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The Spork parents married at a deeply serious time.  And yet — the father/grandfather was a local newspaper reporter.  So the paper published a souvenir issue — unknown how many copies — after removing the headline and at least two photographs.

Hitler’s demands on Poland still appear.

Incalculable suffering happened during those years.  People in the US were still hoping the war would stay overseas, and so there was levity on a very dark day.

As for this Spork’s parents — they left for their honeymoon at Acadia on Mt. Desert, Maine, and then to Orleans on Cape Cod.  They read no newspapers and learned of Hitler’s invasion of Poland after they returned home some time after September 1.

It’s an odd bit of family history: the horrors of this particular war not lost on a couple of newlyweds, but awareness postponed and thus allowing adventures in two of their favorite places.  Places they took pains to introduce their children to over the next 60 years.

Eastern Niagara Hospital in Newfane (Niagara County) NY.

Spork’s Letter to the Editor of the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal speaks to what she believes is behind the ad placed in the same issue of the paper.

Do not take anything you read in the ad at face value.

And particularly:  Think about the plan to have an Emergency Service in a facility with a “D” rating from Leapfrog in patient safety, nearly 20 minutes from the nearest inpatient bed if one should be needed.

Think about the mentality of the person who took pains to assure the community that the ER will be staffed by physicians, implying that physicians in an ER are an extra.

Note that for the past two days, everyone at the Lockport facility aka the surviving facility has been drinking bottled water after Legionella bacteria were discovered in the hospital’s water lines.  But, “there is no outbreak” in the same announcement that noted a case of Legionnella in the hospital.

The hospital spokesperson never mentioned which facility is affected — Lockport or Newfane.

http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/water-use-retrictions-in-effect-at-eastern-niagara-hospital-20140823

The hospital system’s website was silent about the water problem.

The hospital system’s website does not mention patient safety.

Our advice:  Do not get sick in Niagara County, NY.

A Tale of Two Grandfathers and Wartime Security in WW I

The Sporks had a bunch of grandfathers and this is a story about two of them: Spork Major’s grandfather and Spork Minor’s Grandfather. Not surprisingly, since the Sporks are related, the two grandfathers were as well — Father and Son.

William J Deed, Jr. was the father of Robert F Deed. WJD was a naval architect, so when WW I came along, he built sub chasers at a boatyard in Clayton, NY. Robert F Deed was 4 years old at the time.

The boatyard was off limits to the public, guarded by armed men at night, and most of the construction took place in a huge shed built close to the water.

When a reporter from The Watertown Daily Times came calling, there was not much that the Navy guy (WJD) could say:

[T]he United States is engaged in a real war and we must realize that in order to win we must fight it out in the best way possible; and one important thing to do is to keep the enemy as ignorant as possible regarding our implements of warfare. They may get the information through their spy system, but we shall have the satisfaction of knowing we did not hand it out to them.—Watertown Daily Times, Wednesday Afternoon, July 18, 1917

CLAYTON BUILDS U-BOAT CHASERS

Good Progress Made on Four Boats

Naval Officer’s Story

What a surprise, then, to come upon a drawing, nearly 100 years later of a boat by “Robert, Nov 7” with “17” written above the month and day. These notations are in adult hand.

This would make the artist 4 1/2 years old and might serve to explain the difficulty of deciphering his handwriting, which reads “Subchaser 337.”

The artist was a future journalist, and so apparently cutting his teeth early on the need for precision, included a label for his subject, which was built in that shed, off limits to the public, but not, apparently, off limits to little boys.

Sub chaser 337 appears on an index of boats built for the Navy in WW I.

http://www.shipbuildinghistory.com/history/smallships/pc1.htm

The boat’s wartime service and a photo of the boat, mostly obscured by a boat next to it, appears in the public archives. The official photo provides considerably less detail than Robert’s drawing, it should be noted.

http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/150337.htm

Sub chaser 337 was launched a month after Robert made his drawing.  We don’t know what use it might have been to the enemy if the enemy had thought to search a little boy’s room.

I was entranced by Jack Kerouac as so many are beginning in high school. Kerouac’s writing went well as a balance to a strait-laced upbringing.

This video uses one of Kerouac’s Buddhist texts in a near-commercial way.

But, I like it even though some of the transitions give me a jolt.

We’ve had a sudden appearance of a wheelbarrow load of rocks and dirt in our compost heap — and we are actively seeking the culprit who wheeled her or his load of dirt 20-100 feet into our yard to make this deposit and mess up our compost.  Who knows what was in this dirt?  How annoying is it?

It appears that this corruption of our soil is a repeat of an unfortunate episode deep in my family’s past.  And I have to say, our esteemed ancestor was none too happy about his experience either.

This is what he wrote July 21st 1869:

Things are growing finely all except sweet Corn — That seems stunted — Fault of manure — got Aaron to misx that poudrette and he ruined it.

Notice that he named names — and I am not.

Patient Safety Day 2014
At a recent meeting with staff of a local hospital, I mentioned that our conversation, of course, occurs in the context of the fact that we all have to die some time.  The Chief Medical Officer immediately responded, Yes, but in our time, not before our time.  That’s what we aim for here: That our patients do not die before their time.There are facts about this hospital that convince me the CMO is not simply saying what I want to hear.  The hospital is making huge strides in creating a safer place for patients, and there is both dissatisfaction within administration about safety levels and a determination to do something about safety to make things better.A breath of fresh air, certainly.Speaking of which, yesterday morning we discovered a single specimen of Helen’s pinks.  She grew them for years in her gardens in Bowmansville, NY.  After her death, her sons and daughters each took seeds, and we all planted them in our gardens.  But after several years, they disappeared.This year – a sign of hope dare I think?  That single pink, heavy with brilliant blooms, so that even the casual gardener noticed.Helen Suckow grew up on a farm, toughened by life and weather, in a place with a street named after her farming ancestors.  She dwelt in fact, laced with ties to family, the tiny community around her, and church.She spent the last several years of her life in an assisted care facility and eventually a nursing home, and she had the courage to make the decision herself to leave her home for a more protective environment.That is why I write about her today:  Hers is one of the stories that worked out well.  Hers is a story that needs to be commonplace instead of exceptional.The continued care from assisted living to nursing home was seamless, and lined with caring staff, comfortable, attractive surroundings, and attention to her wishes regarding end or life care.When her time came, there were no heroic (undesired) measures, and she died in her own bed with family present.So, my wish is for more of us to die in our own time and with suffering minimized.

Patient Safety Day 2014

At a recent meeting with staff of a local hospital, I mentioned that our conversation, of course, occurs in the context of the fact that we all have to die some time.  The Chief Medical Officer immediately responded, Yes, but in our time, not before our time.  That’s what we aim for here: That our patients do not die before their time.

There are facts about this hospital that convince me the CMO is not simply saying what I want to hear.  The hospital is making huge strides in creating a safer place for patients, and there is both dissatisfaction within administration about safety levels and a determination to do something about safety to make things better.

A breath of fresh air, certainly.

Speaking of which, yesterday morning we discovered a single specimen of Helen’s pinks.  She grew them for years in her gardens in Bowmansville, NY.  After her death, her sons and daughters each took seeds, and we all planted them in our gardens.  But after several years, they disappeared.

This year – a sign of hope dare I think?  That single pink, heavy with brilliant blooms, so that even the casual gardener noticed.

Helen Suckow grew up on a farm, toughened by life and weather, in a place with a street named after her farming ancestors.  She dwelt in fact, laced with ties to family, the tiny community around her, and church.

She spent the last several years of her life in an assisted care facility and eventually a nursing home, and she had the courage to make the decision herself to leave her home for a more protective environment.

That is why I write about her today:  Hers is one of the stories that worked out well.  Hers is a story that needs to be commonplace instead of exceptional.

The continued care from assisted living to nursing home was seamless, and lined with caring staff, comfortable, attractive surroundings, and attention to her wishes regarding end or life care.

When her time came, there were no heroic (undesired) measures, and she died in her own bed with family present.

So, my wish is for more of us to die in our own time and with suffering minimized.

Sometimes, something comes along that is simply too enticing to keep to yourself, such as this photograph from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (NY) in 1905.Picture this next to a high school class picture of today.
Grandmother is seated, first row on the left.
Turns out that of six siblings (including a half-sibling) in her father’s generation, there are no descendants continuing the line for five of them.
And then, Surly Man asks, Well, which line has descendants?
And I respond, Am I a ghost?

Sometimes, something comes along that is simply too enticing to keep to yourself, such as this photograph from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (NY) in 1905.

Picture this next to a high school class picture of today.

Grandmother is seated, first row on the left.

Turns out that of six siblings (including a half-sibling) in her father’s generation, there are no descendants continuing the line for five of them.

And then, Surly Man asks, Well, which line has descendants?

And I respond, Am I a ghost?

Is this how it begins?

Is this how it begins?
Not saying something bad has happened here
but if it did ‒- How would you know?

Is it because you are so old
or so fatigued with waiting
that all you want to do is
Leave
that you don’t notice the missing
information
and you don’t think
even though you are well-trained to think
(but you are not employed at this time)
anything of it?

No doctor’s name
No diagnosis
No codes

Is this not an invitation to bad events
Even if you do not know
they may
or may not
have happened.

You will not know
what happened
until the report arrives
from Medicare
and your secondary insurer

And then
if you are merely charged a few dollars
for something that never happened
after two insurers have paid the provider
(bigger bucks)

Will you notice then
Or will you simply pay the small remainder

perhaps ‒- just as the other 2,000 patients
in the practice
who are also
too old
too sick
too busy
to give it a thought

And if you ask
And they say
It was all a Mistake
Will you believe that, too?