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Tomorrow Is Now

The last book that Eleanor Roosevelt wrote before her death in 1962 was “Tomorrow is Now.” Eleanor believed that our actions today help create the world of the future. An early September walk around the Southern Cayuga Central School campus began a series of conversations that illuminated how our community’s future is being built. Superintendent Patrick Jensen shared a stunning photo of the new roof of the Southern Cayuga Planetarium. “You should talk to Bob Parker, the Founder and President of J&B Installations, Inc. They donated nearly one hundred thousand dollars to restore this roof.”  
As I drove the thirty miles from the school to J&B Installations, Inc. in Skaneateles Falls, I thought about my conversation with John Ashby, the J&B crew foreman. He was working on final roof touches in the 90 degree heat and humidity, “We all are so proud of this project. I hope you meet Tony Cavallaro at the office. He was one of the three men who first donated their time to do the initial, short-term roof repair. They kept the water out until the plans were finalized.”
I was delighted when Tony Cavallaro met me and escorted me to Bob Parker’s office. As we began to talk, I noticed how the men always referred to their employees’ pride in the project. Many employees had grown up in the area, and had shared Bob’s experience of visiting the Southern Cayuga Planetarium after it opened in 1968. Bob explained, “We were all part of a generation of kids who were inspired by our field trips to the Southern Cayuga Planetarium. We want the next generation to have the same experience. I still remember the feeling of awe at the show. It was so special to be out of the classroom and seeing the stars so close.”
Tony Cavallaro continued, “We want to remind people to look up. We can become set in our ways and miss what is around us. There is something about looking at the stars that relieves stress and shows us the endless possibilities that exist in our universe.”
Bob Parker smiled, “Those stars help us get around as well. I remember one of our older friends, Bud. He was World War II Navy and knew all the constellations. He could navigate by the stars--you were never lost with Bud around.  As a businessman, I appreciate this project’s potential to attract folks from around the state and become a center of learning and inspiration. I imagine those limos lining up outside the Planetarium as one of the stops on the wine and bird-watching tours.”
I left J&B and headed back to the school to meet Lili MacCormick.  Like the men at J&B, Lili has lived in the community for decadess.  She volunteers for the Emily Howland Got Book reading program. “I love my contact with the children. In the four years I have been with Got Book, I have seen children who could barely sit still to read their beginning books transform into readers who are sitting with a chapter book that they can’t put down. I loved reading as a child and hope that this is a gift I can give to today’s children.”
Lili recalled her fond memories of walking to the public library as a child and was delighted that many children could walk to their local libraries as well as use the excellent school libraries. “I love that we are able to work one on one with the children in Got Book. We are able to see the child’s progress and thank them for their hard work. We are able to laugh at the funny parts in the books we share and learn together as we read about animals, machines and other topics in the child’s book.”  Lili smiled, “One of my favorite Got Book experiences was getting a note on a child’s reading log. ‘Dear Mrs. MacCornmick, thank you for reading with David. You were my art teacher when I was David’s age. I told him how much fun you and I had way back then.’”
Lili and the J&B team want us to look up at the stars and down at the pages of a favorite book. As I returned home, I opened the last page of Eleanor Roosevelt’s book. “This I know. This I believe with all my heart. If we want a free and peaceful world, if we want to make the deserts bloom,  and man grow to greater dignity as a human being----WE CAN DO IT!”
Elaine Meyers, of King Ferry, is a member of the boards of the King Ferry Food Pantry and ABC Cayuga, as well as Anne Frank Tree Project and Southern Cayuga Garden Club. She coordinates a literacy support program at Southern Cayuga Central School.

Tomorrow Is Now
By Elaine Meyers
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Patrick Jensen, Superintendent
2384 State Route 34B
Aurora, NY 13026