Friday, October 31, 2008

RANDOM THOUGHTS OCT 31

I had read with interest both in the media and on the internet references to the mortgage saving partnership involved in the New Brunswick Bank ,the "Feds", and Rev. Soaries a former Republican state official and candidate for Congress..


I would like to know more about the Rev. DeForest ‘Buster’ Soaries and the First Baptist Community Development Corporation program to help those faced with home foreclosure. Judging from what little I read on the internet the idea seems to be an excellent one although I am not sure if the saved property is purchased by the Corporation at the price of the outstanding loan or market value or discounted. As I understand the former property owner will be allowed to lease back the property although I am not sure what the is formula involved on the transaction . Will that person have the right to reacquire the property?


Who pays back the funds that have been granted to the bank and administered by the Corporation, or is it an outright gift? Are funds to be granted to businesses? What are the criteria needed for the granting of funds to home owners or business? Who determines elgibility? What safeguards will be inplace to prevent potential abuses in the allocation application process?


I hope the Assemblyman or the principles will post answers in Jerry Greens blog or unedited it the news media.


As one old “Malapropist” to another, I hope that the Assemblyman will accept my apology for calling attention to the two paragraphs that I have reproduced and would clarify or rephrase them. The italics are mine; I have included dictionary definitions;


“I am hoping to meet with social organizations, as well as the clergy, community, and the administration to orchestrate a plan that will channel the flow of this funding to those who are in specific need of the funding. In other words, we want to ensure that this funding saturates (drench, wet through) those who need it. It is important to secure a tight-knit structure to predicate ( to proclaim, declare, to connote, imply) these funds to the appropriate parties; those who really need the help and support.

For those who were not able to attend last night’s foreclosure and financial crisis forum, feel free to call my office so that I can exhaust (use up ,deplete) my resources in means (?) of putting you in direct contact with the necessary parties; those being either on the state, county, or local levels of government. (I would hope that this convoluted sentence does not suggest that there will be nothing left, that after you are “put in touch” he will not be able to help) I will also put you in touch with Rev. Soaries’ office, so that they may further assist you. These groups will further guide you in the direction of solution and satisfaction of your grievance.


As I explained to the public last night, it is my duty on the state level, as well as in the city, to bring solutions to problems, rather than criticize situations and then do nothing about it. ( keep up the good work!)I herein take pride in this duty.


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As I keep reading the media stories, and the "blogs", plus the few budget hearings I attended the City's finances and fiscal controls are FUBAR. Do we need a new accounting firm, one that has not had so mnay years of close proximity with the administrations. Remember Enron, the accountants paid no heed to various entries.

YEAR 2 & CONSEQUENCES

Randall Hall was an old three-story building in which the lower two floors had been converted into a student dormitory. Randall’s room sizes varied; most were only narrow singles but connected to the adjoining singles. Joe Jaffe and I decided to take two adjacently rooms. We had gotten along well as roommates but our study and living habits differed so this would be a good compromise. However, most of the time the door between was open, thus we were still almost roommates. On each floor, there was one large community bathroom. The third floor had only two rooms, we seldom saw their occupants.

There was a large grassy space between Randal Hall and a side road. There, the residents used to play touch football. The building was also on a bank above the road that passed between it and McKim Hall, the student nurse's residence, which was at a lower level. Many an hour was spent on the edge of that bank watching the girls coming to and leaving the McKim Hall either for the “Corner” or down town. There were the usual catcalls and whistles. It goes without stating that, the” parade” was also a mutual satisfying exercise by all participants.

My year in Randal Hall was an unforgettable one, with the development of two lifelong friendships. One was with Bob Sternkopf, an older student who, before going to college had been a marine sergeant and had served in China at the time of the Panay incident.

The other friend was Marty Ball, who was an "army brat". His father was a Master Sgt., stationed during our college years at Fort Meyers outside DC. After the war, we seldom saw each other, but corresponded at least once a year until Marty's death from a brain tumor about 10 years ago. Bob passed away in 2002 at the age of 90+.

Both Marty and Bob were drafted into service shortly after our graduation in 1940. Bob had who had been in the marine reserve became an officer; retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Marty went through OTC and was a lieutenant in the Texas National Guard division. He told me that it was weird that his 5’'9" was in charge of a bunch of tall Texans. He was wounded at Salerno, but I think he also saw action at Anzio. After the war Marty went back to UVA and received his Law degree.

Late 1941 or early 42 while at home for a short vacation, Marty called to tell me that he was getting married the next day in New York City at the "Little Church Around the Corner". He wanted me to be his best man. In those days in most states except Maryland, you needed a serology test for Syphilis before you could get a marriage license. While NY accepted the army test, they would not accept his fiancée's certificate from Virginia, so a day was wasted while one was obtained in NY and the ceremony was performed the next day.

Otherwise, with the exception of the first-year dormitories, discipline or restrictions in the university was very relaxed. Women were constant visitors in the student rooms of this 98% percent male university. Sometimes silly situations arose. Once while in Randall, I was sitting on a stall john when a girl came in and pushed open the shuttered door. She stopped and looked at me then said, “Oh my God if I did not know you I would've been embarrassed”. The fact that our acquaintance was so barely casual that I had no idea who she was, made no difference to her.

Sternkopf, my older role model image, had a steady student nurse girlfriend and everyone knew they were having active sex. The beds were the cast iron type with flat springs, whose side rails fit into slots in the head and foot ends. Once, someone (Marty) tied cowbells to the bedsprings. Another time the side rails were loosened from the slots so that the bed would collapse under them. They were married about a year later, and for a long time I dated one of Alma's classmates.

In the '30s, the school year at Virginia was divided into trimesters plus a split summer session. On Randal Hall's second floor, there was a large room, which served as a recreation room. During the first trimesters, we had a poker game every night. During the second trimesters there were only enough available for a bridge game. By the spring trimesters, only Marty and I felt that we were in good enough scholastic standing to have a new mission.

Every night we would go to downtown Charlottesville and try to pick up two different (town) girls. Without boasting, we were very successful. However, towards the end some of our "trophies" were targets of expediency in order to keep our streak intact. By the next fall, Marty and I had become well known to the local talent, and for a while had steady Charlottesville girl friends. Serendipitously, there was an unusual benefit from this period upon my return from the ETO.

When just after Christmas 1945 our troopship docked at Newport News and we were transferred to Camp Patrick Henry I went to the telephone exchange to call my wife. As I placed the call the operator said “Why Harold Yood how are you”. She was one of the Charlottesville town girls that Marty dated and told me all about the girl I used to regularly date. After she placed the call I was never charged a cent although Helen and I talked for a long time.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

ON MY OWN

Memories of that year in Gildersleeve are still pleasant. Independence came easily to me, but, despite being in my adolescent rebellious period, I was careful not to abuse it.

We did experiment with alcoholic beverages and I acquired my first pipe (which I have to this day) to smoke. Some students of course overdid the drinking and their new found freedom.

Although beer could be purchased in eating establishments and grocery stores, in Virginia other alcoholic beverages were sold only in the state operated ABC stores. The legal age to purchase from the store was 18. However, that did not stop us. Once, after buying a bottle I discovered that I was a few cents short. The clerk did not wish to put the bottle back and said, “do not bother, someone else had forgotten his change so I can put the money in the register”. There are probably only a rare few under aged persons who received a discount from a state operated store.

First year students without physical disabilities could not have cars. Charlottesville was a very isolated community despite being a transportation hub with two railroad lines and a hub for intercity bus routes. Without wheels the absence of nearby girl's schools limited possible contact with the opposite sex to the town girls, student nurses (an unknown quantity to freshmen), and the minuscule number of co-eds.

Fortunately, there were two of the residents in Gildersleeve with physical disability; one suffered from severe residual muscle weakness from polio and had a great difficulty walking. He had an old Studebaker touring, car, a four door with a removable soft roof and side curtains. Occasionally we would go over the Mountains which included in those days the steep zigzag climb across Afton Mountain on the way to Staunton where Mary Baldwin College and Stuart Hall girls’ schools were located. Unfortunately, we never were successful in our expeditions because we lacked the proper skills.

The other student also a polio victim, but less disabled, owned a Model A Ford roadster with a rumble seat. Once late winter we went to Lexington and then over the mountain to Buena Vista the location of Southern Seminary, an all girls finishing school including two years of college. On the way, back it was very cold. I and another student froze in the rumble seat. All these expeditions yielded no female companion-ship.

Despite never becoming a good dancer, on Saturday nights, especially during my second year, we would go to the Frye Springs Studio, a popular roadhouse just outside Charlottesville. There we would try to dance with unattached girls, who came from either the town or the nearby countryside to meet the college boys.

Non scholastic life would change drastically for the better the next year when I move into Randall Hall. To be continued of course if anyone is slightly interested.
The Lawn with the Rotunda at the upper end




A Pavilion on the Lawn, one of Jefferson's original buildings was used for the Professor's residence and also for his class rooms. Still used.


Randall Hall :This was a "flipped L" shaped building and the other entrance to the left facing the East Range. This road was a service road that ran between the East Lawn and Range and is sweeping down to the right to join the road that ran across the grounds between the East Range and the Hospital campus.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

RANDOM THOUGHTS OCT 29

At the risk of being called too busy by Plainfield Today I am going to post today and at frequent intervals some random thoughts as they strike. I may even add to the posting during the day.

When I first returned from service in Europe I knew that I had to refresh my knowledge of everyday medicine. I elected to take a refresher course at Mt Siae hospital which for many weeks made me a commuter from the Grant Ave. station.That trip required the ferry boat ride from the Jersey City terminal and a walk across lower Manhattan to the Lexington Ave line;s Chamber Street station to take the subway uptown.

On the train and subway I tried but never really accomplished the art of folding the newspaper of those years into a small enough size so that it could be read without bothering the person sitting next to you. If today's Courier had been available no newspaper folding would have been needed!


On the subject of the new Courier, as one who had years ago play frequently against the top notch duplicate players with some degree of success, I have always enjoyed the Courier's Bridge column. However since this recent incarnation I have to get out a magnifying glass to read it, when I can find it hidden in the advertising section. Look for it you will be amazed at what they are presenting to their readers.

While on a newspaper bitch; I have always been a comic page reader and the Star Ledger HAD one of the best pages. In their recent economy move they have dropped several of the best although one or two still appear in the Sunday section. One was a Canadian based strip which was life going in its story line. "For Better or Worse" still is carried in micro form by the Courier. My dollar continues to buy less and my newspapers shrink. Even the Times has joined the movement.

HOW TO SUCCEED IN COLLEGE

I never regretted my final choice. I had had a rude awakening. Insecurity and dread of failure prompted me to study hard for the first trimesters. I did well in all subjects with the exception of the required language courses.

Additionally, there was an advantage to be on the Dean's list; attendance was only obligatory for just 50% of a course’s scheduled classes plus all laboratories and scheduled tests. If you ‘made” the Dean’s list for the first six trimesters (2 years) you, received Intermediate Honors which gave you carte blanch from all lecture classroom attendance. This was a great boom, especially if the professor of your 8 am class was a bore, or the night before had been a party night”.

"YOUALL" should picture my fate. I who had difficulty with languages was assigned a class taught by an instructor, who also was a poet, who had a pronounced Southern accent. Our required reading in French was a horrible novel, if memory serves correctly, titled “King of the Mountain” Even if it had been in English, it would have been the worst story I had ever almost read. There was not even an acceptable pony available to understand the story. Since languages were not my forte I was not doing well and failure seemed imminent. Non the less I did not become depressed, something good had to happen.

Fortunately, one day while walking across the foot of the Lawn, the center of the University grounds, I observed a group of students surrounding an older woman. Curiosity got the best of me. I went over to see what was going on.

The next day the local Charlottesville paper published a picture of Lady Astor talking with a group of University students. Guess who was standing right by her left shoulder? Somehow, that French instructor saw the picture and became very impressed about a young student who diligently searched for knowledge even if he could not speak French.

Although I passed that French course, obviously passing another year of French was not going to be possible. Therefore, for my second year of required foreign languages, I switched to a first-year German course.

For a second time, I was fortunate; another instructor took pity upon me. Claiming he could not read my handwriting, he asked me to help him orally correct my final exam. I had now fulfilled my language requirements. I could proceed with a liberal education blessed with the freedom granted by receiving Intermediate Honors.

My proficiency in foreign languages served me well during WW II. To be able to say something approximating " Non comprise" and "niche verstay" or "alles is caput" or "parlez vous anglais" or "sprechen si english" prevented many a difficult situation.Obviously my command of either tongue has not improved.

One of the most interesting first year classes was General Chemistry 101, taught by an immaculately dressed dapper martinet professor. He entered into the amphitheater from the right back, walked up the side, made a sharp 90 degree left turn, then stepped up onto the podium and commenced lecturing.

He was known to occasionally fall victim to excessive alcohol intake. Once he walked in as customary. He made his sharp left turn, but instead of stepping up on the podium, he tripped. Standing up, and gazing at the class, he said, "You have all been in this state sometime or other and if you haven't you should have been. Class dismissed".

At another time, he was reported to say, "my ceiling fell down last night and the plaster would have hit my wife in the face if it had not hit me on the back of my neck”.

It was rumored that he was almost suspended (probably a classic universal college story) when, during the chemical examination of urine samples, a female student approached to discuss her unusual results. He turned to the class and said "Ms ***** has found silver in her urine, would anyone like to sink a shaft.”

It is important to understand that in those years less than 1% of the students were women. The exception was of course the schools of education and nursing. Possibly in the near future I should comment on male-female relationships in a small college town environment.

By the end of my second year all required subjects including those need to apply to medical school, with the exception, of biology had been satisfied. Since I could not draw a straight line much less a good picture, biology laboratory was a problem. Having finished basic requirements including those for medical school, I became a history major.

One of my greatest scholastic triumphs occurred during the third year. The final examination in a course in 17th century European history consisted of just three essay questions. After the exam, during the usual student post mortem discussing our answers everyone told me that not one of my essays agreed with what the instructors had taught in the class. To my amazement instead of a failure I received a grade of 100% plus. Apparently, my instructor either appreciated my bull or place great value on original thought.

By the end of the third year I felt that I was wasting my parent's money majoring on history, so on a lark I applied to the medical school for admission. To my amazement, the day after my interview by the Dean of the school, I was accepted. Several of my friends who were in their fourth year in college who had previous applied were still waiting to hear if they were admitted. The first year in Medical School counted towards my BA degree.

The commencement address in 1940 was given by FDR. It was the day after Italy had invaded France and joined the Germans. FDR's speech was a major policy statement known as "The Stab in the Back" speech.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

COMENTARY

This weeks newspaper's stories about hospitals having to place ER patients waiting for admission into hallways is not only reminiscent of conditions in the 50s & 60s that led to the construction of what in the 90s became excessive in-patient beds.

If patients who are admitted are kept in the ER, that facility can no longer function. The next step in the chain will be a strict enforcement of hospital days cookbook criteria. Perhaps a return to the OB rule that an uncomplicated delivery was allowed one full day post partum in hospital. Since the hospital day was from midnight to midnight, a woman who delivered at 11:58 pm would have to be discharged before the following midnight. There would also be more discharges of ill patients as soon as they could in effect breath on their own. No consideration would be given to home or psychological circumstances. A transfer to an extended (ie: nursing home) facility might be considered.

This is the present status of government control of medical care. In our case it is DHSS responsibility that closes operating hospitals to consolidate usage. Take warning, universal health care will lead to greater rationalization (!!!!SIC-SEE NOTE) of hospitals.

Plainfield's proposed 2009 budget which should cover from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009 is going to be a disaster. Not only as usual will more than half the year pass and cost occurring then will not be recoup able, but as proposed considering today's economic state, it resembles fantasy football.

Councilor Burney is right, including operation of a closed facility such as Dudley House in the budget is ridiculous. Is the idea to obtain funds that are not being used for redistribution to other sectors that have been underfunded to balance the budget? This has been a common practice in the second half of the budget year.

The council and city administration should face facts and weight the true potential of the 2009 tax burden on a smaller core of taxpayers. Drastic pruning measures in expenditures including salary increases must be considered. Job descriptions must not be altered to provide raises when the grade limits have been reached. All city unions must be willing to enter into compromise negotiations and give a little back. For many municipalities the threat of civic bankruptcy is not an idle one.

NOTE: Where rationalization came from I have no idea, of course that should read regionalization. Perhaps an automatic spelling checker haas a vocabulary that is not as broad or as inventive as mine.

PLAINFIELD CAN BE BEAUTIFUL

In order that today not be too serious.

This is Leland Ave. looking north from near Woodmere.

SERMON FOR TUESDAY

In yesterday's "CLIPS" Dan in mentioning my blog's reference to the University of Virginia's Honor System wrote; "what a concept!". I would hope that the reference was not cynical. Unfortunately in today's hedonistic society honesty is a mysterious word. Too many search for every subtle or in some cases gross methods to beat the system.

No element of society is free of large numbers of individuals who believe that being honest is only for the nerd. Today alone several scandals are in the news.The number of retirees of the Long Island Railroad accepting disability is far-far-above reasonable statistical average. The doctors who certified their disability did not act honestly. The executives of UMDNJ had made it a personal bonanza for their and their friends finances. The US Senator from Alaska has been found guilty of lying about gifts and free services he accepted. The mayor of a New Jersey town and his wife have been found to have accepted "kickbacks". School Boards create new job titles and remove the old ones, often with no change in descriptions, to reward the faithful with large increases in salary. The list goes on and on.

If we accept even the smallest degree of dishonesty in our daily life as the norm, it is natural that we be sceptical that a society , even a small college one, based on honesty can be practical.

There are many colleges and the military academies that have an Honor System. Some vary in the magnitude of coverage, others in the degree of punishment. I know of no other one as draconian as UVA's in its all or nothing philosophy. If you are guilty of even a minor infraction dismissal from the University is automatic. Yes the individual is allowed to resign and under all circumstances except conviction of criminal action the record is blank.

Virginia's system worked from years before WWI and even if the schools size has increased 8 fold from pre-war years, is still working, although slightly modified and more democratic in its application. Key athletes from football and basketball have suddenly left for "personal reasons".

There have been several credos that have motivated my life. Honesty perse is one of them. I would never sign a false claim or excuse for a patient even at the risk of losing that patient. I would say to them that "if I lied on this claim, how could you trust me to be honest with you?" I did not add 'to be honest with myself I have to be honest with you"'

There is another credo which at the editor's request I expressed as part of my bio in "Who's Who in America"; “Enjoyment in my profession, pleasure in relationships with patients, a belief in the necessity for civic and community volunteer involvement, a commitment to support causes that aid the unfortunate and do no harm to individuals”.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if all of us could have a similar commitment plus being above prejudice and bias towards others. It is about time.

Before anyone becomes a disciple please be advised that I do not walk on water.

Monday, October 27, 2008

UVA -SETTING THE STAGE

The University tradition was that it was a school of Gentlemen, Southerners to be sure. Faulkner who had taught there, wrote a good description in several of his novels. It was mandatory to wear a tie and suit to classes and school functions.

I had purchased two suits at prices ranging between $16.95 and 19.95.Crawford, Howard’s and Bonds; men’s clothing chains in those days had stores in Newark. In those days, each suit was 4 pieced, jacket, vest, and two pairs of pants. I can remember that one was a loud grey Glen Plaid Check that I liked. The problem was that the student who sat in front of me in Chemistry 101 had the same suit. We agreed not to wear it on the same day.

I am sure that by today’s standards it could have been considered a party school. There was a very active social life not only for the fraternity groups but also the sizable non-affiliated students. Dormitory parties and alcohol consumption were a way of life. I never had any knowledge of “drug” addiction but I am sure there may have been a small insignificant group.

In those prewar days, the University was a liberal institution. With the exception of the First Year Halls, there were no restrictions on who you entertain in your room, or how long she stayed.Yet despite this lazier faire attitude, the University had high percentages of Rhoads Scholars.

Twice a year, fall and spring trimester, there was a big three day dance weekend. Big name bands such as Glen Grey, Count Bassi, Benny Goodman, the Dorsey brothers and especially Guy Lombardo who made it a policy to play there once a year, were featured. Guy Lombardo loved the venue so much that he played there many times and adopted “Auld Aing Syne” the tune of the school's alma mater “good old song” as his theme song. Charlottesville was an isolated country city of about 15000 area population. During the fall or Easter “Dance Weekends”, it was not uncommon for girls to stay in their date’s room.

The University in those days had little over 5000 students in all its schools. The only women students were a few in education, and thank goodness a nursing school. When I entered medical school we had 3 women among are class of 65, a large number. Since the nearest women's colleges such as Mary Baldwin, Stuart Hall, Madison, Randolph Macon, Southern Seminary etc were miles away dating was limited to a small core of town girls (more later) and student nurses.

First year students who could not have cars and upperclassmen without cars had to rely on the bus network or trains for out of town trips. The result was a very heterogeneous society, where southern aristocracy, pseudo aristocracy, country bumpkins and norther interlopers were commingled. After the first year graduate school students, college students, fraternity and non fraternity students intermixed freely, and lived in the same facilities.

What made the University special was its Honor Code. It was enforced by the student honor code committee. Thus the violator was judged by his peers, not faculty. Cheating, plagiarizing, stealing were not condoned and if caught after an immediate student honor committee hearing if guilty ,would result in prompt expulsion. There was no appeal from your peers decision. It was a self policing system, and to not report a breach was equivalent to the breach itself. Virgina's Honor Code was the standard which all other colleges strove to reach.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

LEAVING THE NEST 1936

It is time for a change of pace. I will continue to post more about my days in the practice of medicine, especially conditions in the 50-60s. Although probably more intimate, yet very indicative of life before WWII, is a section I named "UVA DAYS" the last chapter in my "Age of Naivete"

On a very hot muggy 1936 September day I boarded the B&O train at the Plainfield station to start, at the age of 16, life's great adventure. This was the first time I had been away from home alone. Several days earlier,the Railway Express man had carried my wardrobe trunk, on his back, down the stairs to his truck. To have missed the next seven years would have been to miss life.

In Washington D.C., at Union Station I had to change trains to a Southern Railroad train for Charlottesville. The Southern Railroad’s coaches which lacked air-conditioning were completely packed by college students predominantly freshmen bound for the University of Virginia. Some were going further south. Unlike today’s students, very few had ever visited the University. We were venturing into an unknown world but determined not to exhibit any apprehension.

The open coach windows did not lower the heat or humidity and frequently admitted clouds of smoke from the steam engine. The red velour covered coach seats were very susceptible to the moisture from the sweating students, who found their shirt backs dyed red. In 1993 at a 50th medical school class reunion I could still remnissed about that trip with boys I met on that train.

On subsequent trips to Charlottesville,I always managed to make connections for the C&O’s George Washington, which left D.C. at 6 p.m. It was air-conditioned and had a both a dinning and a lounge car where we met and occupied on the 21/2 hour trip.

The two railroads used the same tracks to Orange Va. where the C&O had a divergent branch eastward to its main line at Gordonsville, Va. In Charlottesville the train made two stops,the main C&O station being further down town. The second station where the C&O crossed the Southern tracks was a mile nearer the University.

Unfortunately, when going home the only train, other than a few very early (before 7 a.m.) morning trains, that I could catch was a one passenger car Southern local that left at 1 p.m. That train seemed to stop at every crossing and hamlet taking 3 to 4 hours to reach Washington just in time for the last B&O train to Plainfield.

If I missed that train, I would have to catch a Pennsy train to Elizabeth, and hope that there would be a CRRNJ train to Plainfield.

Arriving in Charlottesville, several of us collectively piled into a cab for the trip to the mandatory freshmen only dormitories. They were almost new, having been built several years previously. Mine, Gildersleeve Hall, was the end unit of four “Halls”. A central stairwell led to each of the three floors. Each floor contained four suites that consisted of a day room and a bedroom with two beds and dressers. In the end buildings, the two outside suites shared a bathroom. Each two adjacent inside suites had a common bathroom with the two suites from the adjoining Hall, creating a node of eight students. A student in the suite next to us was very homesick. For the first week or so, we could hear him crying all night long. He did not stay long in school.

My roommate Joe Jaffe was a very industrious and brilliant engineering student on scholarship from Norfolk Virginia. The engineering school curriculum was hard and required a strong commitment for studying. Although I lost touch with Joe during the war I later learned that he had been involved in the Manhatten Atomic Bomb project.

Despite the differences in our life styles and study habits we got along well and the next year requested adjoining connecting rooms in Randall Hall. Neither one of us had expressed any desire to go the fraternity route. Our extracurricular life was broad and satisfying. The year after that I obtained my room on the Range which I returned to until my last semester in Medical School. There will be more about life in Randall Hall subsequently.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

WE DON'T APPRECIATE OUR GOOD FORTUNE

I was fortunate for my career to have covered the truly golden age of medicine. As a medical student, the only true antibacterial drugs were a few sulfonamide compounds. By the time I had retired, there were multiple generations of antibiotics as well as some anti-viral drugs available,

The surgery of the 50s was crude compared to the sophisticated techniques at the end of the century. Micro-surgery and the use of laparoscopes, computers, micro-robots and similar devices have made procedures easier, less painful, and shortened the morbidity period. Organ transplants were a science fiction dream.

Intravascular catheterizations and open heart surgery saved many lives. Physicians can now abort heart attacks under favorable circumstances.

Instead of simple x-rays, the advent of first the CAT scan, Isotope imaging, ultrasound, and the MRI have not only increased our diagnostic skills but have also enhanced our capabilities for therapeutic procedures.

As late as the 60s, brain tumors could only be diagnosed by inference through x-rays using air injected into the spinal canal, a painful, hazardous, and most often inadequate procedure. Patients now survive and are even cured from malignancies which were always fatal in first few decades of my practice. Even brain tumors can be operated upon with an increasing degree of success. One of the newest tools is the gamma knife, a very specific focus high voltage xray technique that protects normal tissue.

Today's miracle diagnostic and therapy techniques are the result of "free enterprise" medicine. The regimented profession that is developing would have stifled most of these advances. Today stem cell research, a basic need to find new ways to prolong good life is being restricted by laws.

It is also unfortunate that economics are beginning to deny many of the benefits of modern medicine. I fear that in the near future there will be greater delays and more denials in receiving the best treatments. That will be one of the dangers of that we must guard against. Muhlenberg was one of the early victims of this trend.

Addendum; 10AM Upon reflection I realize how incomplete, disjointed and poorly written I have prepared this subject. There is no mention of mammography which was an unknown technique when I began to practice. How many lives has it saved by early diagnosis? Likewise, the "PAP" stain to diagnoses Cervical cancer did not exist in the 40-50s. Sigmoidoscopy was done with a short "pipe", now we can see the bowel up to the appendix. There can be no excuse not to pick up early bowel cancer.

I had inherited an EKG machine, and was one of the very few,about 3, doctors in Plainfield that understood the EKG of that era. This machine use a roll of photography paper, which had to be removed and developed like a photo or xray in a dark room. The 30lb machine was "portable" and I would take it to the home! Often when the tracing was developed the paper had not rolled and the tracing had to be repeated.

The original EKG had only 3 extremity leads, by 1950 a chest lead was added. now there are a minimum of 6 chest leads,improving diagnostic capabilities. Today's machines are direct writers and produce 4 simultaneous tracings- 3 leads and a rhythm strip. They are computerized and print out essential information and even a workable diagnosis. The cardiologist in reviewing the strip relies on his own interpretation.

During my 1946 "refresher course" at Mt Sinae I became acquainted with Dr. Master's 2 step test, which he had developed during the war to rule out aviator candidates with potential heart problems. The equipment was built of wood and was designed that the subject took two steps up to a platform and the down the other side (2 steps) turned around and repeated the crossing a specified number of trips. I had a local carpenter build me one and routinely used it for diagnosis until the treadmill test which was more specific became common place. At least the first dozen patients I sent to Cleveland or Houston for by-pass surgery were diagnosed on the two step. A few are still living.

Some day I may revisit this subject, but next week I would like to share some of the best days of my life, my college years.

Friday, October 24, 2008

MORE DOCTOR TRIVIA

House calls in those days (1950-60) were a way of life, as was 24hr. availability. The phone was by my bedside and even in deep sleep I became conditioned to picked it up on the first ring. Often my wife never knew that I had left the house during the night.

One night I had to make a house call on Hoes Lane in Piscataway , a very rural area in the 50s. I was given the location of a house and told that I should go to the rear. When I arrived, I saw a lantern light in the window of a building about 100 feet in the fields behind the house. I walked down the path with my bag and got close to the building when I heard a cow moo. It was a barn. The house had two apartments. They meant by” the rear” was that the entrance to their apartment on the second floor was by outside stairs in the back.

Another time, I was awakened by a patient’s phone call who said” I have bitten my husband. It is an emergency; and would I come immediately”. I dressed and was part way over there when I started to laugh, for the first time it dawned upon me what she had said. When I arrived, she met me at the door and repeated her comment. They were having a fight, and she had bitten him. It was not serious and certainly not worth my loosing sleep.

Of course there was the alcoholic who called about 2am and said;" Doc I can't sleep". I was rude and replied, " Now I too can't sleep". End of conversation but not that patient.

I first began administering obstetrical anesthesia about 1948 for $5.00 a case. Blue Shield would pay that much. When I was on call at night, the delivery room nurse would call when a birth was immanent, so that we could get to the hospital in time. Usually we could get home for more sleep, occasionally there were several cases in active labor so the night was spent in the deli9very room suite.

Ultimately we were receiving $15.00 a case, a substantial source of income. It represented almost 1/3 of my earnings for almost 15 years and I was reluctant to give it up. However, within a year my practice had more than made up that loss.

The techniques used then were either open drop ether onto a cone over the patients mouth and nose. We preferred using the Heidbrink machine, which employed a semi-closed system by passing oxygen and nitrogen oxide over an ether bottle. There was a single re-breathing bag before the mask. If the bag became too full the surplus vapors escaped into the air. With either system, the anesthesiologist often breathed a substantial amount of ether. His clothes would smell of it.

The Heidbrink machine held two tanks each of Nitrous Oxide or Oxygen in a bank on each side of a yoke. Unfortunately, the nipples were of the same size. Therefore, there was always a danger of having a tank on the wrong side, and the patient receiving only NO2, which could be fatal.

NO2 is known as "laughing gas" as was often used by dentist for temporary anaesthesia in their office. In the late 19th century , people used to have laughing gas parties.

The delivery room nurses were superb and would keep the physician, who may have been having “office hours”, informed about the labor’s progress. Sometimes, if the baby was coming too fast, we would have to start the anesthesia and deliver the baby ourselves before the obstetrician arrived. Picture us, putting the patient asleep, slipping on sterile gloves and gown and running to the other end of the table to delivery the baby. That was better than having a nurse hold back the head until the doctor, who was rushing in, arrived.

One General Practitioner had almost complete major surgical privileges in addition to one of the largest post war practices. He would often wait to the last moment to arrive in the delivery room; The nurse had a rubber apron ready for him to put over his clothes, before donning his scrub suit, and delivering the baby. About 33 % of the time, the baby’s head was either emerging or already delivered by the time he arrived. However, his patients adored him.

Unknown to his patients, this physician’s greatest attribute was his willingness to recognize his limitations. He would either ask for a consultation or transfer the patient to a specialist at the slightest indication of a problem.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

SERIOUS STUFF #1

Does the city have or not have a potential committed buyer for MRMC? The generalities would be nice to know. Specifics of course must be confidential until a deal is confirmed.

What will happen to the Dudley House? This city owned facility services residents from surrounding communities. Those municipalities are willing for Plainfield to care for their residents, but will not pay even a small portion to keep this resource operating. The function of the institution is to return individuals to full functioning citizenship. It does a needed job well.

I suppose I am stupid! If a budget is a balance sheet; income equals expense, how can a phantom $1.6 million income be replaced by a mysterious bookkeeping surplus plus another not understood credit? Is this the type accounting practices that has led to today's economic crisis?

If the state has approved a bond issue that permits JFK to add beds in this area which we were informed had too many beds so Muhlenberg had to be closed, when was a certificate of need for those beds granted and under what circumstances? Or have the rules changed?

The Muhlenberg /Solaris comic opera confirms that NJ State Government and its agencies consider that they are above rules and regulation's. Public hearings are window dressings for already decided actions. MRMC was closed in part because of the need tor educe the overabundance of area hospital beds. JFK gets money to build beds without showing the need. Oh yes these will be for paying patients.

The Corzine (Democrats) state administration has not demonstrated any compassion for the urban populations. The affluent communities get new hospitals etc. Should we petition Obama when he forms our next national administration to be sure to include our governor in his cabinet. Rashid and late rider Jerry, perhaps should elect a GOP. Could we be worse off?

Will ethnicity or qualifications decide the national election? Isn't it time that we have finally risen above racism or gender or religious prejudices in picking our leaders?

GRANT AVE STATION

Thank you Duncan for this picture of the Grant Ave RR station. It shows 2 of the 4 tracks that ran through Plainfield in the days of the CRRNJ. I am a little puzzled about the view if the pictured has not been reversed in printing. I do not remember a large building on the westbound site (Front Street). If this is as I suspect the eastbound side the factory in the background can not be the Mack Truck plant- in that case the orientation has been flopped. More likely it is Wood's on the east side of Grant Ave. Unfortunately I can't see the bridge. This is a rare memory of Plainfield.



IS IT TRIVIA?

I hope that I am not "THE LAST ANGRY MAN' . I have not forgotten that this blog is a potpourri of trivia, pictures, comments, and anything else that may strike my fancy.

It is trivia to post vignettes from my memoirs.

It is trivia to note that the new Courier News page's dimensions are 11.25 x 21.75 inches, and the column width is 2 inches; whereas the standard papers of today are 12.5 x 22 and 3inches respectfully. Or that the telephone book's print-a test for needing glasses- looks like a Doubleday Big Print book compared with the Courier's Bridge Column.

It is trivia that my slide scanner's drivers were for ME upgraded to XP. The problem is that I am running that abomination known as VISTA. Although the manufacture has send me down-loadable upgrades drivers for VISTA , the scanner is still not compatible and the new drivers cause the computer to crash. 900+ slides await digitization.

BUT it is NOT trivia to read in today's Courier that our politicians in the city's name are planning to let Solaris off the hook for a few immaterial short term gains that will not relieve our basic health care crisis.

It is true we know nothing about the discussions. Under what conditions must Solaris agree to sell the property if a suitable buyer is found? Has Solaris the right to reject the Buyer? How will an equitable purchase price be reached? Who will purchase the property, the city? Since we are looking at a long term solution, why not start eminent domain proceedings?

AS Jerry wrote, "Out with the NEW, in with the TRUE". Only this time the "NEW" is JG.s latest MRMC/SOLARIS salvation plan. The TRUE is facts and honesty.

It may not be trivia, but as I have written before, polls are not to be taken as a true reflection of conditions. The results are determined by the diversity of the individuals polled, how they are contacted, what time of the day they are called, how honest are the replies, and even the bias of the pollsters. Example, today's AP poll shows an almost dead heat in t he Presidential race. This is different from every other poll. What is the true figures, what is being used to influence the election? We have no way of ascertaining the truth about polls.Be forewarned.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Doctor in the late 40s.

For most of 1946, I had no car; instead, I drove my mother’s pre-war Plymouth

It was post war and no cars had been avaiable to the public for several years. Production had not yet met demands. I had tried to buy one at the various dealerships but only the Ford dealer gave me any hope. I was too naive to understand that he wanted dollars under the table before he would deliver one at a premium. Fortunately, a Lion member owned the Studebaker dealership, and I bought one of the first postwar Studies, and many more after that from the same dealer.

The self-contained medical building or offices are a post war innovation. As was common in those days, the office occupied a portion of our house, on the corner of Fourth and Grant.

A porch had been enclosed and became the waiting room. A new entrance had been built on 4th street. There was a small entryway between the waiting room and the consultation room, which you entered from the upper left. A door at the far end of this room led to a hall, which was closed off, from the living quarters by two doors. You turned left down the short hall and entered the examination room, which had formerly been a kitchen. An old outside pantry and rear entry had been converted into a rest room and storage space.

Most of my practice consisted of blue-collar families. Many were of Italian, Polish, or Irish extraction. In those days, my practice was not specialized and included pediatrics, obstetrics, minor surgery as well as medicine. I also administered obstetrical anesthesia to supplement my income.

In the 40s and 50s, there were a large number of area residents who were commuting to New York from a station on Grant Avenue

Many were patients and all too frequently, someone would ring the office bell before 7 o'clock in the morning. They wanted to see the doctor before catching their train.It did not matter whether I was asleep or not, they were awake.

Before the war, it was not customary for doctors to have female help, but I soon felt I should have a nurse. This was not only for my "protection" as well as the reassurance of the woman patient.

I hired a delightful young RN from the Hospital for $48.00 a week!. I put her small desk and filing cabinet for the patient’s records in the entry hall by the door. She was the first of many of the most compassionate nurses that worked with me. Most stayed for many years and left only when they had children or their husbands were transferred out of the area. Most of my patients came to regard them as their friend and for years after the nurse left continued to ask about them.

One day a young girl and her mother came rushing into the office.The girl while using the slicing machine in the family deli had cut off the extreme tip of a finger. The mother stayed in the waiting room while I, assisted by the nurse, repaired the wound.

When I went to tell the mother that everything would be okay, I found her lying on the floor, out cold. She had fainted. She was a greater problem then her daughter.

I had treated one of my patients, a young black man, who had pneumonia with ambulatory antibiotics. After examining in the office, I had discharged him as cured.

There were no other patients in the waiting room when he left. I remained sitting at my desk with the door to the reception area ajar. The outside door opened and this young man reentered and, knowing that I could hear, said to my nurse."I forgot to ask the doctor if I could play the clarinet now.” I called out " Clem,of course you can". "That's funny", he said,”I never could before".

I had fallen for an old saw and started laughing.Fifty years later, Clem and I still laughed at this joke.

Once I told the patient, who was not following my advice or taking his medication, that unless he did as I recommended he was wasting his money and my time. He never came back. I had lost a patient I could ill afford.

Twenty years later when he reappeared in my office with a serious illness.He told me that he had been afraid to come back since he was not complying with his treatment, and had seen other doctors. Because he felt that I was a superior physician, he had swallowed his pride and sought my help. He continued under my care for several more years ultimately passing away from intractable heart failure.

Among my patients was a family with two young boys. The older one had developed ileitis. I had referred the family to a GI specialist at Mt Sinai in NYC; however, his case had not only been missed diagnosed by them as ulcerative colitis but the treatment had resulted in a demanding invalid. The younger boy was uncontrollable, probably because his brother was receiving so much attention.

One day he along with his brother and his mother were in my consultation room, when I looked up and noticed that he had not only opened the door to the entry area, but had tied the window drapes' pull cords to the to the door knob. He was getting ready to slam the door closed when I stopped him. I do not think mother even scolded him.

One Italian family had several daughters. The eldest had severe mitral regurgitation a complication of rheumatic fever, which ultimately proved fatal. One of the other daughters was very obnoxious and nosey. Her younger but naive sister was able to conceal her several months pregnancy when married. Helen and I were invited to the family catered wedding.

A little over five months after the wedding towards the end of her 7th month, she phoned me hysterically complaining of severe pains in her stomach. Suspecting what was the problem,I immediately made a house call and had her transported to the hospital in active labor. I was her obstetrician, almost all physicians, even those who professed themselves to be surgeons, in the 50s delivered babies.

The baby boy weighed about 3 pounds and ultimately suffered from a hearing loss. Her older sister questioned me whether I thought that the baby had come too soon after marriage, i.e.: questioning if her sister had been pregnant before the wedding. I pointed out that the baby’s size showed he was premature which satisfied her curiosity.

There was an Irish foundry worker who lived on West 4th Street near Monroe Ave and was employed at Hoe’s. He developed severe urinary retention at work as the result of an enlarged prostate. Although in severe pain he walked about six miles from Middlesex to my office. I had the Muhlenberg ambulance (in the 50s the Hospital still provided ambulance services) transport him to the hospital for the Urologist to treat. In those days that particular surgery was not only crude and brutal,but, there was a prolonged painful period of recovery most often complicated by urinary tract infection.

Unless there are too many objections, I will continue with these excerpts.

To "semperfi"

In order to conserve space, rather than reprint semperfi's comment to my last "Next President" blog,I would ask you to read it there. I am printing my reply here.

Dear semperfi, Thank you for your comments. You are not being disrespectful. I have NO DOUBT about who will be the next President. I only hope that Obama will chose wisely for his key advisers and policy makers. The Pelosi group scares the devil out of me. Yet she will wield tremendous power the nest 2 years.

I do not completely fear a product of machine politics. Truman who came out of the Pendergast KC machine turned out to be one of our greatest Presidents.

It is youth and inexperience that I fear. Although Kennedy successfully practiced brinkmanship during the Cuban Missile Crisis that is no guarantee that the next adventurer will also weigh the consequences. There would not have been the situation for the Missile crisis if Kennedy had not botch the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

Biden's recent remarks about an immanent crisis after the election is probably 99% on the mark. I believe he was implying that his experience would save the day. I don't think that he meant that Obama would be incapable of reacting, but that he wanted to reassure us that he would be there for advice. Shades of Cheney!

If McCain were in that position, which he will not be, we would find out that he is NOT Bush.

Should I get personal?

There should be a time to stop being the last angry man and periodically write something light. Several years ago in a self egotistical mood I wrote a short remembrance of my WWII experiences for my children and grand children. It was at their request, honest, since this was the time that Brokaw was honoring the WWII generation. With ideas of grandeur I called it "Olddoc's War" and even obtained a copyright for it.

The Courier did print a portion of that document several years ago.

Subsequently I did about 60 pages of my sheltered life up to WWII which I titled "AGE OF NAIVETE". In many ways life in America and Plainfield before that war did reflect an universal innocence. The final 100+ pages are still in draft form. I had named what I called BookIII, "THE AGE of MATURITY". This dealt with my professional, social , and civic activities after the war. Either as part of this "book" as or a separate short booklet was a recounting of the trips that we took not only in America but also abroad. I titled this as 'Voyages of Discovery". When we started travelling in the late 50s we Americans were just beginning to find the world.

This leads up to the subject of today's blog; even though the contents of these writings were for personal purposes, would some be of interest to my readers?

A short excerpt follows. I would skip around to different subjects that I felt to be of interest. What is your opinion? I only need two yes comments.


Proffesional Life
When I returned from service, Helen and the two girls were living with my folks. We stayed there for several years. I first took a refresher course at Mt Sinai. I wanted to resume a Residency in Pediatrics, but due to the time of year for my separation from service, there were none available. All hospital internship and residency programs started in July after medical school graduations.

The GI Bill of Rights educational benefits had created preceptor ship programs financed by the government.Unfortunately, veterans returning earlier that fall had immediately filled all the worthwhile ones. There was still available a preceptor ship with a pediatric allergist in NYC associated with Beth-El hospital. I was offered the position, however it was apparent that he was only interested in someone to do all the “scut work”, while he benefited from the government GI education subsidy.

I was faced with a problem of supporting a wife and two children, so since my father wished to retire I assumed his practice. This is not always a good choice. When people have a choice of doctors, they choose the one with whom they feel comfortable. Father and son are never the same personalities, so it is a rule of thumb that between 1/3(33%) and 1/2 (50%) of the patients will be unhappy and drift elsewhere. After the first year as long as they stayed in the area, most became lifetime patients Some were still with me when I retired 45 years later.

This patient-physician relationship is the basis of good medicine. Unfortunately, since the advent of Medicare and the HMOs this type relationship has been destroyed in favor of which doctor your plan requires its subscribers to use. Dollars and cents now drive medical practice not patient welfare.

On the other hand, in those days when advertising in the media was unthinkable, there were periods when I was so inactive that I considered myself as a failure. I did become a member of the VFW and the Lions Club in an effort to become more widely known. I also began to pick up patients in my peer age group. I could not stand the VFW or the American Legion and soon left the veterans organizations.

I was only in practice for a little more than 6 months that first year, having taken a course at Mt.Sinai in NYC for six weeks while also looking for a residency program in Pediatrics.

I maintained strict records of every dollar I earned, and thought my books were good until after filing that year’s (1946) tax return the IRS audited me. The field auditor remarked that no doctor could make as little as I had reported, a little over $5000.00. When I protested, he said, “You mean you never forgot to enter a fee after a nighttime house call? I am going to penalize you $100.00 tax due. You can appeal this at the offices in Newark. He had a quota to make.

One of the senior surgeon boasted about the camera he had given an agent and had had no penalty imposed. Of course the one who had reviewed my taxes knew that I would not find it cost effective to be away from my practice long enough to appeal. The next year I had an accountant prepare my tax return, a policy that I still follow. I was only subject to an audit one more time, in1947 and since then the IRS has been satisfied with my records.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Next President

This was being in the process of being written for Wednesday when it appears that the infamous cyberworld terrorist or my cat hit a key and published it. I have done some proof reading and found some errors but also had no more to add. So if you didn't read it here it is again.

No I have not firmly committed myself for the next President. Note I did not say to vote for but the next President.

Diatribes such as Councilman Burney's in the Sunday Courier News have no impact. Repetitions of half truths and false accusations are obnoxious at best. When compounded by a media blitz made possible by an overwhelming financial advantage has a negative effect upon this voter.

Does Councilman Burney think that Obama as a product of the Chicago Machine political milieu is without taint? This is the machine that produced enough cemetery last minute votes to give JFK the needed Illinois electoral votes. The only difference is this is the next generation.

My gut feeling is that McCain would make a better President than Obama. I hate on job training in critical positions.

There is a problem, The president is not an "Island Unto Himself". His close advisers should be scrutinized as thoroughly as himself. As I* have said before McCain seems to have re embraced the dangerous ultra right that has seized control of sufficient portions of the Republican Party. His political obligations to that group will prevent him from initially being a complete "change". I think in time he will be able to disassociate himself from that wing.

Therefore I was happy to read about the reasoning that produced Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama. This comes from a man who not only should have been the Presidential Candidate, but has better credentials than Obama. Powell's concerns reflect mine and I am convinced that unlike others he is not influenced by race.

To go back to my "next President" remark. With two weeks left in the race, unless Obama's supporters commit a major gaffe, there is no way that McCain can overcome the economy curse. With a veto proof majority Congress, which had done nothing constructive this past two years, perhaps he will be given the opportunity for a constructive domestic policy. I hope he does not become captive to the Congressional Leaders.

Even with Biden to fall back upon I am worried about reactions to that infamous 3 AM phone call.

Once again we have a great opportunity to be both the actors in history and the viewers. Lets make the best of it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Our Money

The Council meeting as expected was short but was followed immoderately with a reconvened budget meeting. Unfortunately I was unable to stay for more than a few minutes.

There were 17 resolutions on the consent agenda, one to the reappointment of the Tax Collector, and one to confirm an inter-local agreement with Piscataway regarding Plainfield's share of the Rock Ave improvements. Councilman Candidate Mapp questioned where the financing would come from?

City Administrator Marc Dashield "clarified" the impact of the $1.6 typo revenue item in the proposed 2009 budget. On paper it will be made up by a $832,000.00 decrease in the " Expenditure Reserve Uncollected Taxes" plus a$831.000.00 increase(!) in Surplus Anticipated. Oh well numbers are numbers, but since the projected budget expenses were developed after arriving at a figure for income, there is going to have to be some real budgetary revisions.

I have previously suggest renegotiation's with the Unions, and trimming of some of the fat. A responder to Councilman Storch's blog added a suggestion that the employees contribute to part of their share cost for their comprehensive health insurance packages.

Some one will have to bite the bullet so that we will, have a workable , livable budget for 2009. There will be penny pinching.Bottles of water seems to be a luxury, rather than a necessity. A strict examining the line items marked consultants should produce positive results. If we have employees in job slots that they can not fill, either demote them or replace therm.

Perhaps our congressional leaders should be on the look out for a rebirth of the successful depression era program such as a WPA and for buildings the PWA. If they appear make a good lobby to rebuilt our streets. and Firehouse modifications to come up to code.

DID YOU KNOW?

This was sent to me from one of the people who pass along to a circle of recipients every item they receive . I am reproducing it because I never knew what the back of the Dollar Bill meant. I will bet none of you do either.



On the rear of the One Dollar bill, you will see two circles. Together, they comprise the Great Seal of the United States.

The First Continental Congress requested that Benjamin Franklin and a group of men come up with a Seal. It took them four years to accomplish this task and another two years to get it approved. If you look at the left-hand circle, you will see a Pyramid.

Notice the face is lighted, and the western side is dark. This country was just beginning. We had not begun to explore the west or decided what we could do for Western Civilization. The Pyramid is uncapped, again signifying that we were not even close to being finished.? Inside the capstone you have the all-seeing eye, an ancient symbol for divinity. It was Franklin 's belief that one man couldn't do it alone, but a group of men, with the help of God, could do anything.

IN GOD WE TRUST' is on this currency.

The Latin above the pyramid, ANNUIT COEPTIS, means,'God has favored our undertaking.

The Latin below the pyramid, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, means,a new order has begun.

At the base of the pyramid is the Roman Numeral for 1776. (MDCCLXXVI)

If you look at the right-hand circle, and check it carefully,

You will learn that it is on every National Cemetery in the United States . It is also on the Parade of Flags Walkway at the Bushnell, Florida National Cemetery , and is the centerpiece of most hero's monuments.? Slightly modified, it is the seal of the President of the United States , and it is always visible whenever he speaks, yet very few people know what the symbols mean.



The Bald Eagle was selected as a symbol for victory for two reasons:

  • First, he is not afraid of a storm; he is strong, and he is smart enough to soar above it.
  • Secondly, he wears no material crown. We had just broken from the King of England .
Also, notice the shield is unsupported. This country can now stand on its own. At the top of that shield you have a white bar signifying congress, a unifying factor. We were coming together as one nation. In the Eagle's beak you will read, 'E PLURIBU S UNUM ' meaning,'one from many.

Above the Eagle, you have thirteen stars, representing the thirteen original colonies, and any clouds of misunderstanding rolling away.
Again, we were coming together as one.

Notice what the Eagle holds in his talons. He holds an olive branch and arrows. This country wants peace, but we will never be afraid to fight to preserve peace. The Eagle always wants to face the olive branch, but in time of war,his gaze turns toward the arrows. They say that the number 13 is an unlucky number.

This is almost a worldwide belief. You will usually never see a room numbered 13, or any hotels or motels with a 13th floor. But think about this:

13 original colonies
13 signers of the Declaration of Independence
13 stripes on our flag
13 steps on the Pyramid,
13 letters in, 'Annuit Coeptis
13 letters in ' E PluribusUnum
13 stars above the Eagle
13 bars on that shield
13 leaves on the olive branch,
13 fruits
and if you look closely,
13 arrows

And finally, if you notice the arrangement of the 13 stars in the right-hand circle you will see that they are arranged as a Star of David. This was ordered by George Washington who, when he asked Hayim Solomon, a wealthy Philadelphia Jew, what he would like as a personal reward for his services to the Continental Army, Solomon said he wanted nothing for himself but that he would like something for his people. The Star of David was the result. Few people know that it was Solomon who saved the Army through his financial contributions but died a pauper.


I always ask people, 'Why don't you know this?' Your children don't know this, and their history teachers don't know this. Too many veterans have given up too much to ever let the meaning fade. Many veterans remember coming home to an America that didn't care. Too many veterans never came home at all.

Share this page with everyone, so they can learn what is on the back of theUNITED STATES ONE DOLLAR BILL and what it stands for!