Mid-Winter Reasons to Smile

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


A lot to report for your consideration and action. The weather! The Our Town Thanks You (OTTY) Award event. Ethical Culture forum on saving print newspapers, featuring the book The Death and Life of American Journalism. Support its plans to enliven print newspapers, upon which our very democracy depends. Support Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s related bill.

Making snowy and windy weather safe for the not-so-sure-footed means able-bodied people looking out for those are not. Related is Council Member Jessica Lappin, who is now head of the City Council’s Committee on Aging. Elder-related, too, is Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development, where its head, Dr. Rosanne Liepzig, is uniquely aware that “eldercare” requires the teamwork of doctors and patients’ families. She may even intervene when existing families don’t do enough.

And here’s to wearing visuals, like my “Smile!” cap and Minneapolis Star newspaper handbag, a wistful farewell tribute to the morning Star daily that was absorbed by the afternoon paper. If only those handbags had been given out earlier to save it. Editors and columnist must really beat that drum to save print newspapers. Ever wish the Internet hadn’t been invented? Maybe TV and non-
emergency cell-phoning too?

But no comments on my “Smile!” cap, or the Star handbag; when you’re innately shy and also can’t get around very easily, you can be overlooked.

Our Town named Matilda Raffa Cuomo East Sider of the Year, mostly for her mentoring and educational work with children. But I commend her for coming over during the OTTY event to talk to two white-haired women with canes who were standing against the wall for support. She gave us more than a perfunctory hello. So did two other OTTY recipients, Jeff Gold, whom we know well, and Marjorie Wilson, who somehow remembered me as a patient at Beth Israel North, where she volunteered.

The ceremony’s greatest applause went to Loretta Ponticello for decades of civic involvement, including her recent work in saving the Cherokee Post Office. But let’s hear more about this vigorous elder’s decades of looking out for elder residents in her no-doorman, walk-up apartment complex.

Civic friend and neighbor Ruth S. and I were fortunate to have a concerned doorman help us into a cab to the event. But we two cane-carrying found getting out at Mount Sinai, at East 98th Street and Madison Avenue, a bit scary, thanks to wind gusts and no doormen. As for getting home around 9:30 p.m., when three of New York’s Finest were heading for the exit door, I jokingly asked, “Hey, you wouldn’t have a police car outside, would you?”

“Nope,” they smiled and hurried off, not thinking these two elders could use help getting a cab. This column, incidentally, has always been a strong police supporter.

Yes, we managed, but not without some “boarding stress.” I’m also a white-knuckled cab rider who never seems to get the seat belt buckled. But unlike so many elders and otherwise disabled persons, we both have doormen to help us safely disembark and get into our lobbies.

Incidentally, I left a reproachful message on the 19th Precinct’s relations’ answering machine. But consciousness needs to be raised, and to the fact that many elders’ fear of falling precludes their input at civic meetings and events held after dark. Lack of Internet access further disenfranchises.

Again, heartfelt thanks to all the OTTY winners for making this a more livable city. And thank you for suggestions on how to help overcome the commonplace but critical “oversights” I’ve noted here in this community weekly, which also needs our utmost support—and thanks!

dewingbetter@aol.com

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