An Interview with Miriam Gilles

Mrs. Gilles was born in Bayshore.  She attended Dowling College and became a registered nurse. Mrs. Gillies worked at Central Islip Hospital and then later at Bayview Hospital in Mastic.

Mr. Gilles always had a dream of opening his own marina.  In 1965 that dream became a reality.  What is now Senix Marina at 50 Senix Avenue in Center Moriches, was built from scratch.  They bought an old duck farm and after getting approval from the Town of Brookhaven, they dug their first canal. The Gillieses had to hire an archeologist in case they found any artifacts when they dug. Later they added a second canal. It cost the Gillieses a lot of money to build the Senix Marina but, Mrs. Gillies believes it was worth it because they grew with the marina and the marina grew with them.

There were a lot of parties at the Marina. It began with women’s tournaments. Five or six women would go out on a boat and they would be provided with lunch and cocktails. They also hosted the blessing of the fleet.  About 300 people would go and everybody would bring food. The local clergy were put on boats and paraded out to the bay. They would then put a wreath at the inlet.

In the 1980’s they built a restaurant from an old red barn on one of the canals and Mrs. Gillies ran it.  It was the only restaurant in the area. The restaurant is still there. They also sold gas at the marina. Eventually the Gillieses sold the marina.

Mrs. Gilles helped organize the first Relay for Life in Center Moriches.  She had first seen the Relay when visiting her son in North Carolina. She presented it to the board of education. They loved the idea. The first Relay for Life was held on May 17, 2001 and has been running for six years.  This past year (2007) the community raised over $125,000 and there were 160 cancer survivors participating in the relay.

 

~Written by Shayna A.

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