“Every individual has a place to fill in the world, and is important in some respect, whether he chooses to be so or not.” – Hawthorne

In the last issue of the Juniper Berry, I wrote about how Mr. Berner had fallen in his home, sustained a hip fracture, and was hospitalized at New York Hospital, Queens for surgical repair of the fracture. At publication time, he was awaiting transfer to Dry Harbor Nursing Facility for rehabilitation.

Carl spent approximately one month at Dry Harbor and assiduously complied with his therapy program. The staff at Dry Harbor was incredulous that Mr. Berner was looking forward to celebrating his 104th birthday in January, 2006. His daughter, Emily and other friends in the community, visited him on a regular basis. On Father’s Day, we found him enjoying a special musical program in the recreation room.

Mr. Berner returned home on July 14th. Initially he was visited twice a week by a Nurse and a Physical Therapist from the Visiting Nurse Association. Eager for recovery, he followed the therapist’s guidance and instructions with care. Neighbors were delighted to see Carl walking, with the aid of a cane, on the sidewalks by their homes. Then it was reported that he was seen doing some gardening in his back yard.

On August 24, Mr. Berner walked from his home on 82nd Street to Juniper Valley Park, with Emily by his side. The weather was glorious, but Carl’s smile seemed to almost outshine the sun.

Juniper Park Civic Association members join me in welcoming Mr. Berner back to the streets of Middle Village. With his determination, I believe that one day soon, he will indeed be able to walk to Stop and Shop and Home Depot, as was his custom prior to his accident. Paraphrasing Hawthorne, Mr. Berner has an important place in this community, and he chooses to exercise that prerogative on a daily basis.