An anonymous letter, in a mean-spirited attempt to shame a neighbour wound up backfiring on the sender, when the rest of the neighbourhood proceeded to haul out and redo their Christmas decorations in soliditary.
You’d think that in difficult times, people would want to practise kindness, rather than act petty. Unfortunately for Sara Pascucci, native to Bethpage, Long Island, New York, a writer felt entitled to send her an anonymous letter, critiquing the fact that Christmas decorations were still hanging up on her home in February. Further investigation revealed that the same anonymous letter had been sent to several houses.
Petty enough in its own right, the letter hit Pascucci particularly hard for a much sadder reason. The same decorations critiqued by sender, had been set up by her father, Anthony Pascucci almost immediately after Thanksgiving the year before, as he had done nearly every year. Tragically, Pascucci recently lost both her father and aunt to Covid-19 in January, less than a week apart from each other. Following her father’s death on the 15th of January, Pascucci couldn’t bring herself to take them down.
Pascucci proceeded to share what had happened in the Long Island Moms Facebook Group, explaining what had happened and why the letter was particularly hard to receive, in hopes of passing a message on to the sender. What happened next shows that pleasantness does triumph over petty meanness.
Horrified and outraged at this act of pettiness, the entire community banded together, sending Pascucci dozens of messages of support and comfort. The Pascucci family also received heartfelt cards, flowers and meals to show they were supported and cared for, with some neighbours setting up a GoFundMe page to help cover the mounting mortgage payments and funeral costs. Pascucci received a visit from a husband and wife pair, who told her “Keep your Christmas lights up. I know what it feels like to lose someone and not want to put their things away. It’s very hard.”
The most striking act of support for Pascucci, however, was that her neighbours decided to reassemble their Christmas Holiday decorations in soliditary. House after house in Bethpage saw residents unpacking decorations that had already been boxed away, and recreating the season of giving in February. Elaine Murray, a neighbour of Pascucci, who lives around the corner from her, and her family, turned their lights back on the same night Pascucci received the letter, saying “No one is going to tell us to turn them off.”
For Murray, a nurse on the pandemic front lines, these deaths in particular hit close to home. Murray and her family also put a wreath back on the front door, secured an inflatable snowman to the lawn and programmed their Christmas lights to turn on every evening at 5 in honor of Pascucci’s father and aunt. With the bright lights and decorations back up in Bethpage, it gives her “something to look forward to”, remarking that we should all be kind and watch what we say “Especially in this time.” She also added that “Sara can keep her lights on for the whole year if she wants”- further showing her support.
Other neighbours who are showing their support include Karen McGuggart, who was shocked that someone could send a letter like that, calling the deaths of Pascucci’s father and aunt a tragedy. McGuggart’s children were particularly incensed to hear of the letter, and immediately moved to reinstall the packed-up Christmas decor.
Following up on this, on the 14th of February, Bethpage residents lit up their town in honour of those who passed on from Covid-19. More than a dozen vehicles decorated in lights rolled down Berkshire Road on Sunday evening as supporters, including Claus’ professional partner Mary Ellen Schnepf of West Islip who dressed as Mrs. Claus, and someone dressed as The Grinch, gathered at the Pascucci’s home.
“It’s just heart-warming,” Sara Pascucci said. “Just to know our neighbors are here to give us support and love, it’s helping us get through a lot.”
Source: The Washington Post–
“She was shamed for still having her Christmas lights up. Neighbors are now putting theirs back up in solidarity.”