Saturday, January 28, 2017


I wrote some time ago that I like to read obituaries, stories of ordinary people who have led rich, meaningful lives. There were two this past week which were especially of that sort. One of the people I knew, the other I wish I had known.
I was drawn to a picture of a sweet looking, round faced woman. She was born in 1917' dying at the beginning and f her hundredth year. Her name was Sadie. She was born in Ireland, lost her mother when she was eight, and helped with her younger siblings until her father remarried. Her stepmother was a kind and loving person, and the family grew. When WWII broke out, Sadie volunteered with the ambulance service and became a trained first aid provider. She met an American G.I., and they married, staying on in Ireland for a couple of years. Then she sailed across the Atlantic with him and their first child.
The writer of the obituary tells of the effects of the trauma of war, and the marital struggle that resulted in divorce. Sadie by then had two little girls, and was living in barracks that had been converted into apartments, in a town in the northern, rather isolated part of the county. She got a job at a small rubber factory, and, until she was able to afford a car, she walked to work. She eventually bought a house, and when the rubber company closed, she took a job at Hiram College as a housekeeper, working there until she was eighty. Apparently she never remarried, raising her two daughters on her own.
When she died last week, she left many descendants, down to great-great grandchildren. The writer tells how Sadie would hold and kiss the infants, giving them an Irish blessing. An extraordinary woman. One thing was not in the obituary, perhaps because the writer may not have been aware of it: Had Sadie come to American sixty years earlier, she would have found on most places of employment this sign " NO IRISH NEED APPLY." Immigrant bias is not new, only being revived.
The other obit was for T. N.  Bhargava, who came to America  from India for graduate school.. He came to Kent State University, a newly minted Ph.D in mathematics. I met him and his then wife Rama at a Thanksgiving dinner, the week after the JFK. assassination. I remember that he was shocked that the usual college football games were going to go on as usual after such a national tragedy.  T.N. was  larger than life even then. He always carried himself like a soldier, straight posture,  chin up. He had a good sense of humor and  natural dignity.
He literally dived into both the town and academic communities. He brought international scholars to the university. He became involved in social and charitable institutions, serving on boards for the library and mental leather institutions. Over the years he contributed his time, his money and his expertise to a wide variety of f projects. We traveled in the same group that f friends and acquaintances, and I always enjoyed seeing him. He enriched the lives of so many people I'm the city
as well as the lucky students he nurtured. He has left quite a legacy.
These two immigrants led different lives, but both left their homes far away and made lives here that have enhanced their new country, and honored us with their presence.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How's It Hangin'.

The short answer is "Not so good." It started with a sore throat shortly after I sat getting my teeth cleaned for about an hour. Two days later, naturally on a Saturday, my throat was really hurting. We have these neat little things called Minute Clinics at the local CVS pharmacies, so that's where John drove me. You can even sign in ahead of time online so you don't have to wait in line. I wanted to make sure that I didn't have strep. The NP did a swab, and it wasn't strep. Told me if it didn't get better to come back in a couple of days to make sure that the lab came up with the same result.
Two days later it still hurt like crazy, so I went back to CVS. The lab had also found no strep. The NP, however, told me that my uvula was very swollen and that I should go to an Urgent Care place, the clisest of which is in a city about 6 miles north of here. We weren't even sure it would be open on account of MLK Day, but it was. And I signed in and joined the queue.
When I finally got to see a doctor he looked into my throat and informed me that I had uvulitis. Never heard the term. Sounds like some kind of female STD. IT's that dangly thing in your throat. It's one of those words like "aiglet" that show up in crossword puzzles. He prescribed a steroid and gave me a breathing  treatment because I was getting wheezy, which sometimes happens when I have any kind of upper respiratory infection.
There was another medical visit and I am on antibiotics and more steroids, but the old uvula is back to its normal size. It's the usual sinus drainage aggravating my lung and all, but at least I picked up a nifty new word:"uvulitis." No sex is involved.