“Sergey, Sergey” — He luvs you —— both!!

Preface: From a very, very, very happy dinner party to a claim of “almost treason” — as you might guess, this blog covers a few different subjects. I did try to blend them together — hope you readers understand and enjoy!! (If not, comment and tell me!) My mind, sometimes, has so many thoughts racin’ through it — that I cannot type fast enough — I stop and scribble on a tablet nearby (and, later, cannot decipher the hieroglyphics) in the hope that I can pick up the thought in a later paragraph!! Sure glad that daughter of mine got me started. Can’t thank her enough — but you came to read this blog; so ……….

Saturday evenin’ was very special in our family!! But I want to mention what happened previously!! A couple of weeks before, my son Gary had flown to Scotland — along with our grandson Jacob (a recent grad from Harvard U)! Gary had departed Los Angeles and was joined by his son at the New York airport for the final leg to Glasgow. It was quite a long trip for Gary; but good father (and a bit tired) that he is — after they rented a car and drove north (for awhile) to their hotel, they immediately headed for their first round of golf in Scotland. The two of them had a spectacular father/son week-long golf vacation — and graduation present for Jacob — even playin’ a round or so — at Trump’s International Golf Links on Scotland’s west shore. Gary managed to find a way to have his son play a round at the most famous Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland. It normally has about a 6-month wait list, and it’s where they play the British Open (now every 5 years)!! That’s what I call a real good dad — and he’s our son!!

The point I wanted to make was that we celebrated Father’s Day last evenin’ (Saturday night) — since Gary was in Scotland on June 18th and only returned to Los Angeles last Tuesday evenin’!! I get to pick where we go on both Father’s Day and my birthday — and it’s always Le Petit Bistro — a relatively small café  with mirrored walls, oozin’ with the charm of a “rive-gauche-eatery” and a fair-priced, full-bodied French menu. Gary came with his current lady friend along with daughter Susan and hubby Corey!! I indulged myself with a crispy-duck main course while the wife had their fantastic entrecote (red/rare) with frites. She had her fav crepe suzette dessert while I punished myself with crème brulee!! While we gorged on our desserts — the “kids” were discussin’ the U.S. Senate’s (Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s) newly released pitiful effort for a replacement to the Affordable Care Act!! And with son-in-law Corey, havin’ read the entire future (?) law, generated by a “men’s club” in the US Senate, it was an honest-to-God intelligent discussion. Yes, I think the net result was that it was “not only a ‘mean’ bill — it was the “meanest” ever!! They were not havin’ dessert — they chose to have starters which were declined by Harriette and me. [aside: There’s no rhyme nor reason that you can’t have both a starter and a dessert — it just never happens in our family.]

And speakin’ of the U.S. Senate and what they are up to — when we got back to our place at 947 Tiverton Ave — a strange thought suddenly struck me about the Trumpster!! Out of the clear blue, I recalled that day in early May — just after he had fired the head of the FBI — James Comey! Trump had hosted some Russians in the White House.  I also reminded myself of a New Yorker magazine article — it was all about Connecticut Senator Blumenfeld, the former state Attorney General for many years. (I had read that he’s a part of the “Nerd Caucus” in the senate along with two Republican senators — Lee (Utah) and Cruz (Texas) — they each had clerked with a SCOTUS judge or “soon-to-be” judge on the Court — in other words, Blumenfeld is very knowledgeable re: constitutional law. But, he had never heard of the “emolument clause”, re: anti-bribery for political office-holders. In part it reads: they cannot “accept, without the consent of congress, any present, Emolument, office or title or any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” Since Trump declined to cut his business ties in the U.S. and foreign countries — of which there are many — Blumenfeld has sued the president re: the Emolument clause!! And there are 30 Senators and over 100 Representatives, all Democrats, who are co-plaintiffs. In doin’ this, they expect to see those tax returns that Trump has refused to make public — and there lies the ‘core issue’ — everyone suspects that he has been funded by foreign entities (some folks not so nice) for many years; and those returns will tell the story!!

Even with all the hullabaloo about “Russia and members of Trump’s presidential campaign” — our President invited Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, along with the Russian Ambassador — Sergey Kislyak — to the White House. No U.S. news-folks were permitted in; yet, there were films released followin’ the meeting!!  These photo-ops had been released by the Russian State News Agency — TASS [aside: I had not heard that name — the official Russian press — since the days of Stalin and Krushchev!! Even as I hear it today, it sends chills up my spine — thinkin’ about those two tyrants and the Cold War!] But, the ‘visuals’ of those two Russians in our White House — in the Oval Office — bein’ treated like royalty — created a horrible image in my mind. Actually, the thought had hit me — as I had readied for bed — it had reminded me of a homeless person in his new quarters, showin’ his benefactors around. Remember the expression on Trump’s face — as if he was thankin’ them for all the goodies that they had bestowed on him. I beseech you “blog-readers” to google and re-evaluate the entire happenin’ — his manner, his words, his posture — like a former indigent, thankin’ the nice people that had made everything possible. [aside: Yes, this thought had suddenly struck me as I recalled that day in the oval office — durin’ which, Trump had even said that he had gotten rid of that “nut case” (meanin’ Comey) — I feel it — he was bowin’ to his masters!!] And when the normal press were permitted in — the Ruskies were gone — the President was chattin’ with our former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger!! Now, please tell me if I’m “whistlin’ Dixie” — or it’s a fact that “Trump invited, “schmoozed”, kissed *ss, etc., etc., etc., with his Russian benefactors in the “people’s house”!!” That’s how I saw it. And, honestly, I had drunk only two glasses of wine at our Father’s Day gatherin’!!  It’s odd how and when some strange thoughts come to mind — and when they do I cannot wait to start bloggin’!! ‘nuf ……

The “120-day” Fiasco!! … Really??

Preface: This is here only to advise the Watermark public relations person to read the post script to this blog. It is meant specifically for her. Otherwise, dear reader, please read on ……

One of the prime and cardinal rules in an argument or debate or situation is — don’t keep bringin’ up the “bad things”the “embarassin’ items“!! Instead, dwell on the  positives; there must be some good and rewardin’ parts to every proposal or every offer!! I hate to give grown-up and mature people advice (most just don’t listen or pay much attention to ole folks — and especially, to the “ole guy”!!).  Specifically, if there are individuals or companys that that have been tryin’ to do me in, as an individual, or as a member of a group, I repeat — do me some harm or treat me in a negative fashion!! I’m gonna react — in “spades”, so to speak.

A Watermark executive, the President/CEO, a fellow named David Barnes, (representin’their organization) verbally evicted 150 to 170 very, very, very ole folks on December 1st, 2016. No one argues with that fact. On the very next day (Dec 2nd) Watermark then posted — on every tenant’s door at 947 Tiverton Ave — four (4) very distinct legal papers — denotin’eviction” (filling up the upper half of each entry door). This latter event happened while most of the tenants of the CAN (Casa de los Ancianos del Norte) were in the dinin’ hall — havin’ their regular breakfasts. Imagine when these extremely elderly individuals returned to their individual apartments — to see their doors covered with a whole bunch of official-lookin’ papers!! That’s when it must have (emphatically) hit them — these very, very, very ole folks were bein’ evicted from their homes — their final “nestin’ places“!  [aside: Yes, I am purposely tryin’ to make this event as dramatic as possible!! Individuals in their 90’s — a few in their 100’s — many with walkers or canes, some in wheelchairs, lots with caregivers!! Think about it — they were not only bein’ evicted — but the normal and legal method required to officially inform these “oldie’s” — was one very, very, very scary proposition — official eviction notices pasted on their doors!!  Truly, without exaggeration, I am surprised that someone did not have a heart attack on the spot — they showed a great deal of fortitude!! And that’s a big reason I officially declared the lot of us the “Figntin’ 947th”.]

Remember, that verbal notice — the day before — on the first of December 2016– when the residents of the newly crowned jewel in Watermark’s stable of homes for the elderly were to meet and greet their new owner. Well, the actual statement re: EVICTION is the item — the event — that their official public relation person at Watermark keeps bringin’ up in every post-eviction interview. As their spokesperson in the recent issue of the Westwood Patch  dated June 21st (and similarly, in an earlier UCLA Daily Bruin article) — she states: “most of the residents were given a year from the start“!  This is false!!  I refer to CEO David Barnes, in that first meeting — within his first few remarks — he stated that we had “120 days to vacate the premises” or words to that effect!!  I was there and I heard it — plain and simple!!  And, everyone in the audience — our ages vary from the mid-80’s to over 100 — and it was obvious, just lookin’ at us — that we were a very, very, very elderly bunch of folks. And even though he knew damn well that every tenant in the audience — at “947 Tiverton Ave”– was well over 62 years of age (the legal age, over which provides a year — 365 days — before an eviction could legally take effect) — this man stated that we had 120 days to vacate our homes.

I know for a fact that from the conversations at mealtime and from my own experience that we all thought we had to find a new place by the end of March 2017 — 120 days hence!! Our neighbor immediately placed a down payment at the The Glendon Apartments — just across the street. She was one of our youngest tenants — the wife and I had recently been invited to her 80th birthday party. So after she told us what she had done, with our daughter Susan in tow, we visited The Glendon and placed a down payment also. That’s what one does when they are given 120 days to vacate their home. That’s why the Palm Court in nearby Culver City suddenly had a “wait list” of over 50!! [aside: I was told that within a few days, most of the folks on the “wait list” had their deposits returned and were removed therefrom.] Such somewhat “hysteria” reigned in those first few days!! My wife and I know this to be true — because we lived it. In fact, minutes after that “Barnes session”, I was typin’ away on my Dell producin’ the blog  titled “Susan, You Have Two Wanderin’ Jews, and I don’t mean the trailin’ houseplant kind!!” And the next day, another blog followed: “119 Days ‘n Countin'” — the title alone should suffice as proof that we were all countin’ down from 120 — and the next day after the “meet and greet” meetin’ meant we had 119 days to go!!

On December the 4th, I blogged “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” This blog was my way of statin’ that we were gonna move to The Glendon — that adjacent apartment building, across Weyburn Street from our abode. It has a multitude of tenants who are grad students enrolled at UCLA, and a future tenant was, as previously stated, Diane — our 4th floor neighbor here at the CAN. There are just a few ole folks livin’ there; but we were gonna mix it up with the millennials and Gen’s X, Y, & Z!!  I was ready to finally get a cellphone — so that we could place daily orders for our meals — since we have lots of restaurants in our Westwood neighborhood ready to dispatch our lunch or dinner. [aside: That’s the way we spent our last two years in San Miguel de Allende — after I had become somewhat incapacitated. For our second or final meal of the day, we would order by phone — and a guy on a motorcycle would come and ring our doorbell at Cerrada de Pila Seca Numero Ocho (#8) —  within 15 to 20 minutes!!  But, I could manage to drive the few blocks in the A.M. — to our breakfast restaurant — “Monet” — and dine at the owner’s table with Bill Mendenhall. In fact, if we did not show up by 10am, there would soon be a knock on our door, and it would be Bill. He would want to know if we were OK!! We sure miss all our wonderful amigos in Mexico!!]

It took us all about four days — to finally read the “fine print” in those “eviction” papers that had been pasted on our doors. Or maybe it was when one of the “children” emailed us all to tell us we had a whole year before the eviction would take effect. All I remember is that I finally became aware of the true eviction date — a few days after the Barnes fiasco!  And a couple of weeks later in December, their chairman — David Freshwater — came to speak in front of everybody — every aged tenant, all their relatives — and possibly a lawyer or two!  And the first thing out of the chairman’s mouth was —Please forgive what our President told you!!”  or words to that effect!! Suggestin’ that his President had spoken in error — with Barnes standin’ next to him (fidgetin’)!! But then, all Freshwater wanted to talk about was the necessary construction — includin’ those damn new windows — work that they wanted to perform on our 50-year-old building. And all the audience was interested in was that horrible eviction notice!! This confirmed to me that CEO Barnes had deliberately told his aged audience on December 1st — that they had to vacate the premises in 120 days.  It had finally dawned on me on December 6th — while I was bloggin’ “Ole Lives Matter”!! …. or do they?? — right in the middle of the blog[aside: There’s a distinct break in that blog when the “light bulb” went on in my brain, and I suddenly realized President Barnes purposely wanted to scare us!]   It was also the blog that ended with the statement: you don’t spell their name: W-A-T-E-R-M-A-R-K!!  It’s spelled: S-O-U-L-L-E-S-S!  I think I have done enough damage here! ‘nuf …….

Post Script: I want to make a plea or an offer to the local Public Relations person representin’ Watermark, named in the 6/21 Westwood Patch — namely, Ms Laura Mecoy — (and she’s probably the same person who criticized some student reporters at the UCLA Bruin for their straight-forward article Watermark seniors speak on eviction)!!  OFFER: The ole guy will quit bloggin’ about the scare tactics re: the 120-day eviction notice at “947 Tiverton Ave” made by President Barnes — if she will cease and desist with: the 120-day notice for eviction was not stated by President/CEO Barnes. Ms Mecoy! I have well over 100 witnesses that will back the “ole guy” up!!  ‘nuf ……

 

 

We Ain’t Gonna Go “luxe”!!

Preface: You will find that I have located the “colorization” area of my blog-o-sphere — some way, somehow, it disappeared a few months back, and I have no idea what caused it to “re-appear”. I will use it sparingly and try to only emphasize the important things. Otherwise, I am bloggin’ to tell the world “ain’t no mo’ eviction”, and what’s left of us hearty ole souls, here at the CAN (Casa de los Ancianos del Norte) — can probably live here til we die!! It just may be our final “nestin'” place, so let’s celebrate …………..

Last week I received a fantastic email from the Bet Tzedek — our pro-bono legal team informed us by email —  to the tenants (and their children) at 947 Tiverton Ave…  on June 13th, the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department (HCIDLA) determined that the building is a Residential Hotel under the LA Municipal Code.” Now, you must understand that among the residents, I am one of the few that uses a computer — and probably the only one here that “tends their incomin'” !! So, when I went to dinner that evenin’, I was able to inform our dinner partner Lillian and a few others of the good news. Not 100% sure of all the nuances related to our new designation, I sent an email to the “numero uno” at Bet Tzedek (BT) — its President and CEO [aside: Our regular legalese caretaker — our beloved lawyer — our point man — Ed Elsner — he was on a family vacation. Without Ed I felt a bit lost, so I decided to ask the #1 at Bet Tzedek, Jessie Kornberg — to net it out — what did the new designation truly mean? And her immediate response was: “It’s great news. The eviction notices are null and void. No move out!” WOW!! We won our case (so far)!!

As was clarified in a meeting of the “947” clan last Monday evening (the 19th), Watermark cannot convert the building into a “luxury assisted-living” facility. And that’s a direct quote from the boss! Jessie handled the meeting — single-handed with a couple of her aides nearby — and clarified the “good news”!! First, she explained that our building owners Watermark can appeal (within the city government) — and if that fails, they can take the city of Los Angeles to court — actually bring a legal suit to remove the “RH designation”. It is obvious that if Watermark is forced to sue the city, we are in for a long and interesting experience — since this type of lawsuit would take quite a bit of time. Then, if Watermark prevailed — maybe we’d counter-sue — wow!! Am I over my head — or what?! I’ll quit the ‘suin’ stuff right here and now — it’s way over the “ole guy”‘s noggin. There are 3 lawyers in my immediate family — I’ll let them handle any further explanation. [aside: And all we wanted was one of the children to become a doctor. But the first two wanted the law and the third married a litigator!! I guess that’s still better than becomin’ a professional sailor and then an IBM salesman!! Quien sabe!!]

During our Monday meeting, Jessie gave us a few tidbits re: BT’s strategy. First, that we had a neighbor hotel (only a block away on Tiverton Ave) that was officially designated a “residential hotel” when that city designation first came into bein’!! One of Watermark’s claims, I guess, was that the Westwood Village neighborhood was not an RH-type area — too upscale!! (sounds reasonable!) As I understand: the original RH designation was for “skid row” buildings near downtown Los Angeles. Another fact in our favor was — at one time, our building was actually called a “HOTEL” in its title. At any rate, we WON!! 

And I recall that in an earlier blog I pointed out (with gusto!) that under the previous ownership — family members could rent a room or an apartment here for short stays — and specifically, our daughter Jody, a practicing lawyer from San Francisco, actually rented a room for a few days, on two different occasions. Until Watermark purchased our ex-UCLA student dormitory, Vintage Westwood Horizons was actually a hotel with long term residents — who could independently hire care-givers — there was even an independent “caregiver company” housed on an upper floor. They were renting space and were definitely a separate entity from the former owner. It was a no-brainer that we are not an assisted-living facility. We are a residential hotel any way you want to define it (but we had to be declared such, legally). Some tenants, here, have independently hired care-givers, some of whom are “liv-er in-ers” on a 24-hour basis. So, I guess the decision means that Watermark cannot convert this place to a “luxury assisted-living facility” as long as it remains classified as a “residential hotel”!! And as long as we residents wish to live here — it’ll remain our home — a rent-controlled residential hotel.! period(.) exclamation point(!)

But, enough of the technical jazz — let’s get to the humanity stuff — and that means let me blog a bit about Bet Tzedek.  Even though, earlier in our lives, the wife and I had lived in Northridge, CA, in the San Fernando valley for over 17 years — time enough to watch our youngest start in the first grade and ultimately graduate from UCLA — and even get married at the Bel Air Hotel (no less). [aside: That was before the Texas Hunt family purchased it, and prices were within reason for a poor strugglin’ IBMer and his family.]  The two older children were already practicing law by the time IBM was kind enough to offer me a job in Paris, France. [aside: At that stage of our lives, any offer other than a stint in a foreign country was out of the question. To be able to work in Paris, however, was a dream come true, and I’ll refer you to an earlier blog which expands on that subject. It was the wife that actually played a role in my receivin’ the foreign job offer. Whenever she spent a moment socially with my boss from back East, she would take him aside and have him reminisce about his years as #1 at IBM’s Paris HQ!! And she was always askin’ about Parisian restaurants — and such. There was a method in her madness!! I would never have gotten the offer without her!!] But back to the fact that we had lived in the Los Angeles area — we left in 1983, and honestly, there was no reason for me to be aware of Bet Tzedek.

With the aid of google and Wikipedia: This magnificient organization was founded in 1974 in Los Angeles as an “American non-profit human and poverty rights organization”, internationally recognized for its work in providing unique advocacy and support for people living in poverty, and for communities victimized by discrimination and civil rights abuse. It is known as one of the leading centers for social justice. [aside: Almost verbatim from a “google” search on Wikipedia.] “Tzedek” means “justice”; so Bet Tzedek means the “House of Justice”. And their social justice philosophy is rooted as a central tenet of Jewish law. They function with a focus on civil rights and humanitarian aid –justice for all people (primarily low income folks — all races and creeds — not just us Jews)!!

So, it came to pass that suddenly Bet Tzedek and our city councilman came to our rescue  — when Watermark decided to evict us from our homes — when their President and CEO told us we had 120 days to vacate — and they posted eviction notices on our doors!!  (Literally, scarin’ the daylights out of a bunch of very, very, very old folks here at “947 Tiverton Ave” in the very livable and peaceful Westwood Village area of Los Angeles — adjacent to UCLA.) Yes, Bet Tzedek attorneys along with our Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz — suddenly appeared on the scene!! The number involved was the largest eviction ever of elders in the country and the 2nd largest eviction in California history. Wow!! It almost sounds criminal!!  One would think that Watermark would have spent considerable time thinkin’ through and stragegizin’ this sudden announcement??

All I have to say isif I had made such a fatal communication error — 1/100th the size of that dramatic announcement to our “over 90’s” audience on December 1st, 2016 — IBM would have fired me on the spot. It would have been curtains for the ole guy. Remember: it’s the law — if we were over 62 years of age — we would have one whole year before the eviction would take effect. How could they have blown it so badly when the California law states that we had one whole year to vacate the premises. [aside: My thought has always been that they did it on purpose! They were successful in scarin’ a large number out within the first 60 days — and it was the children who did not have the patience (they have their own lives) and they made the decision for their aged parents!] Bet Tzedek and Councilman Koretz would have come to our rescue anyway — but that guy sure did ‘blow it”. And the funny thing — their P.R. folks keep sayin’ it’s “fake news”. And that “the CEO did not state 120 days to vacate” — does that sound familiar?? Fake news?? (And we’re not even in D.C.!)  As I have stated, even if he had not scared us with the “120-day” thingey, I am positive that Bet Tzedek and the councilman would have come to our rescue. But the “120-day” thingey will forever be in my craw!! And doubly so, since the Watermark P.R. folks keep sayin’ it did not happen!! Do they realize that I have over 100 very, very, very ole women who will back me up!!?? And with that bit of drama, I’ll end it here!! We ole folks just ain’t goin’ nowhere, no way, no how  ‘nuf ……..

 

 

 

Response to an Invite (to go to sea??)!!

Preface: The idea to try to “cut and paste” has left me a bit puzzled. There was a time when it was a “piece of cake” for the ole guy! But I sure made a mess of it today. I think the cut was ‘okay’ but the paste was “unreal”!! I think I managed to bring forth a whole day’s worth of emails — I’ll never know. I just said “to heck with it” and manually deleted one heckuva lot of stuff. I’m not sure even yet how this will turn out but you can’t blame a guy for tryin’ — at least, if it’s an ole guy …….

I just want to prove to all you blog readers that my “silliness” stretches far beyond my bloggin’. I just received an invite (which I have included at the end of this blog) from the Los Angeles and Orange County U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Asociation to join them on the USS Tiki Boat for a 3-hour cruise into the harbor of Newport Beach, CA. (Since they have invited non-members of the chapter, they must have obtained my email address and status — “still alive and kickin’ *ss”  — from the USNA Alumni Association at Annapolis. So this is a copy of my response ……..

Dear Chapter Secretary,

Thanks for includin’ us ole folks with your kind invitation. I emailed my two “47” bros that if they would go, the wife and I would manage somehow — even if it would be a “struggle”.

3 Young Ensigns — in an ole Ford coupe!!

Preface: Our naval experiences were not all at sea or flyin’ above the clouds. And there were a bunch of us who couldn’t get enough “free” education. This blog describes my first shore duty — I had only been to sea for — maybe 9 months! All sea-goin’ gents sometimes find ways to reside more on land. This is the tale of some early doin’s ashore ……

I was assistant gunnery officer aboard the USS Warrington (DD-843) at sea when I got this notice from a classmate and friend. The message advised me that he was respondin’ to a solicitation by the Navy Department for junior officers who were interested in a program at MIT (that’s the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass — part of Greater Boston).  Here it was the winter of 1947, and we had just graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy as ensigns in the fleet — just months earlier in June 1946. The offer stated that junior officers with certain previous education could apply for a 5-semester program in electronics engineering, graduating with an EE degree with future assignments in the electronics field. So, I immediately applied — and a few months later received orders to report to a specific office at MIT. So ended my very, very, very short “actual” sea duty as an ensign in the US Navy.

And wouldn’t you know — when I was accepted and ordered to report to a certain office at the Institute — there were 4 other Academy ’47 classmates — Paul George Miller aka P.G. — he and I had been company-mates all three years (attendin’ classes together); Wayne Warlick aka Wayner — a member of the adjacent company our last year with whom we shared some classes; and two other classmates that I had not known well — Sam Linder and Walter Johnston. There were a few from earlier Acacemy classes (’46 and ’45) who were our upper classmen at the Academy — but now we were equal and classmates in the MIT program. But before I reported to classes, I took a short leave and visited my folks in Memphis, TN. One big reason I went home was to pick up a 1941 Ford Coupe with a rumble seat (okay!! you’ll have to google it to find out what a rumble seat is {or was}). My brother-in-law Jerry was gonna buy a new car and the family pitched in and gave me the Ford as a gift. Jerry and I drove it to the Boston area without stoppin’ — sharin’ the drivin’ all the way. This car ultimately became a very important factor in three of our lives at MIT. I was still single along with P.G.; but Wayner had married a longtime sweetheart shortly after graduatin’ from the academy — Rosemary, our future, shared (3-times), live-in housewife for the forthcomin’ winter (but that comes later)!! Little Stevie had just been born; so Rosemary stayed in California for the summer which meant Wayner could join PG and me in findin’ our summer home in the Boston area.

And find it we did!! I can’t remember exactly where it was in Boston proper, or in one of the many nearby suburbs of the greater Boston area. Remember, MIT was in Cambridge — less than a mile away from Harvard, both facin’ on Mass Ave. and it was nestled along the well-known Charles River. In searchin’ the “rooms for rent” portion of the Boston Globe and with some info furnished by our secretaries (there was an office at the institute we reported to, and there were a few female secretaries therein. [aside: I mention this because an Academy-mate from ’46 dated one — and married her durin’ our assignment there. If memory serves me right, I think I dated her also along with one or two other guys. That was a great place for a single gal to work with a bunch of bachelor junior naval officers, fresh off sea-duty, checkin’ into the office almost daily. I bet she could write one heckuva blog about her final days as a single secretary!] But back to our summer housin’ situation. We found a place with enough room for P.G., Wayner and me — the landlady was a plump Italian mama with her family still livin’ with her — and she had a thriving business as a piano teacher — and if memory serves me right — singin’ teacher!! There was space on the top floor — a converted attic — for the three of us! We had found our summer home — the two bachelors and a married guy!!

I can distinctly remember a couple of things related to our summer with our Boston Italian family. Every Sunday, the whole family would dine together for lunch — and we would wait in our attic hideaway for a high-pitched yell — did we want what was left over. I think she would bring it up to us in the early afternoon — all types of pasta and veggies — I had never tasted lasagna so good before.  And then there was her son, whose hobby was cars and car repair. And it was 1947 and the Ford Coupe was a 1941 model — the engine gasket needed to be replaced. And son told us what we had to buy and lent us his auto-repair tools. The three of us were not exactly good with our hands — but we did manage to get the head off the engine block (with a lot of nastiness expressed toward each other); but once the new gasket was in place — it was a serious matter to put the engine head back on — completely air-tight!! That son laughed at us — moved us aside — and he single-handedly managed to finish the job perfectly!! We had an air-tight gasket on our engine and the Ford was ready to “rumble’!!

Since we three had all our classes together, we had our classroom breaks and time off together also. And especially on the weekends, we would pile in that front seat (there was no back seat — remember, it had a rumble seat which offered an open-air ride, if used. PG would sit in the middle with Wayner on the outside — with window down.  I would get behind the wheel and away we’d go. Wayner loved to point out the girls walkin’ along the sidewalk or sittin’ at a corner trolley stop. (Remember, he was the married one!!) With window down (no one had a/c in those days), he would beat on the side of the car, shoutin’ “Jack!, Jack!, Jack! — followed by some strange vocal outburst that sounded like — “poopa toota roota” and followed again with “Jack! Jack! Jack!  [aside: The idea for this blog came about when I received an email from Wayner on June 8th (a week ago, completely out of the blue) — all it said was “Howdy …… Jack! Jack! Jack!” and addressed to me and PG. It dawned on me that June 8th was the anniversary date of our naval academy graduation — June 8, 1946 (WWII was on when we entered, and we spent only three years at the academy — it’s Class of ’47 — but we graduated in 1946.) I acknowledged with a bit of b.s. and wondered why we never hear from PG — copyin’ PG with every email. Wayner’s response was that PG was probably golfin’, etc.!!  Finally, we heard from the “lost one” — yes, he was still golfin’ and bogeyin’ — at 96ish!! An exchange followed that he was waitin’ for me to be in a “happier place” which I immediately asked if he meant — “heaven or hell”.  But in his usual serious manner, he sincerely meant if we had resolved our “eviction” issues.]

Rosemary passed a few years ago and Wayner lives in Kansas City with his family and lots of grandkids. PG is livin’ very near Annapolis in Brooklandville, MD,  with his second wife “Honey”. I thought it was Lutherville, MD — maybe they moved closer to Annapolis?! Wayner and I are close in age, but P.G. had gone to Purdue University for a few years before the academy. As I recall, he’s three years older than me. That would put him at 96ish, and if memory serves me right his birthday is two months after mine on the 22nd of December. [aside: I put that in so if I am wrong, PG will read it and contact me!] When I began this blog I was gonna include our wintertime experience in a leaky rented house in the oceanside town of Revere Beach, MA — when Rosemary was our “house-wife” and actually did the wash for us two bachelors– in the basement machine. We compensated by babysittin’ li’l Stevie so she could get Wayner to take her out and away from PG and me — but, she never realized that PG had set us up with dates — and two college gals came and helped us babysit over a weekend!! [aside: This last statement may require modification or deletion — remember, it was the winter of ’47 — 70 years ago — and the memory plays tricks on this “ole guy”!!]  ‘nuf  ……

Post Script: 6/20/17 I have received responses and corrections from both “Wayner” (W.P.Warlick) and “Peaches” (Paul George “P.G.” Miller) [aside: we all had nicknames at the Academy that continues to this day — so says “Meis”!!! Warlick agrees with Miller that we did not stay in Revere Beach — it was a poorer section of greater Boston, Winthrop Beach. And Wayner reminds me that Peaches named his first-born “Pookey Boom” — we didn’t call him Stevie. P.G. was full of corrections, for which I gracefully (?) thank him. So let me begin and I’ll keep it short. He is married to a wonderful gal named Doris (not Honey) whom I have met and whose company the wife and I shared, in about 2004, in San Miguel de Allende when we “hosted” a mini-reunion” for four classmates and their wives. PG further clarifies my mistake in that they do live in Lutherville, MD, only 50 minutes from Annapolis. I may have convinced Paul that the “ole guy” does mean well — because he suggested that I continue the “tale of the 3 Ensigns” — remembering our rides to school in that Ford Coupe, then livin’ across the bridge from MIT at 401 Marlboro in Boston proper, and walkin’ across it in that damn cold weather. He even remembered that we would take our study breaks at night and go find some ice cream cones. Paul, this might still be a blog in itself but I wanted to quickly add it here as an “errata section” to this blog. Thanks, bro’s, you’re still a couple of BFF’s to Harriette and me, signed Meis!  

Sometimes, it’s just …………. binary!!

Pre-Preface: I could have deleted this blog but who knows — some of you might get a kick out of an ole guy’s meanderin’s (sp?). I tried to keep everything related to “two” since I started with that strange title. Anyway, the blog was just sittin’ there; so I decided to “edit ‘n publish”!! Sure sounds professional for bein’ so amateurish!! But read on …..

Preface: This was written a few days ago — well before my last blog — titled “Guess What Month It Is?”  Comey has already faced the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Dodgers have already begun a series with the Cincinnati Reds (winnin’ game #1 last night — and the Dodgers eeked out the last game against the Washington Nats on Wednesday night.) Sorry, about this, but I wanted to blog about the month of June and left this one “idlin'”!!

Over a week and I have not blogged — the computer has not been “broken” — a term the wife would understand — and no, she in no way has caused my absence. I have been readin’ my mail and all the news — been watchin’ the Dodgers, catchin’ up on the NBA finals, eatin’ the three squares, loggin’ a minimum of eight hours sleep, etc., etc., etc!!!  A few things have grabbed most of my attention though; namely, the Trump vs Comey issue, the Bet Tzedek legal folks talkin’ to our landlord Watermark, the Dodgers’ findin’ their “bats” and now playin’ the Washington Nationals (the latter have the best record in the National League today — and, a few days ago, I pointed out that the Dodgers had the 4th best record in the National League and was in 3rd place in their division (and no, it’s not the dreaded San Francisco Giants, the perennial division enemy, that was ahead of them — it was the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks {the latter has slumped a bit — along with the Dodgers in their last two games against Washington.}) And the Nationals will try for a 3-game sweep — it’ll be two of baseball’s best, goin’ head-to-head tonight — Kershaw vs Strasburg!!

The news today, however, is full of the statements made in writin’ by the ex-FBI chief Comey as he readies for tomorrow’s grillin’ by the United States Senate Intelligence Committee — at 7am PDT the wife and I will be awatchin’ and listenin’ to political fireworks.  It seems that in their early one-on-one, the president asked Comey for “loyalty” and his response was “honesty”!! The president concluded with “honest loyalty” and Comey remained silent. But, the killer (to me, anyway) was when the President asked Comey to “let go of the Flynn thing — he’s a very good guy” or words to that effect. That would certainly seem to me to be “above and beyond” — or is the “below and short-sightedly criminal”.  I won’t comment further but the way I look at the whole thing is to classify or characterize the two players — POTUS and the ex-FBI-head — I would settle on “boy scout” when it comes to Comey. When it comes to our president — there are lots of characterizations that would seem appropriate — none of which I would want for myself — but I’ll be courteous and say that he is “tweety and self-centered”.  It goes without further comment where the wife and I stand on this extremely serious matter — but for sure, at 7am we’ll be awatchin’ the TV and the goin’s on in the Senate Building.

As for what’s goin’ on at the CAN (Casa de los Ancianos del Norte) I don’t think I should make any comments re: our legal support team — the whole situation is being “mediated” — and I think that’s the correct way to put it — and the right way to leave it. But, there is a bit of he-in’ and she-in’ to report on or update. We are down in number to a select few by comparison to the 150 – 170 inhabitants that claimed “947” as home last December. [aside: We folks never had a true count when we received our eviction notices in December– I used to try to estimate our population number based on countin’ heads at dinner-time; and I can assure you there were more than 150 aged souls livin’ here then, but I’m not sure there were 170 or over. So let me just say now — and in the future — that we had over 13 dozen. We are now below fifty (50) and growin’ smaller by the week. At our age — there is a mortality factor –and I think that somewhere between 5 and 10 have passed on — but, mind you, that’s a guess — and they were not livin’ here at “947”! We have received information from the folks who have come back from the other locations to dine (you gotta give the Watermark folks credit — all of our “exes” can return and dine “on-the-house”! And, later, when the place is upgraded like new — they will be able to return at the same rental rates which existed when they departed. It’s just the remainin’ bunch that are bein’ “mediated on”!! We’re the crazy ones that are willin’ to stay thru the construction period.]

But, back to the he-in’ and she-in’!! We were privileged (?) to see the “Hat” aka “Hugly” and the “Lover” aka “schmo”!! [aside: Some folks here have nicknamed him such that even the ole guy cannot “spell it out” herein. But, no one shed a tear when he departed “947”. He’s just an arrogant ass!! And none of my friends cared when she left either!! They just happen to be two very self-centered people.  Yes, we ole folks come in all shapes and sizes and temperaments!!]. Two folks that have found each other are Lenny and Roseblanche. Lenny’s “former” passed on a few months ago, and it was not long after — that Lenny and Roseblanche became a twosome at mealtime. Since I don’t attend movies and general entertainment, I cannot vouch for any time other than mealtime. I leave it up to my female spies to pass on additional info.  But, I am very much aware of our 100-year-0le Mr. America (I mean Jewish America) — Joe Goldfarb our human dynamo!! He has let the red-haired Rita stalk him and catch him. I wrote about this in a recent blog in which the relationship was discussesd to the best of my knowledge. The only time I see Joe now without Rita at his side is at breakfast (she never comes to breakfast — probably needs her “beauty sleep”) or when Joe always heads out in the morn for his extended walk. Ya gotta give him credit — he’s as fit as a fiddle and ready for — I’ll let you end it. [aside: Joe sat with the wife, Lillian and me at breakfast on Friday morning. He assured me that it was Rita that chased and caught him. We did not go much further re: the relationship. But Joe is one helluva guy and we all love him!! There are very few folks who are more savvy than Joe — livin’ at the CAN. And to listen to Lillian — there’s no one in the Exercise class that can keep up with Joe — and he’s by far the oldest. Can’t you see this class — Lillian is almost 99 with a walker, and she exercises right behind Joe. I may yet attend — just to enjoy the company.  We also reminisced about some of the folks that left who were also named Joe — JoeBanker who left Lorie whose still here with us; then there was GIJoe and the shiksa, both of whom left — but it’s reported that he has since passed on. I think there were two more Joe’s that were here before the eviction notices — I was told at one time we had 5 Joe’s and 5 Bob’s — but remember I’m an ole guy and I didn’t know everyone’s name. I may have nicknamed some of them with another moniker and never worried about their first name.]

There just aren’t anymore “947”- unmarried couples — there’s at least four married couples left — includin’ the wife and me. Just no “unmarried” to blog about (what I have called “he’in and she’in” — they have all flown the coop. And, in most cases, they have taken separate paths — I do know that Joe(Banker) left Lorie here and Larry left Flo behind [aside: I hated that split because I never saw Flo as content as she was with Larry hoverin’ over her all the time. Flo is still with us, and I’m sure she misses him a lot. And as I have stated herein, both the Shiksa and GIJoe left (and not sure they went together) — but I have heard that Abe is at Palm Court and is a “loner” still! He was “pinin’ for the shiksa and constantly “rushed” her when GIJoe was absent or delayed at mealtime.) It sure was fun for me and my blog readers when everyone was here and Esther100 was alive and we both nicknamed folks. It was an everyday affair with Esther100 and me — and particularly at dinner-time — was when everyone showed up and contributed to the overall entertainment — guess that’s what ole guys like me do!! ‘nuf …….

 

 

Guess What Month This Is??

Preface: My last blog was almost two weeks ago!! It’s not exactly a “writer’s block” issue — it’s more of a “rest period” — a vacation of sorts. I’ve spent time readin’ the L.A. Times — cover-to-cover — watchin’ a couple of episodes of the newly released “House of Cards” — part of every Dodger game (some good and some not so good) —  and spent yesterday with the wife enjoyin’ the company or our son and his current “squeeze” — dinin’ at a Beverly Hills sidewalk café (just like in Paris) — “watchin’ all the folks” (wow! are they young; but everybody’s young to me!) — it was a mild sunny day in June and after a 2:30 arrival we had to wait at least another 30-45 minutes for our outside table. It was a glorious day in L.A. in the month of June — and the month of June 2017 is what I want to blog about — and this blog’s title does represent a question ……….

Yeah, Smarty-pants, I know it’s June. And on the 3rd Sunday of the month it’s “my” day” and I have three kids to prove it. “Kids” — who am I kiddin’ — they range from 57 to 64 years of age — old enough in a couple of cases to be grandparents. That would make me and the wife — great grandparents — which there are lots here at the CAN (Casa de los Ancianos del Norte)! We get to see some very, very, very cute great-great grand children — especially in the photos shown to us by Lillian, our “almost-99” dinner partner (next month on the 28th). She has three — two girls and a boy — Emily and Ryan by her son and daughter-in-law and Maisie by her daughter and son-in-law. I really shouldn’t complain — my only livin’ gradchild Jacob just graduated from Harvard — “Magna”, with a “Summa” on his thesis. Yesterday, his dad told us he was feelin’ O.K. again!! [aside: I had no idea he had been “under-the-weather” — what with all the excitement of his graduation just a week ago — I saw lots of happy moments on Facebook with his mom, grandmom, aunts, uncles and cousins (big New England family) — Gary had been there and had celebrated with him at Legal Seafood, an all-time fav family restaurant. What in the world was wrong with our grandson Jacob?? Gary’s response to that question: His wrists were sore from so much typin’ of that thesis — ‘Meteorology vs. Climatology” (or vice versa?) — no wonder he got a “summa” — I could hardly spell the title, and he typed his own thesis — please don’t tell me how many pages?!!] But before I leave the grand-child issue — I must admit that we are the proud grandparents of Simon — our beeee–eautiful (or should I have said handsome-est) seven-year-ole grand-dog !!

Back to my subject — it’s June — soon it will be summer-time. I think it’ll be classified as that time of the year on the 20th or 21st — but here in Westwood, overlookin’ that beautiful UCLA campus — and only a couple of miles from the Pacific Ocean beaches in Santa Monica — we’ll never have hot weather — and we will have very, very, very little “inclement” weather! [aside: I put that in to thank whoever the “weather gods” are — ’cause when you are as old was we “CAN-folks” are — cold-or-bad-weather — is a bit more painful than for you young ‘uns!!] And in this good climate, our baseball team is gonna prevail and succeed — we are gonna go to the World Series this year — the Dodgers are gonna whup the Chicago Cubbies and trounce the Washington Nationals — in the playoffs — unless the Colorado Rockies get there too — and that may mean trouble — I mean trouble with “river-city” — whoops!! I mean “mile-high-city”. Yessiree, we just may have to “whup” that team from Denver before we get to the World Series — to play the Houston Astros for the World Championship. In essence, the month of June will be the beginning of the long and tedious route to the end of the rainbow that our baseball Dodgers have been seekin’ for so long now. It’s been 29 years since the former Brooklyn Bums won it all — in ’88!! This could be the year!! Go Dodgers!!

But, it wasn’t weather, nor sports, nor Harvard graduation, nor grandchildren, nor “House of Cards”, nor “writer’s block” that generated the title of this blog. It was an email I received from our L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz — our staunch supporter here at “947 Tiverton Ave” with regards to the eviction notices that we very, very, very ole CAN inhabitants received (pasted on our doors) on December 2nd.  In the fine print — it indicated that California law dictates that if a person is over the age of 62 — the evictees have one whole year to find alternative housing.  Folks livin’ here numbered well above 150 at that time — and there was not a soul (resident) below the age of 80. My guess would be that half of the inhabitants were well over 90 in years — I’m 92 and the wife is only 4 years behind (note: I did not tell you her age!). And there are quite a few that were wheel-chair bound and so, so many usin’ walkers and canes. It’s just that simple — viewin’ all of us in a meetin’ — any speaker would have to be blind not to realize that no one in attendance was in their low sixties, agewise! (Correction: There were quite a number of Filipino care-givers in the audience. I do not think a visitor would have mistook any of the latter as “residents“!) Well, our number now has dropped below 50 — at least 100 or more residents have been evicted. We “hangers-on” are in negotiations with those new owners — who possibly will withdraw their “eviction” and provide us with an alternative during construction!!

But back to that email from our Councilman Koretz, one of the items that caught my attention was the fact that June is “Elder Abuse Awareness Month” — yes!, yes!, yes!, there’s a month set aside to remind the world that — especially ole folks — are subject to constant abuse. And I further quote: “common types of abuse are physical, psychological, and financial. ‘Consumer Reports’ states that seniors and their families lose $3 billion a year to con artists.” And that’s billion with a “B”!! But what happened to us on that fateful day — back on the first of December last year — it affected us both psychologically and physically — even today my friend Sadie Smolev (who will turn 102 on August 1st, always pushin’ her walker) stopped by my table as she finished her meal and repeated what has become — at least a bi-weekly occurrence — “I can’t find a place at the right price; what am I gonna do?” And that represents the query of many who are still here at “947”. It’s easy to understand the psychological impact on all of us — but there has been some physical impact also — I will not go into that here — but only to say that psychological issues can manifest themselves physically!! That should be obvious in a population of the “over-90’s”!!

So, June has its weddings — its graduations (mostly in May nowadays) — its “gloom” in Southern California (the cold ocean causes the moisture in the sky to form an “overcast”) — it has a day specified for so many things; namely, do-nuts, yo-yo’s, the American eagle, chocolate pudding, magic, fudge, smiles, LEON’s (reverse of NOEL), ice-cream sodas, picnics, meteors, jugglers, “eat your eggs”,  “pop goes the weasel” — and birthdays for Oscar the Grouch, Donald Duck, Captain Kangaroo, Superman — and as mentioned forcefully earlier, with anticipation — FATHERs!! ‘nuf …….

Post Script: I want to use this Post Script — to address a couple of issues referred to in this blog. First, I want to clarify myself re: our eviction from the CAN. The new company was well within their rights to “evict” us ole people — and the state of California protects us from “immediate” eviction. The time allotted is more than sufficient — a whole year. And the dollar amount (almost $20K) by law in California is fair — except!!! We are  extremely aged people — at least half were over 90 and most required wheelchairs or walkers. This is an extreme case under the law — which was written for the general public (with a small percentage of over 62 years of age, I would suggest)! This was the largest eviction of ‘elders’ ever in our whole country and the 2nd largest eviction of any kind in California.  And it was to be the final “nestin’ place” for all of us! That’s a factor that the law does not cover — and for that reason — abidin’ strictly by the law is very, very, very unfair. But the one item that definitely falls under “elder abuse” is not the manner in which they posted the eviction notices on our every door on December 2nd. That was appropriate under the circumstances and was required by law. It’s not the fact that it’s the largest “elder” eviction in the history of these United States. It is the technique in which the “eviction” was announced to all of us on the morning of December 1st — we had gathered in our large meetin’ hall (the “clubhouse”) to meet the President and CEO of the company that had purchased our facility the month before. Maybe anticipatin’ a “meet and greet” sort of an occasion.  But, in a very business-like manner — with no “if’s, and’s, nor but’s” — he told this extremely aged group that we had 120 days to move out — to leave the premises in exactly four (4) months.!  period. exclamation point! This was not clarified for at least three days — when individually we finally read the “fine print” on the “eviction notice” and yet we were unsure (at least, I was not sure!) And even if we did read it — by god, he had told all of us that we had 120 days to leave.! So what does an ole guy finally conclude??  That was “ELDER ABUSE” — pure and simple!!

A second item I want to cover in this very long blog is to thank some people who don’t get many thank-you’s!! First, and foremost, Bet Tzedek, both individually and as a group —  and their patient and intelligent assistance by representing probably the oldest and most nervous and inquisitive elders in their purview.  I will only name Ed Elsner — but the whole organization and a few other folks that they brought in to donate time and effort — you are SAINTLY (that ought to get your attention!!)  Second, L.A. Councilman Paul Koretz who did take time to spread the word and convince the city council to unanimously support us. Then the folks that broadcast and reported the uniqueness of this “elders’ eviction” — Angie Crouch at Channel 4 NBC-TV, Steve Lopez, columnist “supreme” at the L.A. Times, and Emaan Baqai, ace reporter with the UCLA Bruin. If I have left anyone out — forgive an ole guy. I just wanted to put a few names in print — everyone who has given their “moral support” — thanks from the bottom of some very, very, very old folks’ hearts! And finally, ‘nuf …….