Disability and Elderly Issues

1971 birthday letter to my father

Disability and Elderly Issues

If by Rudyard Kipling

In 1964 my mother Miriam met a man at a convention in the Catskills for Hebrew educators. They fell in love instantly and decided to marry

.Oscar shortly after became my third stepfather. At the time I was a sophomore at Cheltenham High School in suburban Philadelphia. As seemed typical of my development toward adulthood ( and through nearly all my adulthood) I encountered each stage of growing up as a distraught soap opera character.

Oscar had a brilliant mind and was fluent in many languages including French, German, Yiddish, Hebrew and Aramaic. When it came to people, however, he was not so good. Mother and I had lived in Elkins Park, PA. During Mother and Oscar’s courtship, Mother and I drove in her red Ford from suburban Philly to Yonkers where Oscar was educational director for a nearby synagogue.

My first trip to Yonkers was with Oscar and me alone where we disliked each other immediately. On the wall of his apartment was a framed version of If by Rudyard Kipling. Although the Nobel Prize Committee of Literature regarded Kipling well, my first and forever view of Kipling was / is contempt. I immediately expressed contempt which Oscar did not share. Oscar bet me five dollars that I could not memorize If by the end of the weekend visit. Fortunately or unfortunately ( the poem still haunts me at dark times) I won the bet. It was a Pyrric victory.

Disability and Elderly Issues

Grandfather (that’s me) relocating to NYC to save my life at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


It is New Year’s Eve. I am now a resident in room 822B of the Queens NewYork Regal Heights Nursing Home and Physical Rehab Center. I am freaking out a bit. Writing about architeture.

Meanwhile, in the bed next to me is a 90 year old man who cannot speak.The good news is I will not die of the coronavirus in rural Williamsport The last time I checked on October 20th my primary care physician had not been tested. The good news is that I have escaped whqt is now a major hot spot and am in NYC.Despite the lingerng remembrance of New York City as the most dangerous spot in the US, there are now empty hospital beds here.

Physicians and hospital aides who are gloved, masked, and sheilded beyond recognition are tested daly. In the two weeks I have been here, I have received 6 Copid tests all negative. One due tomorrow. Next week there is a good chance I will receive the vaccine. Pfizzer. I need money to be safe. Please send $18 or more.Right now, I am awaiting surgery to remove a tumor over my left kidney at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

The odds are decent that when Dr. Russo removes it the tumor will be benign.Eight years ago, Dr. Russo removed a cancerous tumor over my right kidney and put my kidney back together. Better be safe than sorry.My fourth grandchld is due at the end of March. Apparently (who knew?) I am the kind of guy who will go to great lengths

Disability and Elderly Issues

Why I relate ending hunger in US America to writing about my cancer survival for The New York Times

The current shameful problem that children are starving in US America because they are poor is easily solved

Ending hunger in US America is easily solvable

Hunger in America was easily solvable 44 years ago when I published “Food Stamp Program, As It Is, Has Very Few Friends” in the NYT News of the Week section on April 18, 1976.

The current shameful problem that children are starving in US America because they are poor is easily solved.
Give poor families money. Not some money. A lot of money.

That year, I published two other pieces in The New York Times. One on my radiation treatment for cancer. The other, “The Sheep Squadron” described the US Labor Department certifying the importation of sheep herders from the Basque Region of Spain to herd sheep thousands of miles away in Idaho.

Bizarrely relevant to my country’s failure to feed children was  “A New Lease on Life” my report on the worst of radiation treatment to cure  a form of cancer largely and incorrectly regarded as a death sentence.  

” I am 28 years old and I have cancer. Anger comes before anything else. There are times that the anger becomes overwhelming, turns to frustrated rage because there is no one to be angry at. I can curse God, which I’ve done many times, but it is unsatisfying because God doesn’t shout back. Crying helps.”

My experience with cancer combined (for want of a better word) with  my expertise with The Politics of Food (title of my book in the subject) has made clear: Life is too valuable not to feed every human being on the planet (which we have the ability but not the will to do).

Even before my hair grew back at the hideously unattractive radiation caused bald spot at the back of my head, I published the following: “Supporters of these bills maintain that the hungry can best be served by taking those not truly poor off food stamps. They argue that the program, which now has no limit on the gross income that can be earned by recipients, is subject to abuse. They are particularly irked because about 5 percent of the recipients are students, whom they contend should not be eligible. ‘If Congress wants an income transfer system,’ one Congressional aide remarked, ‘it should have the opportunity to vote for one.’” 

From my perspective 44 years later Congress should be ashamed of itself for not urgently sending money to the poor.

Then and only then:

#Eliminate food stamps.

#Stop spending an unnecessary fortune on a backdoor method of increasing the birth weight of infants through the cumbersome Women Infants and Children program.

#Provide our Native Americans living in desolation money rather than continuing to use a separate inefficient food distribution system.

# End food banks.

 Wonderful as are the employess of food banks, supermarkets and grocery stores do a far more efficient job of distributing our country’s agricultural abundance.

Let me single out here Giant Foods at the shopping center in rural Lycoming County PA where abundance is mind numbing and which is the shopping destination of my electric wheel chair.

Trust me, there are very few Jews here in Williamsport PA, a town of 28,000. Yet,  my Giant has a plentiful supply of borscht. 




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This is Part II of my Hate and Love The New York Times Series with appreciation to Catallus who wrote in circa 65 BC “Odi et Amo.”