My husband, Azie, and I moved to our Plandome Heights home, sold to us by the beloved (now deceased) Patti McConville, in 1998. She counseled us, held our hands, as we were a young couple and very nervous first-time home buyers. She said that we would get no sleep that night. We would worry about whether we should make an offer that was larger than we had anticipated. And she told us that she knew it because she and husband Bernie had done the same thing 25 years earlier for her family’s own home in Strathmore.
Since then, we have been nothing but happy living amongst some wonderful neighbors and even had the honor of serving our village in various capacities for eight of our 23 years. Bicycling to the LIRR in good weather, when my legs could still do it, made the daily New York City trip tolerable enough to enjoy careers that enabled us to pay for the very mortgage we feared earlier.
Manhasset has offered blessings in so many ways indeed. Jamie Mazzei, Creative Director for nuBest salon and spa, is another. I always went to Jamie before an important meeting or speech. Thusly, his talent helped shape my career even as he shaped my crown. On March 11, 2020, Jamie cut my hair for the last time before the COVID-19 pandemic. I would not realize it until Friday April 23, 2021, two months after receiving my second COVID-19 vaccination, when I finally walked back into the salon again. Those 13 months — with daily bad hair days and the deepening depression that are among COVID’s legacy — were numbingly challenging. I didn’t truly see how bad it was until Jamie literally cut, cut, cut and I could see without hair in my eyes. Yes, I actually recognized the woman in the mirror. It was like meeting an old friend.
“There she is”, exclaimed Jamie. I smiled from ear to ear with tears — not hair — in my eyes.
I realized then that a skilled stylist such as Jamie Mazzei was indeed a combination of cheerleader, therapist, creative director and yet another Manhasset blessing.
Looking forward to hiking stunning Acadia National Park and my family’s next chapter in our new home in Maine, we can only hope that the blessings and the people there are half as wonderful as in Manhasset.
The author Diana Merenda is a 9/11 and cancer survivor, served the Village of Plandome Heights for eight years including two terms as mayor and part of a team of volunteers responsible for what is now the Plandome Heights Preserve.