Around the Island

Friday Night Dialogues: Holiday tales shared

COURTESY PHOTO | Mollie Numark as a dancer with the Blackpool Tower Chiildren's Ballet
COURTESY PHOTO | Mollie Numark as a dancer with the Blackpool Tower Children’s Ballet

A panel of four interesting Shelter Islanders will speak about their holiday memories — some spent in far flung places and others closer to home. The panelists for the special holiday session of Friday Night Dialogues are Christina Cunningham, Roger McKeon, Mollie Numark, and Angela Van Rynbach. 

Ms. Cunningham began life as Christina Kalashnikov and was raised in a Russian Orthodox household. Her grandfather fought on the Czarist side (White Army) in the Russian Civil War, was captured, escaped, and found his way to the United States by way of Canada. Christina, who moved to Shelter Island in 1998, has been active in the Historical Society, Garden Club and Union Chapel.

Roger McKeon, who worked as a translator at the United Nations, was born in Paris. His family moved to Frankfurt, Morocco, the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), and then back and forth between France and Mexico. He came to New York in 1974.

Mollie Numark, a native of Blackpool, England says her earliest memories of Christmas were during the Great Depression and World War II. Festivities passed down from the time of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” included a flaming plum pudding, party games, and a fun time for all. As a child, she began dance lessons which led to her dancing in a local ballet. From there her show business career bloomed, eventually continuing in America during the 1950s.

Angela Van Rynbach has lived on the Island since she retired from the U.N. World Food Program in 2009 where she served for over 30 years. Another world traveler, Angela has visited Kenya, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Mozambique to name a few destinations. She say her work was, “very rewarding, particularly working with women, school children and families affected with AIDS.” Angela keeps busy on the Island with local political and community activities including the Garden Club.

Library Director Terry Lucas will moderate the discussion which takes place Friday, December 8 at 7 p.m. in the lower level community room.

Seasonal refreshments will be served and all are welcome to stay after the panel discussion to share their own holiday memories. There is no charge for this event but donations are always welcome.

Up next: On Friday, January 5, 2018 at 7 p.m. Jeremy Samuelson, director of Mashomack Preserve, will give a talk about coastal resiliency.