Where Do You Call Home?

by Judy Anne Capiral 

Where is it?

Ronkonkoma, NY.

Photo by John Paynter

Describe it.

Almost in the middle of Long Island, Ronkonkoma is a small town with great character. Its namesake, the large Lake Ronkonkoma which the town surrounds, is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of Princess Tuskawanta, a Native American Princess who drowned herself in that very lake. The myth is that she fell in love with a young white man, who her father forbade her from marrying and forced her to marry someone else; she killed herself in grief and legend says she calls from the depths of the lake looking for her lost love. Though this is what Ronkonkoma is recognized for on the island and NY itself, the locals call it home for its local businesses, diners and famous bagel places (you’re either a Strathmore or Stacie’s person, there’s no in between). 

What Makes It Home?

I moved to Ronkonkoma in 2011, yet I can still call it home because of the people I’ve come to know and recognize as my life-long friends. I remember feeling extremely lonely before moving to Ronkonkoma, and the prospect of moving a third time in my life wasn’t helping me. But the first day at school, I met my closest friends; thus began the happiest era of my life.

We would go to the movies, the mall; even the parking lot at Taco Bell was always an adventure. Even though we’re all in school now – some of us farther away than others – we always have Ronkonkoma. 

How Do You Get There?

GPS has never failed me before, so please take my directions with a grain of salt. Basically, you take I-87 S forever. Take exit 15 onto NY-17 S/I-287 S toward New Jersey. Yes, somehow, you end up in New Jersey for a bit. Then you take NJ-4E. Then the I-95. Then the Cross Bronx Expressway. Then I-295 S onto Throgs Neck Bridge. Then Cross Island Parkway. And finally, take exit 30E onto I-495 Long Island Expressway. Ronkonkoma is at Exit 59; but, please do yourself a favor and just GPS it.


A version of this originally appeared in “Healing” The Teller December 2019 Issue #9

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