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  • Have you heard the news about the 10-fold increase, since 2011, in the number of children coming illegally and by themselves into the United States? The Obama administration has called it a humanitarian crisis. Almost unbelievably, it is estimated that 60,000 children will be apprehended this year trying to get into the U.S. across our Southwestern borders. Many of these children — from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador — are placed in the care of a federal agency called the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Others, from Mexico, are routinely sent back home.

  • A career-guidance test we took in high school that supposedly scientifically assessed students’ personal characteristics had me ranking high on what was called persuasiveness. The suggestion was that I would make a good lawyer.

    With the benefit of hindsight, however, I think it’s a good thing I didn’t follow through on that career advice: What sort lawyer is too impatient to wade through fine print, as I’ve always been?

  • About six dozen yellow irises greeted me on a gray morning this week, testimony to a place where others have lived and gardened before. The old lilacs aren’t as bountiful as I remember, waiting perhaps for  judicial pruning, but there are enough for bouquets.

  •     Complaining to a colleague, as I am wont to do, about my difficulties hitting upon a subject for this column every week, she asked when I first began to write it. It turns out — and I had to pull out a folder from a crammed old filing cabinet to be sure — that the first “Connections” appeared in The East Hampton Star on April 28, 1977, which means it passed the 37-year mark a few weeks ago. (Even I, a hater of unnecessary exclamation points, want to put an exclamation point at the end of that sentence.)

  •     The East End, or at least the South Fork half of it, is like a sponge filling up with more and more people and events every year. Sometime in the almost forgotten long ago, the sponge would begin expanding on Memorial Day and shrink again come Labor Day. Nowadays, the sponge gets heavier and heavier earlier and earlier in the season and, while it does begin to slim down in September, it doesn’t really resume its normal shape until after Thanksgiving.

        They say children are overscheduled in this day and age, but what about us?

  •     A so-called big birthday is looming and, as it approaches, I can’t help but notice augurs of change. I’m not superstitious, honestly, but some days it feels like the gods are dropping hints about aging — or, at least, like there is a clock ticking rather too loudly over my head.

  •     Even though it has been a long time since I saw the Japanese film “Rashomon,” I can remember the profound impression it made. “Rashomon” introduced Japanese cinema to this country, and its director, Akira Kurosawa, went on to become one of the most influential in American filmmaking.

  •     Why is it so hard for me to give things away? My friend Myrna says it’s because, like her, I was a Depression baby. Our parents held on to worn-out, broken, or tattered things, believing they could never be replaced. Balls of string in her parents’  case, Myrna said; old screws and nails in mine. Who really needs a drawerful of cheesecloth and canning-jar wax that predates the Vietnam War?

  •     Ever since I joined the staff of The Star decades ago, I have adhered to the old-fashioned journalists’ prohibition against public expressions of support for one political position or another: I do not sign petitions, attend meetings to either advocate for or oppose matters of controversy, and I do not usually participate in polls. This week, however, I broke with the last of these standards.

  •     The East Hampton Star has offered, and helped pay for, its employees’ health insurance for as long as anyone can remember. As premiums have soared, what it has cost to do so has increased every year, as has the amount employees pay toward their coverage. Nevertheless, I am proud that, as a small company in an industry undergoing its own changes, The Star’s contributions to employees’ health insurance have stayed at the same level since 2007.