Saturday, February 28, 2015


External factors caused Friday to slip by too soon. There will be a delay in the continuation of  my 30s recollections. I may post later Saturday but I doubt it. This subject may be on the docket Monday, or if weather Monday permits me to go to the Council meeting, not before Wednesday.

Also late Friday I received the Agenda for Monday's Council Agenda Session. I have not had the time to digest the resolutions and  ordinances up for approval for the business session. There is once again an Ordinance for First reading creating the Motor Manager position. I have not read it but will comment Sunday on the Agenda.

Friday, February 27, 2015


In trying to be brief about my second half of the 30s decade I am running into difficulty because there are so many anecdotes that I wish to relate.

I did not like this format:

  1. 1936: off to college, had picture taken with Lady Aster. 
  2. Second year; Randall Hall, spring project involved town girls.
  3. Next four years lived in same room on East Range, dated student nurses, met Helen, my fourth year was start of Medical School. 
  4. Graduation Speaker from college was FDR who gave a now famous policy speech the day after Italy declared war on France.

Suffice to say, in 1936 I became a “self-reliant individual”  for the first time in my life away from home, at the University of Virginia.

I have many stories of my first two years, the first one spent in one of the mandatory First Year Student Dorms; the second year in Randall Hall a very heterogeneous group embracing all schools including graduate as well as under graduate, and the followingt four plus in the same room on the East Range.

It was at the end of my third year that I decided I was wasting my parent’s money and applied for Medical School. Much to the chagrin of my 4th year college friends who had also applied and had not heard from the Dean, I was accepted immediately after my interview.

It was also at the end of that third year that I met Helen who later became my wife for 68 years; but that too deserves a few words.

I will note that Charlottesville was rather isolated and only disable (usually as a result of polio) First Year Students could have a car. Much of our social life revolved around the Saturday night Dances at the Frye Springs Studio, a “road house” frequented by local girls and those from the nearby countryside. Not too much fun for one with three left feet.

Over the next few days with time out for Council and other stuff, I am going to anecdote and amplify about these happy years. That may take more space and time then I originally intended.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


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Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I did not post for Wednesday because Tuesday evening was a disturbed one. At 5 pm a PSE&G person came to my door and wanted to check my basement. That would be difficult since my house and others on the east side of Knollwood were built on slabs over fill land.

This was the day they were showing video of the house at the shore being demolished  in a gas explosion, so you can guess that I was not happy when he told me that there was a gas leak on Knollwood (right opposite  my house). Although my gas line comes from Cushing, he water and sewer lines go out to Knollwood right where the “leak” was. Gas has been known to travel along utility lines into a building.

About 6 months ago PSE&G had apparently repaired a leak in that area. 

This time they dug and worked throughout the night; the last time I was up was 3:30 AM and they were still there, but were gone at 7am leaving a 
 big hole along the side of Knollwood until about 4pm Wednesday when they filled it. I am not sure if there was any surface patching.

I must assume that all the houses on Knollwood except mine were without heat since I cannot imagine them working on a functioning gas line.

I was working on my second decade, and though it needs some revisions this is the first of two parts:

Decade two was marked in the first half by the impact of the Great Depression. It had some impact on all of our lives but that is the subject of another blog.

For a teenager life was one of school and after school games and home for dinner. We played unsupervised sandlot football and baseball in season as well as sports, swimming and clubs at the JCC or YMHA, and YMWA.

There were two fields on the corners of Seventh and Grant as well as Vanderveer's at Lee and Seventh, one behind Hubbard School and another one on Sherman Ave near the South Plainfield line. Occasionally we played against some “eastsiders” in the Kenyon Gardens.

There was a swimming hole of faint memory in the Second Brook in North Plainfield.

The coaster brake bike was our mode of transportation and ventures out to Hadley to see the planes the autogiro and the Bell Trimotor Ford were frequent trips. In New Market there was a half mile dirt track and the races could be watched from the trees. There also was a “Mafia Roadhouse” at the end of Grant Ave in South Plainfield and a trotter’s track nearby.

But life was still one of innocence, marked by such events as when about a dozen of us staged a sit-in in the High School Principals Office protesting the firing of a popular athletic teacher,  Bill Cook(?).

Yes we as a “gang” walked to High School  picking up numbers along the way and after school the process was reversed. This was always a congenial experience.

There were of course the social active crowd but as one who had two left feet I did not even know what girls were for. Of course often as small groups we would entertain the mysteries of the female body. Although the National Geographic was desired (required) reading because of its pictures of “native women” with exposed breasts, the female nether parts were a mystery and open to discussion from some who had sisters.

For this youngster the first half of the 30s was an age of true innocence. That was until September 1936; when I was placed on the B&O train in Plainfield to go to a place I had never seen, the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. That was the start of what to this day due to its lack of true responsibility for others; the best seven years of life. (To continue.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Thank You

To all who sent me birthday greetings; thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

To those who added flattery; I must admit that I truly enjoyed your words. Who would not? But; it will only get you the same  "THANK YOU". Please, just once more tell me how great I am, I might believe you.

Since no one asked how I have managed to reach belated middle age; I will not tell you that it was by eating no red meat, not smoking, nor what ever the TV experts tell us to do. No, I did not even follow the advice that I used to give patients.

Seriously, I have always like a balanced meal with vegetables** as well as the meat/sea food-potatoes basics. Fresh fruit has always been a staple item. I do eat junk foods, so dietary habits can not be an answer.

It could be in the genes, my parents lived into their eighties. However the family has lots of health baggage such as a tendency for Cancer and Type II Diabetes s well as Glaucoma; so that is not the whole story.
I never was a real cigarette smoker, but always liked a pipe and still have  a dormant collection including one a village priest gave me in Belgium during WWII. But I haven't smoke in 20 years because it bothered my wife who had to stop when she had  the Flue.

The truth is that I must have some cat in me and have used up at least 7 of my lives. I firmly believe that someone likes me and is watching over me as there have been too  many close calls not only during the war but also in civilian life.

Whatever it is I will gladly accept, and keep on  blogging and auditing Council meetings.

** Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Spinach are favorites, and my stews always include Turnips and Parsnips.

Monday, February 23, 2015


I must be getting senile or why I have trouble balancing my check book. I wrote "eight decades" when I should and meant "nine and a half".

This is my "Birthday Cake" by Ruth and Andy.

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Company overnight--do not expect a blog Tuesday ;perhaps late afternoon at best.


Yes Dan, another waypost today on the journey through life. Overall it has been an enjoyable journey,  one with more pluses than minuses.

All the negatives have mostly been of my own doing, not someone else’s fault. Yes there have been bad “incidents” caused by others but one of the meanings of Yom Kippur is to first request one's forgiveness to others for the sins they have done to you.**

If anyone may wonder why I am able to write this after eight (It really is nine) and a half decades of being here; the only answer that I can think of is that the good advice that I have given patients should have been worded “Do as I tell you, not as I do”. For the last two decades I can also thank the Plainfield Council. If you would attend Council meetings you would understand why.

Needless to say the secret for a long life is to enjoy every sunrise and every sunset; to be sorry for but not regret the mistakes you made, understanding that if you had the choice again under similar circumstances it would be the same.

Among the good things of my life is the fact that after all these years my children still talk to and confide in me. That despite the fact that as a parent I would have been guilty of what is known today as child abuse; my kids got spanked, some times on the bare butt, if and when they deserved it. None of this "Spock time out". His post war influence is probably the biggest cause for the present generation's youth problems.

Some remembrances of the past decades:
First decade: got born in house on corner of 4th and Grant Ave. The heat was steam from a (soft?) coal burning furnace that had to be banked at night and the ashes shaken down every night. Do any of you remember coal heat or how to take care of the furnace?

Occasionally there were sparks from that coal up the chimney.

Once when I was about four one of those sparks set the roof on fire.  My parents had "live-in" help from Jamaica. We were eating breakfast when she informed us that the “fire brigade” was outside the house. At that time there was an engine stationed on 4th Street opposite Darrow Ave. a block away.

Our pet was an Airedale a very protective dog who would not let the firemen into the house. To make a short story short the fire was rapidly extinguished with only damage to the roof. The wood shingles were replaced with hard asbestos shingles that lasted for over forty years. Incidentally all the pipes in the basement were covered with asbestos as was the furnace.  

Other remembrances of that first decade were Washington School. The trolley on 4th St. and our Don Juan Heinz Hound Rex. Some heavy snows and being towed around the block behind our car; imagine that happening today.

The Twenties were happy care free days, houses were never locked except at night. In 1929 before the crash my parents bought a house on Schroon Lake with about a ½ mile of shore front and spent their summers there until the late 50s. My father would spend all August there.

Over the next few days I will blog a little more about each decade of memories. The good stuff only of course.  

** The prayer: “I hereby forgive all who have hurt me, all who have done me wrong, deliberately or by accident, whether by word or by deed. May no one be punished on my account. As I forgive and pardon fully those who have done me wrong, may those whom I have harmed forgive and pardon me, whether I acted deliberately or by accident, whether by word or deed. Wipe away my sins, O Lord, with your great mercy. May I not repeat the wrongs I have committed. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, my Rock and my Redeemer.”