Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘I was what they call a bird-dog.’

Stephanie Rogers, Fire Island

“My husband got a rare form of leukemia and passed away in September of 1983. He was a deputy inspector with the Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau. The Marine Bureau launched a boat in his memory and christened it the F. Barton Hose. That was 40 years ago. With two teenage sons, I was determined to make our life fun.

“We learned to how scuba dive and ski. Then I began to sell boats. I was what they call a bird-dog. I’d talk to people at boat shows and introduce them to salespeople. I organized boat trips out to East Moriches, Shinnecock and Block Island. But the marine industry wasn’t healthy in the late 1980s.

I did yoga since the 1960s, much of it learned from books or television.

“A friend invested in a restaurant and asked me to run the bar. I had gone to bartending school, so I did that for a while, but it was a seasonal restaurant. With my sons now grown, I became a ski bunny in Colorado for the winter.

“Then I went to France to ski and work. I was a madame pipi, collecting change at the bathroom, and learned French. I also studied polarity, which is a kind of body work. Needing to up my game, I moved with my cat to Santa Fe and took a nine-month immersion course.

“Having lived in Japan as a child, I wanted to see it again, so I lived in Kyoto and taught English and polarity massage. I returned to France to work at the Val-d’Isère ski resort in the French Alps. The friends I summered with had moved, but I still had my house in Fair Harbor. I now stay April to November. This is home.

“I did yoga since the 1960s, much of it learned from books or television. In 1993, two friends took a yoga class in Saltaire and hurt after returning. I said, ‘You shouldn’t hurt. Come to my back deck and we’ll get up to speed.’ Soon they brought more people over. I outgrew the deck, so I began teaching yoga on the beach. I came up with the name Steph’s Body Works, because I’m older and my body works.

“I’m a registered polarity teacher, craniosacral therapist, certified yoga instructor and still learning. I just took a course on yoga for people with osteoporosis and am signed up for a class that uses body work to help people with long-haul COVID and Lyme disease. We’ll see how it goes.”

Interviewed by Shoshanna McCollum