Mansion memories stay strong
To the Editor:
I was taking a stroll through memory lane, online of course, and I came upon the Herald article, “East Rockaway mansion dating back to the 1800s to be razed” (Dec. 5-11, 2019). It broke my heart to think that this once lovely house was being destroyed, especially since I lived there for a brief moment in time from 1980 to 1982.
I was a young bride-to-be and my soon-to-be husband was enamored of this house. I was told that the owners, the Ruggianos, had lived there with Mrs. Ruggiano’s sister and her family. Her sister’s family lived upstairs (where I was going to rent), until their son Ricky died in a car crash down the street.
While we lived there, I always got the creeps when I would have to go up to the top level. There was a door down the hall near that back staircase. You’d go up a couple of steps and that door led to the top floor. I later learned that this is where Ricky hung out with friends. Lots of “odd” events happened while we lived there, and I always suspected the house was haunted, but not in a bad way. My then-husband, Harry Hoppe, and I collected antiques and decorated each room with period pieces; a Victorian sitting room in the front (it had a bright green rug with big pink flowers when we moved in), an art deco bedroom, etc.
I can see every room in my mind as if it were yesterday. The door that led to the apartment, the kitchen to the left, the large sitting room straight ahead, the hallway to the right, where the master bedroom was on the left, another room (rounded walls) on the right, a strange little closet with a toilet in it — your knees would just about hit the door if you sat on the toilet. Another room at the end of the hall, and then the hall turned left where the bathroom was and the back staircase. It was such a beautiful home, and the grounds were just magical. I entertained friends and family in our home and in the spacious yard quite often, and everyone would say that this was a special place.
I loved living in that house, and I loved walking down the street to the Centre Avenue train station, getting coffee and a muffin at the corner shop and relaxing on the Long Island Rail Road on my way to work in Manhattan. I’m so glad I came upon this article. I’m saving it to show my grandchildren when they are a little older. My heart is still so sad that they could not preserve this special home.
I’m living in Boise, Idaho now, far away from Long Island, but you know what they say, “You can take the girl out of Long Island, but you can’t take Long Island out of the girl.” People even still comment on my accent!
Rosalie Jovanna, Formerly of East Rockaway, now living in Boise, Idaho