It Still Takes a Village

Written by admin on . Posted in Dewing Things Better, On Topic OTDT, Opinion and Column.


How could I not begin with an account of the seventh annual 9/11 memorial service, held around a memorial tree opposite 530 E. 84th St.? Thankfully arranged since 2002 by former East 84th Street Block Association president Judith Cutler, more than a dozen people reverently gathered there one windy, rainy morning.

Assembly Member Micah Kellner was so grateful to see a printed notice on his way to work that morning so he could join us and remember especially, but not only, his friend Hubbell, who perished on that most tragic and horrific of days. Neighbors of a woman not present this year recalled how she not only lost her son on 9/11, but soon after her husband died—“It was believed from a broken heart.”

Remembered was a lost father and son; the father working on the Twin Towers’ first floor rushed up to help his son working on an upper floor. No greater love than a father’s or mother’s, and rarely is grief so deep and enduring when it is felt for a lost son or daughter.

After singing, “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America,” we greeted one another quietly with, “See you next year and, hopefully, before.” How could I not write about that!

Not unrelated is Grandparents’ Day, which fell two days later on Sept. 13. Too little is said about grandparents and their lasting love for their grandchildren, as well as their grief should one be lost. Too little is said about how important they can be to a grandchild’s well-being (not only the young ones), and to their well-being as well. (Don’t forget nurturing aunts, uncles, cousins—and in-laws!)

But consciousness needs raising about hearing so little about the grandmother in the White House, and also that belittling “Granny” term used when saying Medicare cuts do or don’t mean “pulling the plug on Granny.” The more respectful “grandmother” word still excludes the many non-grandparent elders. Indeed, “elders” is the generally preferred term, and the president knows the importance of terms—of names.

And he surely knows the importance of grand-parenting, since his primary childhood caregiver was his maternal grandmother. Speaking of health care, extended family interdependence is natural preventive medicine and a source of shared care giving for those who will need it.

Many elders still write “real letters,” which underscores the importance of saving the Cherokee Post Office on York Avenue, an issue that drew a standing-room-only crowd at the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association meeting. We all should all write real letters—big time—to deepen relationships and help save our post office and U.S. Postal Service.

“Electronic mail is the foremost cause for the postal service’s financial crisis,” said the meeting’s three postal service guest speakers. They were impressed by the huge number of petitions received to save Cherokee, which serves not only the most densely populated city area, but it’s the one with the most elder residents. Association members are key figures in this all-out drive which has all-out support from elected officials. They are trying…

But we wish those who “came for the post office” had stayed to learn about a serial knife-wielding robber attacking lone men entering unattended apartment buildings late at night.

We wish they’d also learned about 85 East End Ave. tenants’ desperate efforts to save their homes, which are located in the part of the building the Brearley School wants to convert into classrooms. Losing one’s cherished home is often a loss second only to losing a beloved person.

Attention must be paid—to building “the village it takes”—to make a just, caring, non-violent and G-rated society.


dewingbetter@aol.com

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