my heart that I know will be there forever, for I miss her so…

Celebrating Blake: My grandson Blake Sohmer received a belated award from his middle school graduation for his superb leadership.

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