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Work in Retirement: How it Affects Your SS Benefits

55 PLUS Issue 69 June / July 2017

For Active Adults in the Central New York Area

Dick Case

Jim Sollecito: ‘My Trip to Cuba’

With new book, former newspaper columnist is still celebrating Syracuse, Central New York

Lyncourt Community band in Lyncourt gathers musicians of all walks of life, ages

Syracuse landscaper: Trip to Caribbean island nation offers challenge, adventure


Inside: The New Retirement: Work

Superior stroke care. It’s about time.


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June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS



Work in Retirement: How it Affects Your SS Benefits



June/ July 2017

PLUS Issue 69 June / July 2017

For Active Adults in the Central New York Area

Dick Case

Jim Sollecito: ‘My Trip to Cuba’

With new book, former newspaper columnist is still celebrating Syracuse, Central New York

Lyncourt Community band in Lyncourt gathers musicians of all walks of life, ages

Syracuse landscaper: Trip to Caribbean island nation offers challenge, adventure



Inside: The New Retirement: Work


12 Savvy Senior 6 Gardening 8 Dining Out 10 My Turn 28 Aging 35 Golden Years 42 Consumers’ Health 43 Life After 55 44 Druger’s Zoo 46 Visits 48 LAST PAGE Skaneateles resident Clinton Woodford, 90, is honored as Onondaga County’s Senior of the Year 4

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• Former newspaper columnist Dick Case is still celebrating Syracuse, Central New York


26 26 MUSIC

• Local harp composer wins runnerup in international competition


• Keeping the beat with the Lyncourt Community Band

• Jim Sollecito: Trip to Caribbean island nation is challenging, adventurous



• Opportunities abound to volunteer with children


• Cruises to the Caribbean, Disney top the list of many travelers


• Frank Mazzye Jr. has operated a Liverpool specialty meat market for nearly four decades


• Thornden Park Association volunteers’ persistence pays off for community


• Age is just a number for some health practitioners


• The new retirement: work — more choosing to stay in workforce

We invite you to join us in creating a legacy gift through your will or financial plans. Together we can do great things for Central New York. Dr. Michael & Rissa Ratner

For them it’s personal! Upstate legacies: lifesaving and life-changing Mike and Rissa Ratner love kids; it’s that simple. Rissa has been a teacher for 41 years. She could have retired long ago but she sees teaching more as a vocation than a job. Mike recently retired after 40 years as a highly regarded pediatric surgeon at Upstate golisano children’s Hospital. For years, the Ratners have generously supported the Children’s Hospital. With Mike’s retirement, they decided to create a legacy gift with the Upstate Foundation. The gift plan arrangement they selected will pay them income for the remainder of their lives and create a long-term gift that will enable nurses at the Children’s Hospital to continue their education. as Mike puts it, “it’s terrific! You can have your cake and eat it, too!” Both Mike and Rissa have touched the lives of countless children and their families in profound ways. Through a legacy gift to the Upstate Foundation, they will continue to do so beyond their lifetimes. it’s also personal for you since every Upstate legacy dollar stays right here in Central New York to help assure happy, healthy and longer lives for your loved ones, friends and neighbors.

For free and confidential information on how to make a low cost, high impact legacy gift contact, or have your professional advisor contact, John Gleason at 315-464-4416 or email us today at FDN@Upstate.edu Our legal name is THE UPSTATE FOUNDATION INC.

www.UpstateFoundation.org June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS


savvy senior By Jim Miller


How Working in Retirement Can Affect Your Social Security Benefits

ou can collect Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time, but depending on how old you are and how much you earn, some or all of your benefits could be temporarily withheld. Here’s what you should know.

Working Rules Social Security says that if you’re under your full retirement age — which is 66 if you were born between 1943 and 1954, or 66 and 2 months if you were born in 1955 — and are collecting benefits, then you can earn up to $16,920 in 2017 without jeopardizing any of your Social Security if you don’t reach your full retirement age this year. But if you earn more than the $16,920 limit, you’ll lose $1 in benefits for every $2 over that amount. In the year you reach your full retirement age, a less stringent rule applies. If that happens in 2017, you can earn up to $44,880 from January to the month of your birthday with no penalty. But if you earn more than $44,880 during that time, you’ll lose $1 in benefits for every $3 over that limit. And once your birthday passes, you can earn any amount by working without your benefits being reduced at all. Wages, bonuses, commissions and vacation pay all count toward the income limits, but pensions, annuities, investment earnings, interest, capital gains and government or military retirement benefits do not. To figure out how much your specific earnings will affect your benefits, see the Social Security Retirement Earnings Test Calculator at SSA.gov/OACT/ COLA/RTeffect.html. It’s also important to know that if you do lose some or all of your Social Security benefits because of the earning limits, they aren’t lost forever. When you reach full retirement age, your benefits will be recalculated to a 6

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higher amount to make up for what was withheld. For details and examples of how this is calculated, see SSA. gov/planners/retire/whileworking2. html. For more information on how working can affect your Social Security benefits see SSA.gov/planners/ retire/whileworking.html, or call the Social Security at 410-965-2039 and ask to receive a free copy of publication number 05-10069, “How Work Affects Your Benefits.” Tax Factor In addition to the Social Security rules, you need to factor in Uncle Sam, too. Because working increases your income, it might make your Social Security benefits taxable. Here’s how it works. If the sum of your adjusted gross income, nontaxable interest, and half of your Social Security benefits is between $25,000 and $34,000 for individuals ($32,000 and $44,000 for couples), you have to pay tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits. Above $34,000 ($44,000 for couples), you could pay on up to 85 percent, which is the highest portion of Social Security that is taxable. About a third of all people who get Social Security have to pay income taxes on their benefits. For information, call the IRS at 800-829-3676 and ask them to mail you a free copy of publication 915 “Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits,” or you can see it online at IRS.gov/pub/irs-pdf/ p915.pdf. In addition to the federal government, 13 states — Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia — tax Social Security benefits to some extent too.

55PLUS cny55.com Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo


Deborah J. Sergeant Aaron Gifford, Matthew Liptak Carol Radin, Barbara Pierce


Eva Briggs, M.D., Bruce Frassinelli Marilyn Pinsky, Harold Miller Jim Sollecito, Marvin Druger Michele Reed, Sandra Scott David Zumpano, Jacob Pucci .


Amy Gagliano Cassandra Lawson

Office Assistant Kimberley Tyler


Dylon Clew-Thomas

Cover Photo

Chuck Wainwright 55 PLUS –A Magazine for Active Adults in Central New York is published six times a year by Local News, Inc., which also publishes In Good Health–CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper. Published at 185 E. Seneca St. PO Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126. Subscription: $15 a year; $25 for two years © 2017 by 55 PLUS – A Magazine for Active Adults in Upstate New York.

No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. Third class postage paid at Syracuse, NY. Permit Number: 3071

How to Reach Us P.O. Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126 Phone: 315-342-1182 Fax: 315-342-7776 Email: editor@CNY55.com Editor@cnyhealth.com

Richard and Janice Hezel in their Jamesville home.

Working in learning enterprises throughout our careers, we recognize that access to education is fundamental to the future of a bright, open and civil society. That belief lies at the heart of our charitable giving. To administer our giving, we established a donoradvised fund at the Community Foundation. Our existing donor-advised fund, as well as additional estate gifts, will form a permanent field-of-interest fund at the Community Foundation to provide for causes, organizations and human needs that we care most about well after our passing.

Giving for the Community: Richard and Janice Hezel

Seeing our fund grow is gratifying. It is even more gratifying to know that finally, after we have “run the good race,” our fund will be allocated to the community’s most pressing needs.

since 1927

Read more of the Hezels’ story at Hezel.5forCNY.org

cnycf.org (315) 422-9538 June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS

Hezel Ad- 55 Plus.indd 1

5/5/2017 10:24:04 AM


gardening By Jim Sollecito

Five Easy Pieces New variety of plants can offer brighter colors, bigger flowers, extended flowering time, more reliable bloom — and less maintenance


oly ravioli, it’s time for landscape planting again. Homeowners often resort to familiar varieties. This may be fine but it might exclude decades of progress. Years of research and development have produced an uncountable number of improved varieties with fantastic new features. Improvements include brighter colors, bigger flowers, extended flowering time, more reliable bloom, cold hardiness, fewer thorns, compact forms and resistance to disease and insects. This all adds up to a more beautiful result requiring less maintenance. It’s not just about trends and styles. It’s science! You could stick with the boring familiar plants. After all, you know which sprays they require and you’ve grown used to a pruning routine. But really….why? How about less work with more pop? Yes, eye-popping color. In no particular order, I’ve listed five plant varieties that I include in my landscape designs as frequently as possible. Sonic Bloom Weigela. Enjoy spring, summer and fall flowers on these medium-sized flowering shrubs. Strong rebloomers, this series of lowmaintenance plants provide months of butterfly attraction in clear and saturated colors. Sure to make you smile every time you look at them. Double Play and Magic Carpet Dwarf Spirea. Spireas are notoriously tough: unfazed by deer, shade, cold, heat or dry conditions. The dwarf selections mind their manners in terms of size and provide loads of berry-colored spring and summer flowers. Then come the spectacular hot fall tones as well. Need I say more?


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Compact Panicle Hydrangeas. These beauties are low-maintenance, long blooming, and absolutely beautiful. Everyone needs a panicle hydrangea because no other flowering shrub gives so much to the landscape while requiring so little. My personal favorites are Little Quick Fire, Bobo and Little Lime. In fact, I have all three in my own home landscape. Purple Pillar Rose of Sharon. Talk about the perfect plant for a tight squeeze, these space-saving gems are never going to grow wider than 2-3’ and they easily top out at 6-7’. Wow, how many times (always) have I come across that situation in a landscape renovation? Double purple flowers don’t produce seeds, so it stays neat and tidy. Here’s something more interesting in late summer than the 25

-cent state fair milk. Double Take Orange Storm Quince. This is the flowering shrub for every SU fan. Over a month of sterile blooms on a compact plant that is certain to jolt you from the winter doldrums. They are thornless, easy to maintain, and just plain fun. I hope these five easy pieces inspire you to make your corner of the world a little brighter. If you aren’t looking with pleasure at your home plantings, don’t just sit there. Plant something! Jim Sollecito is the first lifetime senior certified landscape professional in NYS. He operates Sollecito Landscaping Nursery in Syracuse. Contact him at 468-1142 or jim@sollecito.com.


Q: What is the average Social Security retirement payment that a person receives each month? A: The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker in 2017 is $1,360 (up from $1,341 in 2016). The average monthly Social Security benefit for a disabled worker in 2017 is $1,171 (up from $1,166 in 2016). As a reminder, eligibility for retirement benefits still requires 40 credits (usually about 10 years of work). The Social Security Act details how the COLA is calculated. You can read more about the COLA at www.socialsecurity. gov/cola.

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Social Security

Q: What is the earliest age I can begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits? A: The earliest age you can begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits is age 62. If you decide to receive benefits before your full retirement age, which for most people is age 66 or 67, you will receive a reduced benefit. Keep in mind you will not be able to receive Medicare coverage until age 65, even if you decide to retire at an earlier age. For more information, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/retire. Q: If I receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, what is the effect on my benefits when I take seasonal work? A: Even a small amount of earned wages can cause a deduction in your SSI payment. However, it takes substantial work to make your benefits stop. In many cases, we will deduct approved work expenses to determine your SSI payment amount. In most cases, you can continue to receive your medical coverage for up to two years after you begin working. We have several publications on SSI, including Reporting Your Wages When You Receive Supplemental Security Income, available at www. socialsecurity.gov/pubs. June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS


DiningOut By Jacob Pucci



Doug’s Fish Fry occupies three storefronts in downtown Skaneateles, including a separate entrance for the ice cream counter. 

Doug’s Fish Fry


Skaneateles restaurant serves some of the best fish in Upstate

pstate New York’s fanaticism over fried fish is one of this state’s most interesting culinary questions. What started as early Catholic immigrants dining on fried fish on Fridays during Lent has now transcended religion and season and for good reason. Fried fish is crazy good. When it comes to places frying fish year-round, Doug’s Fish Fry is among the most popular in Upstate 10

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New York. Doug’s has been frying fillets of scrod — a general classification for whitefish such as cod or haddock — since 1982 from its perch a block from Skaneateles Lake. Framed newspaper clippings from as far back as the restaurant’s opening, some yellowed by age, and photos of fans posing with a Doug’s Fish Fry bumper sticker line the wood-paneled walls. A model train runs the circumference of the restau-

rant on a track suspended from the ceiling. Among the other notable points of décor is the large fish tank near the counter where customers order their meals. While they watched their finned brethren suffer an unfortunate fate, my fortune was quite high after hearing my name called over the loudspeaker and a tray filled with fried seafood and sides presented before me.

The plump shrimp are light and crispy and delicious dipped in either the honey curry or cocktail sauces. My dining companion and I went for the classic fish sandwich ($6.31), French fries ($2.05), fried shrimp dinner with onion rings and coleslaw ($12.99) and a dozen steamed clams ($6.50). Like most fried fish sandwiches in Upstate New York, the fish fillet was comically large — easily twice the size of the sesame seed bun it was served upon. The skinless fillets, firm but tender with pearl white flesh, tasted fresh and clean — evidence that the oil in the fryer is changed frequently. This is not a grab-and-go sandwich built for holding with one hand while driving with the other. The overhanging portion of the fillet will break off under its own weight. The house-made tartar sauce, while a deliciously zippy and welcome component, does little favors with keeping the sandwich together. Like the fish, the fried shrimp are lightly coated in breading, which not only keeps the fresh seafood in the spotlight, but assures me that I have enough room to polish off the generous portion of onion rings served alongside. Far from those minced onion abominations found in the drive-thru lane, the rings at Doug’s are cut from whole onions and fried fresh. They’re good with ketchup, but better with Doug’s signature honey curry dipping sauce. Then again, everything is better with Doug’s honey curry dipping sauce. Fortunately, Doug’s sells pints of the stuff for $4. With a menu so devoted to fried food, it’s easy to forget that a well-

The large fish fillet easily overhangs both sides of the sesame seed bun.

Close-up of the fish served at Doug’s Fish Fry. made coleslaw is an essential part of a proper fish fry. At Doug’s, the coleslaw is a star. The finely-shredded blend of what appears to be red and green cabbage and carrots are mixed with a creamy, milky dressing with plenty of vinegar punch and just a touch of sweetness. The black pepper and celery seed tie it all together. French fries. Surely, if McDonald’s can serve billions of pounds of French fries each year, making a batch of good fries can’t be too hard. Wrong. The chunky fries at Doug’s are cut thick and served skin-on for a boost of potato flavor. However, they are soft — a frequent scourge of freshly-cut fries — and a bit bland. It’s nothing a

little honey curry sauce can’t fix, but next time, I’ll order them well-done, or opt instead for the superior onion rings. The steamed clams, like all the food at Doug’s, were presented simply on a cardboard plate, with a cup of melted butter and oyster crackers on the side. It’s simple: Clams and butter. Just the simple pleasure of a burst of sea, salt and brininess to make it feel like it’s summer, no matter the season. Doug’s has a stack of bumper stickers by the cash register that read “Eat fish, eat scallops, eat clams, live longer, love longer, last longer.” While I’m skeptical that eating fried seafood is the secret to a long life, it’s certainly the key to a happy life.

Doug’s Fish Fry


8 Jordan St., Skaneateles (Second location at 3638 West Road, Cortland.) Hours:

11 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily. (Summer hours). 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily. (off-season) Website:

www.dougsfishfry.com/ Phone:


June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS


Photos courtesy of Hilde Wegner.

55+ writing

Dick Case and His Love of Writing, CNY With a new book, former newspaper columnist is still celebrating Syracuse, Central New York


ongtime Syracuse Newspapers columnist Dick Case is heralded for his wit, charm and wisdom. But what makes him unique is the ability to find the special and unusual elements in people and places that normally wouldn’t make the news. True to his Central New York roots, the Marcellus native graduated from Syracuse University, spent most of his writing career with the local metro daily and even taught graduate level courses at his alma mater. But it was mostly


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By Aaron Gifford Case’s experiences outside of the classroom that shaped his voice and vision as a writer. “I never got accepted into the journalism program,” Case, 81, recalled during a recent interview at his home in the Strathmore neighborhood of Syracuse. He graduated from SU in 1956. “I think I probably had too many jobs. I nearly flunked out.” With the recent release of his latest book, “Salt City Trivia II,” published by the Onondaga County Historical Association,

Case took some time to reflect on a long rewarding career that spanned different eras of the newspaper industries leading up to his continued volunteer work in the community. Case has loved writing for as long as he can remember. Not long ago, he came across a story he had written as a youngster, “The Jungle Boy,” in his late brother’s scrap book. “I was maybe under the influence,” Case said with a laugh, “of the Tarzan movie.” He joined the reporter’s club at

Books written by Dick Case. The latest, “Salt City Trivia II,” (on the right) was recently published. high school, providing coverage of Marcellus High School events for a local community weekly newspaper. A neighbor, Wesley Clark, then the dean of Syracuse University’s journalism program, talked Case into attending SU. Case enrolled as an American Studies major and signed up to write for the Daily Orange on the first day of classes Back then, all student staffers on the Daily Orange had to work on the production end of the paper once a week, which included helping with the printing press. He didn’t much like that job, but stayed on so he could pursue his interest in eventually becoming columnist. Case gradually worked his way up, writing movie reviews before he was promoted to a columnist position his junior year. His column, “A Grain of Salt,” was a combination of opinion and profiles. He also worked for a local news radio station, WAER, and worked as a copy boy for the Syracuse PostStandard, changing paper for the teletype machines, answering phones and fetching coffee for cranky staff writers and editors. The environment was competitive, fastpaced and often tense. He loved it. Case was drafted into the U.S. Army upon graduating from college. This was during the span of time between the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was assigned to a position writing radio scripts for the Army’s propaganda unit, which was based in Japan. Case’s reports, which

included everything from news, to scripted dramas and soap operas, were translated into Korean and Mandarin Chinese and broadcast into China and North Korea. “The goal was to get North Korean soldiers to defect,” Case said. “I never had any idea if it reached its target. It was the same situation then as it is now: The war was over, and there was a demilitarized zone. If I had to be in the Army, it was a good job to have.” Shortly after returning home, Case caught up with his old neighbor, Wesley Clark, who told him that the Syracuse Herald-Journal (afternoon paper) was hiring. Case took the job as a general assignment reporter. His first assignment was covering a taxi driver strike. He also filled in for other staffers in a variety of beats, including crime and courts. The Herald Journal competed with the Post-Standard, so if the morning paper had a story first, Case often had to find something new and different for the same event and expand on it to counter the competition’s report. Case met his wife, Sandra, at work. She worked in the classifieds department at the Herald Journal. They were later married and had three children, John, Laurel and Elizabeth, who also went on to work at Syracuse Newspapers. John Case previously produced a short satire film about infamous former Syracuse mayor Lee Alexander. Dick and Sandra have one grandchild. 

Early in his career, Case took a one-year sabbatical from the paper to attend graduate school in Cooperstown. After that, in the last part of the 1960s, Case left Syracuse for Chicago to work as an editor for the Chicago Historical Association. He worked there for two years but continued to freelance for the Herald Journal. He was there during the 1968 Democratic Convention. “I remember walking to work,” he recalled of the unrest that occurred during the convention, “through a rising ring of tear gas.” Case enjoyed the change of scenery of working and living elsewhere, but he couldn’t stay away from Central New York for too long. He returned home and resumed working here at the paper, covering higher education for a number of years before he was named a fulltime columnist in 1979. The byline changed from Richard G. Case to Dick Case. In the beginning, he was worried about having enough topics to produce a column every other day. But when Case carved his niche as someone who would write about “people well below the level of historic scrutiny,” there was never a shortage of ideas. There was the one about the man who lived in the smallest house in Syracuse. There was also a piece about folks in the Oswego County hamlet of Caughdenoy who liked to eat eels. Case had the freedom to travel to interesting places outside of the region, including the North Country and the Adirondacks. After the devastating ice storm of 1998, he talked to Amish residents in the St. Lawrence County village of Heuvelton about how they helped their “English” neighbors cope with the lack of electricity. Case never counted his columns but would estimate he’s written more than 1,000. He is not without regrets. He got to know a group of inmates in the Auburn prison involved with a prison art project. Case wanted to showcase their talents and unveil the human side of these amateur artists, but in hindsight he believes he may have been too sympathetic to their situation without, on balance, thinking about the plight of their victims and their victim’s families. “When led by the heart,” he June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS


said of the emotional issue, “instead of [being led by] the head.” Case has maintained a good sense of humor as the times changed. He’s old school enough to remember the days when staffers smoked at their desks. Case himself smoked cigars and a pipe at work. One time, while interviewing a new director of the Syracuse Symphony, Case forgot that his pipe was still lit and noticed smoke coming out of his coat pocket. “That’s when I decided to gradually give it up,” he said.  The early to mid-1990s may not have been considered the heyday of newspapers, but locally it was a fine time for Case and many of his colleagues. Syracuse Newspapers promoted their columnists heavily. There were billboards containing images of Case standing alongside I-81, or climbing out of a manhole. “Good Guys, Bad Guys, Big Guys, Little Guys” was a slogan used in the promos for Case and was also the title of his first book in 1994. It was a collection of columns. He later published “Remembering Syracuse,” and “Up North,” a collection of columns Case wrote about people in the Adirondacks and the North Country.  With so many changes over the years, including the merging of the Post-Standard and HeraldJournal staffs, budget cuts, and the prioritization of an online product instead of a daily newspaper, working as a columnist in the Salt City was always a pleasure and an honor for Case. That’s not to say he didn’t have bad days. One of the worst days on the job was when a column he wrote about a topless dancer was cut by an editor for fear that readers would be offended. “The point I was trying to make was that she was also a housewife and a mother,” Case said. “They didn’t see it that way. They stated their reasons. I was mad, though.” The last bad day at work was in 2012, when Case and many other veteran employees were informed that their positions would be eliminated under a massive costcutting initiative that also scaled back the paper’s home delivery.  “I probably should have retired long before I was shown the door,” he says. “But I had the best 14

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job in the world. I never thought about leaving.” Still, Case had plenty of work waiting for him doing something he loves before he would have a chance to taste the boredom of retirement. The Onondaga County Historical Association needed his skills and institutional knowledge to educate local residents, promote their work and insure that the events of this unique community are well-documented for future generations to learn about. There was a desk with his name on it the day after he exited the Clinton Square building, then headquarters of the Syracuse Newspapers, for the last time. Case works at the Historical Association three mornings a week on a volunteer basis. With Case’s help, the organization published Salt City Dick Case at his home in the Strathmore Trivia in 2014 and neighborhood of Syracuse. Photos courtesy of Salt City Trivia II Hilde Wegner. this past December. The former columnist’s his neighborhood, stopping at a volunteering has included work corner store to pick up the Postat Contact Community Services Standard and the New York Times mental health support hotline, Reading often, staying in touch with Vera House, Huntington Family Centers, Samaritan Center and Unity old friends and continuing with his volunteer work helps the old-time Kitchen. Case and his wife did a newspaper veteran stay sharp. fair amount of traveling in the past, For the time being, Case has no with regular trips to Florida and the plan to stop writing about the area he Carolinas, but as they get older, he loves. This was not the first time he says, they are more cautious about was asked about why he continues traveling too far or being away from to care about Central New York. the area too long. They are both “I ask myself that, and my wife pretty health-conscious, “enjoying asks that,” he said. “This is where I’m chicken cooked many different from. I have an ancestor who settled ways, but not eating red meat.” here after the Revolutionary War. I To stay vibrant, Case uses his exercise bike daily and walks around feel a tug from the land, I guess.”

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Members of the Lyncourt Community Band performing last year in front of the East Syracuse Free Library in East Syracuse. A diverse membership performs throughout the summer.

Perfect Harmony Musicians from all walks of life keep the beat with the Lyncourt Community Band By Carol Radin


hen Lyncourt Community Band musicians warm up their woodwinds, brass and percussion, they are a discordant lot at best — until their conductor signals for silence and their notes emerge on one beat, launching into a “West Side Story” song. Suddenly, 32 musicians become one harmonious entity. The Lyncourt Community Band itself evolved in much the same way, with dedicated musicians from all walks of life bringing their crazy mixture of musical backgrounds and abilities into harmony with each other. They keep it going with the guidance of three committed conductors and a passion for music re-discovered, for many, in their later years. Leading the band is Anthony “Tony” DeAngelis, 86, and two other conductors — Ron Nuzzo, a retired music teacher from Jamesville-DeWitt School District, and Ray Sturge, retired from Corcoran and Nottingham high schools. The band has attracted a successful


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mix of former students from their high school teaching days, professional musicians, and older adults who dusted off instruments they once played or bought new instruments to start all over again. “My flute literally sat under my bed for 30 years,” said Laurie Cecconi, 57, a former high school student of DeAngelis. Picking it up was worth it. Two seasons ago, Cecconi played a solo for the band’s selections from Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony. Just like Cecconi, others took their seat in the band so they could re-vitalize their musical interest in a community environment. Mark Franklin, 58, a retired radiologist, was Nuzzo’s high school student way back when. “I found I missed that part of my life when I was playing music, and I thought, well, I can figure it out again, he said. Seven years ago, Franklin bought a new saxophone. “So I had to learn to play it. Now it gives me a direction for my brain,” he said. Another saxophonist, Kim Fagan,

55, had a similar path. A French horn player in high school, she started learning the saxophone 13 years ago, and heard about the Lyncourt Community Band from a friend. “There was a point where I was thinking every line of music as it went from my brain to my fingers. Now it’s automatic,” she said. As she plays Big Band standards like “Autumn Leaves” and “Harlem Nocturne,” she realizes, “I’m a saxophone player now.” Aside from new music and new friends, Fagan has taken on an integral role in the band’s operations, that of business manager who coordinates communication, publicity, concert programming, and music distribution. The band has many more returning learners. Percussionist Dick Calagiovanni, 68, retired from Verizon, picked up his drumsticks again in 2014 after 36 years of not playing, and Bob Marsman, a retired Syracuse police sergeant, says, “I realized my early desire to play trumpet at 52.” Now 70, he’s been playing in Lyncourt for

six years. Of course, some of the musicians have been playing for life. Two of Ron Nuzzo’s former students in the band have professional experience. The band’s go-to trumpet soloist, Rhys Hensen, 61, was a studio musician in Los Angeles for years and led his own band, which contracted for large events. Dan Lawitts, 64, was the timpanist/artist-in-residence for the Concord Chamber Orchestra in the Milwaukee area, and played for other bands and orchestras in Milwaukee and Chicago, while doing double duty on his day jobs.

In tune with music

Whatever their musical level, the musicians thrive on the week-toweek connection with other musicians and on the possibilities inherent in practicing and performing all kinds of music from Tchaikovsky to George Gershwin to Cole Porter. “It transports you to a different realm, “ says Carol Dumka, a retired music teacher and a bass clarinet player. “When I was a teacher, I would tell my students I didn’t expect everyone would want to play professionally, but they should continue their music throughout their lives. I’m a believer in community bands.” So is Shannon McGlew, 24, a Syracuse University law student from Buffalo and one of a handful of younger generation players in the band. Last year, Shannon, a flutist, found the band on Facebook when she was looking for an outlet outside of her law studies. Now she values not only the exposure to experienced musicians but the connection beyond her school campus. “I feel attached to the community now. I’ve met people who are not students. And I realize that the music is not just for me — it’s for the community and the concerts,” she said. Community, music, concerts — this is the life of the Lyncourt Community Band because they are DeAngelis’s life. Of the three conductors, it is DeAngelis who the musicians regard as their founding father. After retirement from the Lyncourt School, where he was band director for 54 years, DeAngelis started the Lyncourt Community Band along with his colleague and former middle-

Musicians Ralph Schock on trumpet (background), and Loren Gosselin and Ruth Florey, playing French horns. school student, Sam Julian. “We started with 12 musicians who could barely play ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,’” he recalls with a chuckle. Now 40 strong at their maximum, they can perform Gershwin’s “American in Paris.” Like a father, DeAngelis is both generous with his compliments, praising all of his “outstanding people,” and conscientious about challenging them. Having played bassoon for the Syracuse Symphony for 35 years, he draws on his background to add classical pieces to the band’s repertoire. At the same time, he is conscious of the musicians’ varying ability levels. “He is intuitive in the way he understands how all abilities fit together,” Fagan said. “He’s bringing the band to higher levels.” DeAngelis himself exclaims with his wide smile, “To see them improving is one of my life’s joys.” DeAngelis is highly respected in the Syracuse area. This year he was the recipient of a special honor — a 2017 Syracuse Area Music Award for Hall of Fame Music Educator of the Year. The Lyncourt School auditorium is named after him, and his band’s popularity is evident in the enthusiasm of the wall-to-wall audience that fills St. Daniel’s gym in Lyncourt for the annual holiday concert every December. Monsignor Eugene Yennock, 91, pastor of St. Daniel’s Parish, attends all the concerts at Lyncourt and provides concert and practice space in the gym.

He speaks warmly of DeAngelis, a lifelong friend. “There’s his enthusiasm, his skill, the heartfelt feeling he puts into his musical endeavors,” Yennock said. “He’s influenced so many students. They in turn become teachers and musicians and transmit music to others.” Now 86, DeAngelis said he realized in his mid-70s that he ought to start “pulling back,” as he puts it. So he brought in two other conductors. We have a trio of approaches that makes the band work together better than ever,” he said.

Recruiting gems

He recruited Nuzzo straight out of retirement from the Jamesville-DeWitt

Summer Concerts

All are welcome for the Lyncourt Community Band’s concerts in June: • An outdoor concert at the East Syracuse Library, 7 p.m. on June 1 (rain date June 15) • The annual St. Daniel’s spring concert at St. Daniel’s School gym on Court Street in Lyncourt, 7 p.m. on June 8. No other concert was on the schedule as of press time. For more information, go to http:// lyncourtcommunityband.webs. com/ or visit the Facebook page of the band (just go to Facebook and type “Lyncourt Community Band”. June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS


School District. At 70, Nuzzo was up for a new challenge. “This is for me,” Nuzzo recalls thinking after his first rehearsal. He has been playing trumpet since age 11 and lived briefly in New York City in his youth, hoping to break into the music business. He abandoned that idea when he heard of an opening in the JamesvilleDeWitt School District and taught music there for 49 years. “I made the best decision of my life,” he said. “I loved every minute of it.” How does Nuzzo feel about conducting a band now where some of the members are former students of his? For one, he can now give them a challenging piece like Berlioz’s “March to the Scaffold.” “Think of it,” he said. “It’s so rewarding to have them think enough of me that they want to be in a band with me now.” DeAngelis’s other conductor, Sturge, is a colleague from Signature Syracuse, a nonprofit organization where they both volunteer with city schoolchildren. Now 60 and retired from Syracuse schools, Sturge teaches part-time at the Syracuse Academy of Music and plays trumpet in three other bands. Always experimenting, he recently dusted off his dad’s E-flat sousaphone, which has been “hanging around for 50 years,” he said. If Sturge loves performing, he finds his conducting just as rewarding. “There’s an energy loop here. Whatever energy you put into it, you get back sometimes more than you put into it,” he said. And, he gets to work with “really loyal, hard-working people,” he added. For Sturge, conducting has meant new friends, an opportunity to try new literature, and another place where community and music meet. As Sturge so succinctly puts it, “The ‘community’ in community band is very literal.” For the Lyncourt Community Band, this certainly sums it up. When they walk into the rehearsal room and warm up, with their wild assortment of notes and chords and cymbal clangs, they are individuals. And when they play together, on a literal level and beyond, the harmony begins.


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How to Get a ‘Kid Fix’ By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


o grandchildren? No problem. If you lack grandchildren, or yours live too far away to visit often, you can get your “kid fix” through any of the many local opportunities to help children. In addition to benefiting the children, you’ll receive the satisfaction of giving back to your community’s youngest residents. Patricia Company, director of Catholic Charities of Onondaga County Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), said her organization primarily focuses on senior-to-senior volunteering. But RSVP does offer an intergenerational pen pal program that pairs youngsters with mature adults. The adult mentors can help youngsters improve their punctuation, penmanship, composition and other writing skills.

“It fits with Common Core literacy,” Company said. “The teacher may do some correction before it’s sent.” She said about 24 to 30 students in fifth grade correspond with seniors in the program who write about a page or page and a half about their interests and things the child enjoys. Volunteering as a pen pal works well for seniors who lack transportation or mobility. They can mail their letters to RSVP or a RSVP representative will pick them up. “The kids enjoy it and the seniors really enjoy it, too,” Company said. Want something more handson? Syracuse OSASIS facilitates an intergenerational tutoring program. Tracie Alexander, program and volunteer manager, said that the interaction with the younger children

is definitely beneficial. “It’s almost like a grandparent and grandchild relationship they develop,” Alexander said. “It gives volunteers a greater sense of purpose following their retirement from a lifelong career.” Lori Wood, a volunteer at a Central Square School and a board of education member, said that she looks forward to the time she spends tutoring children. “I love hearing their little voices, their funny expressions and I love cheering them on when they do a great job,” Wood said. “Going to Mrs. Foster’s class is the highlight of my week.” At the Foster Grandparent Program with PEACE, Inc., in Syracuse, people 55 and older are paired with children who could benefit from one-on-one time. The federally funded, national service program pairs qualified lower

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income volunteers with children in local elementary schools, day care centers and Head Start programs to meet weekly. Helping children with special needs in a school setting can provide “guidance, support and friendship to overcome obstacles they’re facing,” said Beth O’Hara program director. She added that both parties — children and volunteers — benefit in quality of life, mental health and socially. The interaction could involve organized play, reading, arts and crafts, or tutoring. “If someone can sit with them and gently nudge them to pay attention, listen, keep their hands to themselves and behave appropriately, that can help foster better behavior,” O’Hara said. Volunteers receive a non-taxable stipend of $2,800 that won’t offset Social Security or any benefits they receive. That amounts to about $2.60 an hour for the amount of time volunteers participate, which can help them cover transportation and other costs involved with volunteering. O’Hara surveys the volunteers annually. She said that they like

Janet Fureno, from left, Steve Walker and Evelyn Crockett Dykes volunteer in the Foster Grandparent Program with PEACE, Inc., in Syracuse. having a good reason for getting out of the house and feeling they’re giving back to their community’s smallest members. For more ideas on how to help children, try these ideas: • Ask at your place of worship. Many clergy want more volunteers to help lead children’s classes or programs. • Reach out to your local library branch about any opportunities.

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Where Boomers Are Headed This Year Experts say cruises to the Caribbean and trips to Disney top the lists of many travelers By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


here are baby boomers traveling this year? Area travel agents offered a glimpse into where their clients are headed in 2017. At Allison’s Magical Moments Vacations in Syracuse, travel agent Allison Francisco said that most baby boomers want either cruises or Disney vacations. In addition to multi-generational getaways, many trips she books are for people 55-plus who want to travel to Disney World without their adult kids and grandkids. “I don’t know if it’s because people are realizing it’s an option to do it themselves, that they can have an amazing vacation without their kids,” Francisco said. “Maybe it’s just their turn to have a vacation and do what they want to do.” She added that Disney is catering to more discerning vacationers with signature restaurants, spas, tours and the like. As for cruising, she’s booking many eastern and western Caribbean cruises, most of which last seven or more days. Most vacationers aren’t booking shore excursions, partly because many cruise ships pack so many activities into the ship and also because


55 PLUS - June / July 2017

baby boomers want to explore the ports themselves, especially if they’re experienced travelers. European travel has experienced a minor uptick lately, she added, but “there’s more nervousness about it with the way the world is today with the political climate and terrorism. I think people are afraid. The surge of domestic travel will continue to rise.” Trips involving historic sites, shows or a landscape markedly different from Central New York draw baby boomers. Richard O’Neil, travel agent and owner of Travel Choice International in East Syracuse, said that domestic trips rising in popularity among locals include trips to the Grand Hotel at Mackinac Island in Michigan, Cape Cod, The Shaw Festival in Toronto, the Hudson Valley, Montreal, San Antonio, and Sight & Sound Theatre in Lancaster County, Pa. He said that Sight & Sound in Lancaster County “is a favorite. They do a different show every year, so it’s a renewable trip. It’s a delightful area, too.” Most of these are motor coach trips, which he said older adults like because “flying is a hassle for a lot of people, and with the motor coach, they won’t have to drive,” he said.

Planning a Trip

You can plan your vacation without the help of a travel agent; however, travel agents can provide services that can make your trip easier. • Agents can help you brainstorm about where you want to go. It’s their job to keep their fingers on the pulse of travel hotspots. • Travel agents also stay abreast of good travel deals. With their connections, they may be able to pull strings to get you in on a “sold out” cruise or upgrade that consumers can’t get. • Your safety is a big concern. Travel agents can assist you in choosing safe places to explore and safer ways to do so. If you’re a less experienced traveler, travel agents can suggest ways to improve your safety wherever you go. • Miss your connecting f l i g h t ? Yo u r r e s e r v a t i o n evaporate? If you get in a bind while abroad, travel agents may be able to help you or at least advise you as to where you can get help.


small business Frank Mazzye Jr. is the second generation in his family to operate Mazzye’s Meats in LIverpool.

The Meat Man Frank Mazzye Jr. has operated a Liverpool specialty meat market for nearly four decades


ince 1984 Frank Mazzye Jr. and his family have been cutting and selling meats to the many loyal customers at their Liverpool location on 7252 Oswego Road. Specialty meat shops aren’t too common anymore, having been long eclipsed by supermarkets with multiple departments, but Mazzye’s Meats has hung in there and become an area staple. By 1951 Frank Mazzye Sr. was a master meat cutter and taught others the trade of butchering. Eventually Frank Jr. and others in the Mazzye clan learned the ropes, too. “We all worked for the grocery

By Matthew Liptak stores, way back when, in the ‘70s,” said 62-year-old Frank Mazzye Jr. “We worked for Acme Markets. Then they went out when P&C went out. We bought out [another] established meat store. They were retiring down in Galeville. Me and my father and my mother started down there in 1978.” In all those decades the Mazzyes have kept to the basics of their work, offering high-end meats, sandwiches, salads and other offerings. They do it with a personal style that helps keep them stay in touch with their customers. “I think customer service is probably the first thing,” Mazzye Jr.

said. “People can come in here and talk to the owner face to face. Our business increases every year so we must be doing something right. We know customers by their first names when they come in so they feel comfortable. A lot of it is word of mouth. We don’t really do a lot of advertising.” There is work involved, and the Mazzye’s haven’t shirked from it. Staffers, including Mazzye Jr., often come in at 7 a.m. and don’t leave the store until 6 p.m. “I mix it up,” Mazzye Jr. said. “If it’s busy I’m over here working with these guys at the counter. If it’s not busy I’ll go back and ring out checks. June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS


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I’m always busy doing something.” He blamed the lack of other freestanding meat markets and specialty shops today on the changes in the work ethic. “Because nobody wants to work — [especially] the young generation,” he said “They want to sit at a desk and work 9 a.m. to 3 o’clock.” He has steered clear from the possibility of expanding or duplicating the shop in other areas. The dangers of doing that were made apparent to him when the Village Sub Shop in Liverpool failed, and Liehs & Steigerwald’s, another specialty meat business with two locations in Onondaga County, had to close its Clay location in the summer. “I see too many places that open up another place and they go under,” he said. “You see a lot of that. It’s just too much. You’re going to lose customers who go to your new place. You’re going to stretch yourself into two places if you don’t do any more business. You’ve got two overheads now. ” The Mazzyes also have a deckbuilding business along with doing some snow plowing in the winter. That works out for them because things tend to quiet down in February and March. Mazzye Jr. believes that’s because shoppers don’t want to make a separate stop at the specialty store in bad weather, when they can get all their items from the supermarket and stay inside. The slow period works for him because he is an avid snowmobiler in his free time. He likes to go north up to the Tug Hill Plateau and hit the trails. “We start up maybe in Redfield or Parish and go up to Barnes Corners,” he said. “It’s nice. I like being outside. You’re not talking to anyone. You’re away from everything. You’re inside your helmet.” He said the shop will likely change hands in a half a dozen years or so, which is when he expects to retire. None of his three children are interested in picking it up at this point as they have gone into different fields. Until then he is right where he wants to be. “This is plenty right here,” he said. “This is all I want.”

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June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS




Harping Over Music

Local harp composer wins runner-up in international competition


By Matthew Liptak

here is something seductive about the harp. Its serene, enchanted melodies can draw people to it like moths to a

flame. That’s what happened while sitting down to interview Alexandra Coursen, runner-up in the recent Hidden Gem international harp concert and composition competition in England. As we sat near her harp to chat at the Nottingham nursing home in Jamesville, employees wandered in, attracted to the instrument Coursen had just been playing. One employee, William Kitchcart, was invited by Coursen to try his hand at the harp. Kitchcart is a self-taught musician and seemed to be a natural on the instrument. As we sat to talk about Coursen’s journey with the harp, we were serenaded by the soothing tones of the harp as Kitchcart plucked its strings. “He’s amazing,” Coursen remarked. “He’s a natural. He needs to get a harp. There wasn’t one bad note.” There haven’t been many bad notes in Coursen’s path into music either. The 61-year-old started on the piano when she was younger. She practiced for hours as a child and eventually landed in Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. But she found the expectations at that level weren’t a good fit for her musically, where 26

55 PLUS - June / July 2017

Alexandra Coursen, the runner-up in the recent Hidden Gem international harp concert and composition competition in England. everyone had deep reservoirs of ability. “I studied at Oberlin Conservatory,” she said. “I didn’t remain there. I transferred to the college. It’s a very intense environment to go to a music conservatory. There are so many people who are so good at a conservatory. You realize what’s in the cards. I didn’t want to be a piano teacher so I got out of the conservatory very quickly and I graduated with a degree in government. I then went on to law school at Syracuse, became a lawyer, practiced law, and retired about two years ago.” It wasn’t until well into her career that she discovered the instrument that would become her new passion. “About 25 years ago, I learned that you could buy a traditional harp — a Celtic harp — not one of the big harps that you find in an orchestra. They were affordable,” she said. “You could carry them without all the fuss that you’d have with a big concert harp. I loved the sounds and essentially taught myself. There are books on how to teach yourself harp. It’s very similar to the piano when you read the music.” Coursen took lessons with some harpists in the area, but they were really more or less concert harpists. Her initial involvement with the instrument was on a slow burn. She had young children at home who took up her time. When several of the

strings broke on her instrument, she basically ignored it for a while. But about 10 years ago, she founded a local group — Harmony of Harps — that she could play with. With her kids grown, she became more serious about the instrument. “That got me going,” she said. “When I first went to this ensemble, I was playing with one finger with one hand because I hadn’t been practicing. You must practice, at least I do, to keep your faculties. We get together once a month. We perform at the Scottish Celtic games. Usually we have a concert at Christmas time.”

Improvisational setting Then the harpist started playing in Irish sessions in pubs around Syracuse like Kitty Hoynes and J. Ryan’s. An Irish seisiún is an impromptu musical performance where random musicians will appear at an Irish pub and play old, familiar tunes. There is no music on paper to read and play. “I had to dig deep into this Irish tradition of no music,” Coursen said. “It’s very instinctive. If you’ve been doing it from day one, playing by ear, it’s very natural. For some classical musicians, it can be natural. I don’t think it was natural for me. As I’ve said, I really like those notes on the page. The more you do it the better

you get at it.” While immersing herself more into the mysteries of the harp, Coursen decided she wanted to compose for the instrument. She came up with a unique way to create pieces. She takes the letters in a person’s name and applies a key to each of them, based on how they line up with the alphabet. “Let’s say I’m writing this first piece of music and I’ve never done this before,” she said. “This was two years ago. The baby’s name is Michael. M is going to be an F (key). I wrote this for this little baby shower. Michael Thomas Jones. There’s the melody with the notes that are assigned to the letters of his name. It’s sort of cute and personal. From there I went on to do another baby. I wrote it in two hours. It’s a one-page piece of music —quick and dirty.” Coursen applies varying amounts of effort to creating these “name pieces.” She took several months to compose a wedding name piece for her sister and brother-in-law, joining the names of the bride and groom melodically. The new composer wanted to continue to improve. She discovered an online mentorship program led by renowned jazz harpist Deborah Henson-Conant. It was there that she learned about the Hidden Gem concert. It was free, so she entered. “I sent it off in the email,” she said. “They announced the finalists 16 days later. Ever since I learned I was a finalist, you’re smiling inside. I was the only woman. These finalists are in composition school. I’ve been sort of doing this for fun.” She didn’t win the competition, but the name piece of hers that was played, “NESHAMA” qualified her to be a runner-up, which means her music will be published and the concert will also be available on CD. Coursen is tickled by her success and plans to continue to pursue playing the harp and composing music for it. She writes both name pieces and conventional pieces. The instrument has certainly seduced her, as it does many others, with its mesmerizing music. “The sound is seductive,” she said. “I was about to say enchanting, but I really have to say seductive. To sit down and practice the piano is tedious. When I practice the harp, I have to stop myself. You get seduced by the sound.”

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my turn By Bruce Frassinelli Email: bruce@cny55.com

My 60th-year Class Reunion


y high school class of 1957 celebrated our 60thyear reunion in May, a bittersweet time filled with pleasant memories but also regret that 13 of our class members are no longer with us. Ours was a small class — just 42 — at a time before consolidation of local school districts into much larger regional units in Pennsylvania. The high school had just three grades back then — seniors, juniors and sophomores; ninth-graders went to junior high school with the eighthand seventh-graders. There was no such thing as a middle school, which grew in popularity starting in the mid-1960s. Our small community had only about 5,000 residents and had been losing population ever since the anthracite coal mines began shutting down a few years earlier. Because there were few employment opportunities in our area after mining petered out, workers had to seek jobs in more metropolitan areas; many moved to New Jersey or other nearby states, where job opportunities were more plentiful and career advancements more likely. My parents ran a small grocery store that gave them a decent, if not opulent, living. When you have a grocery store attached to your home, you can always count on being well28

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fed, even if you don’t have a lot of money in your pocket. When I was elected class president in our sophomore year, I did not realize that the term was in the same category as U.S. Supreme Court justices — for life. We have had class reunions every five years until three years ago. We had so much fun at our 55th that those in attendance clamored for one between that one and this one. I thought it would be catchy to have a 57th-year reunion for the Class of ’57. Starting with our 50th-year reunion, we have had luncheons rather than evening events. Most of us old folk don’t much care for driving at night, especially if we have a drink or two. We also have them on the Thursday prior to Memorial Day since some classmates who moved out of the area return to spend time with family for this holiday. The centerpiece of any class reunion is catching up with friends whom we haven’t seen since the last reunion. It is always a treat when a class member whom we have rarely seen at reunions shows up. Despite our efforts to involve not only those who graduated in 1957, but also those students who went to school with us but dropped out before graduation, there is still a handful who have never attended even one of our 13 class reunions. We send out a mailer with

information, and in the mailer there is a self-addressed stamped envelope for replies with a deadline. If we don’t get a reply by the deadline, members of the reunion committee call the nonresponding classmates to persuade them to join us. One of our classmates who has never attended told a reunion committee member three years ago “don’t bother me anymore; I am not interested.” This reminds me of an Oswego friend whose class some years ago was celebrating its 50thyear reunion. “I guess you’re excited about going to your 50th,” I said to him. “I’m not going,” he said, with a certain amount of indignation. “Why the heck not?” I asked. “I didn’t like those bastards when I was in high school with them; why would I go out of my way to be with them now?” he replied. We always make it a point to honor our deceased classmates with a brief program in which we mention their names and light a candle for each. We also have a program that deals with reminiscences of our high school days or the history of our hometown. My granddaughter asked her friend’s father what went on at class reunions? I chuckled at his response: “You spend money, you’re nervous, and people try to lose 20 pounds in the months prior to the reunion.” Sounds about right.

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Three in a

Row! Spring 2016 Fall 2016 Spring 2017

We have one goal — to provide the safest care close to home Oswego Hospital was awarded an “A” for patient safety for the third consecutive time by the Leapfrog Group, an independent nonprofit run by purchasers of health benefits.

Cancer Care Program Cardiology ER/Urgent Care Family Care Surgical Care Service Imaging / Laboratory Orthopedics Rehabilitation Services Senior Services Women’s Services

This Hospital Safety Score used 30 measures of safety data to calculate this single score representing the hospital’s ability to keep patients safe from infections, injuries, medical and medication errors. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is an elite designation from the Leapfrog Group, an independent nonprofit that sets the highest national standards for patient safety, quality and transparency in healthcare.


Oswego Health oswegohealth.org/safety



June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS




Jim Sollecito Goes to Cuba Trip to Caribbean island nation is challenging, adventurous


By Jim Sollecito

ubans are perhaps the most genuine people on the planet. Knock on any door, and they would give you the shirt off their back if they had one. If they didn’t, they’d find one. Time has a different value here. Many travelers think of Cuba as being trapped in a time warp, and to some extent, that is true. That Cuba is stalled in another time accounts for so much of its charm.


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Upon closer inspection, changes are indeed happening. On my return trip this year, I saw hotels under construction near some of the most unspoiled yet underused sugar-white sand beaches in the world. One problem is the “two-and-ahalf” lane pothole-filled roads to access these places are still fraught with assorted traffic. It took us 7.5 hours to travel 143 miles and that is typical. It’s a different pace than we know. Some drivers are better than others about sharing the road with a myriad of horse-drawn carts, bicycles, tractors pulling carts, and anything else on wheels. Public transportation is a big challenge in Cuba, even though they just imported 4,000 buses from China. People are always waiting to get from one place to another, sometimes holding out money to entice a lift. Choosing to venture beyond an organized tour of Havana or a resort stay, our visit to Cuba was well beyond “vacation” and carried us deep into adventure. This is a complex country that is not particularly easy to navigate. We didn’t have to look; frustration found us. Surmounting that, dancing and song are a way of life, and some of the local lore brings an easy smile to your face. For instance, when making a toast, it’s important to look into the other person’s eyes or you’ll have three years’ bad sex. The people are as nice as anywhere I have ever spent time. I never heard a loud swear word. However, the country’s infrastructure is sadly lacking, so having a guide, or in our case a personal friend, or contact allowed us to keep moving ahead with the daily bumps and grinds. My traveling companion and friend, professional photographer Larry Benvenuti, has been to the country 26 times. I cannot recall even one day he didn’t say to me, “This is Cuba, man.” And as the Cubans would say, “You have to get used to us.” It’s definitely not for everyone. Together, Benvenuti and I plotted and planned our trip. Then it changed daily as we adapted to weather and conditions. We didn’t follow the crowd because then we’d only go as far as the crowd went. We missed turns, took alternate avenues, and created quite an adventure.

If things went well with my 10 weight fly rod, a large tarpon would be caught, and safely released to fight another day. For larger fish, after carefully looking around for sharks, I’d jump into the ocean and carefully revive them so they could swim off.

Columbus was supposedly buried here, but then moved to the Dominican Republic, and finally Spain.

One of the most popular, yet aged, Cuban Bar and Restaurant Musician, Manocotta. Still performing at age 75. June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS


From the rear seat, we asked our driver to turn down the air conditioner. When he answered, we literally saw frost come out of his mouth, as you get either too much or nothing at all. Drivers played chicken with other road warrior drivers, until a car might overheat — as ours did — or break down. No automobile association. You’d better know someone to call or start pushing. With a good job, it takes at least 10 years to save up for a car, but then it’s nearly impossible to maintain it. In the case of an accident or wear and tear, it might take two years or longer for a repair. Anything is possible in Cuba, but nothing is guaranteed. Those 60,000 pre-1959 American classic cars are indeed a cool way to get around, at first. Then you realize the absence of operating seat belts, an effective suspension, operable door handles, any windshield wipers and other things we automatically count on in our vehicles. Supposedly, there are annual auto inspections. Double white lines in the roads are “suggestions.” Drivers use the horn to alert their presence, with very little use of directional signals. Cigars are not the only things that smoke in Cuba. I grew a new appreciation for pollution standards and regulations

in the United States. Tree-lined streets are “organically enriched.” An occasional horse wore a diaper to catch droppings but mostly not. Law requires helmets for motorcycle riders, but not the much more numerous bicyclists. Both kinds of cycles were much more common than in the U.S. and many motorcycles had sidecars.

Government in control On the surface and on TV, things appear to be fine. Below the surface, a lot of government control. At Christopher Columbus Cemetery, we were followed around by the secret police. As we left, our car was checked to see if we stole anything such as pieces of metal with the intention of selling. Many people hold two or more jobs. Private enterprises are encouraged to keep people happy and off public jobs. On a main road, we regularly saw people step into the passing lane hawking eggs, cheese, onions, and whatever else they could sell for few pesos. Most of the tourists are from Canada, followed by Spain and France. Once you are used to the place, it is a destination you can definitely

revisit. Many Americans don’t know Hemingway lived in Cuba for 22 years, longer than he spent in Key West, Fla. We ate at private restaurants, which are cleaner and better value than government-run ones. The government controls every large business, no matter what the sign says on the door. American credit cards simply don’t work; it’s important to take cash. American cell phones require a special card. Forget about internet connections. Including hotels, only 5 percent of Cubans have internet access. Hotels cost $150-$450 a night. We chose to stay at private homes known as casas particulares — two rooms including breakfast ran about $35. But for internet access, it was necessary to go for a walk in search of a public hot spot and share it with a hundred or so of our new best friends. Even better, we just turned off the electronics and appreciated a simpler life for a while. It’s good for the heart and soul. Once we reached our ocean destination, the fly fishing was world class. Conventional tackle is not allowed; fishing is strictly catch and release. In the Bay of Pigs, the quarry is primarily bonefish. Bonefish are lightning fast and their skittish nature

Country road, where cars often share space with horse-drawn carriages. Please take me home! 32

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is legendary. I caught them up to 7 pounds and on a good day might fight up to 18 fish. I was reminded of the importance of spending time in the absence of noise — not another boat, no planes overhead, no other fishermen. All we heard were flocks of pink flamingo taking off or perhaps the screech of an osprey. In the north at Las Brujas, it is all about resident tarpon. In either place that I fished, most of these fish had never before seen a fly, so they were not shy. We saw the happy fish swimming along, made our cast, adjusted the presentation as we stripped the line with baited breath, and waited. Those were the moments when time stood still. Then the heart-racing explosion as a fish hit the fly! Tarpon are acrobats. Their spectacular jumps, blistering fast runs, and fighting stamina will test angling skills. Each one I caught was well over 60 pounds. On a good day, I might jump six fish. Lunch on the boat was “ham” and cheese and three pieces of bread wrapped in a napkin. As the day warmed, the napkin melded with the meal. We also had half a pineapple and bottles of water from the only brand in the country, the government-owned Ciego Montero. The February sun brought daytime temperatures up to 85 degrees; the sea was 82. We wore protective clothing with a UPF 50 rating and made sure to reapply sunscreen to our exposed skin every few hours. Typically, the winds picked up as the day went on. The best fishing winds were the Trade Winds, or a solid Northeast breeze, usually up

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financial health By David J. Zumpano

I Got My Healthcare Proxy at the Hospital


Is it enough get a proxy at the local hospital or from your doctor’s office?

octors and hospitals often provide basic healthcare proxies to ensure someone is authorized to make your healthcare decisions if you can’t. The good news is having these healthcare proxies are better than nothing, but the bad news is, they’re rarely enough to avoid challenges to your family and, more importantly, to ensure for your wishes to be met. Doctors and hospitals offer healthcare proxies as a public service but it is far from what a health care proxy should address. A proper healthcare proxy will identify who you appoint to make your health care decisions and what general wishes you want regarding end of life decisions. More importantly a properly drafted healthcare proxy will also address how to provide for you if you

are not at your end of life but are incapacitated and unable to make your day-to-day decisions. The critical distinction is to make sure your healthcare proxy appoints people you trust and provides them the necessary instructions of how to care for you during life and at the end of your life so that your loved ones never have to make those decisions. It can even address your willingness to donate organs and specify who has authority over your remains. Not having your wishes clearly spelled out can cause a lifetime of regret to those you love who ultimately have to make a decision without knowing what you wanted. Doctors are there to support your family but doctors do not want to be burdened with those decisions either. They, like your loved ones, just want

to do what you want so it’s critical you are clear. Finally, most healthcare proxies we review, including those from hospitals and doctors, are not even compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). If your healthcare proxy is not compliant it does not have to be honored. Call an estate planning attorney today to get proper documents in place to protect yourself and your family. You want to have a healthcare proxy that addresses all of your needs. David J. Zumpano is an attorney and a certified public accountant (CPA). He operates Estate Planning Law Center. He can be reached at 315-793-3622.

or Register Online at EPLawCenter.com

NEW LOCATION! www.EPLawCenter.com 34

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aging By Marilyn L. Pinsky

My Impressions of India


My visit to this complex, fascinating country Second in a three-part series

n the recent movie “Lion,” a true story that takes place in India, there is a scene at a train station where a frantic young boy is trying to tell people he is lost and needs to find his family. But no one can understand him because he fell asleep on a train and woke up in another state hours from his home they speak a different language. It would be as if you left Oswego and got off the train in Albany and the people didn’t speak English and you had no way of asking directions.  That is one of the complexities of India — there are 29 states and seven union territories and 23 recognized official languages.  (Though for people who want to get ahead, English is their first or second language.)  I feel like it is important to mention the caste system as it always comes up in conversation when talking about India and the people in our group had many questions about it. I can only give a superficial impression and I don’t think it’s fair to do that, so I will just say that it influences every segment of life in India, from jobs to social mobility. The government is trying to change that with incentives for education for people in lower castes and, indeed, there are people who are “untouchables” — also known as Dalits — who have become doctors and legislators, but the numbers are still very small.   Like many countries, politics and religion are intermingled. People in certain castes often vote as a bloc and political corruption is a fact of life. Communism is just another political party in India and a town we were in had that year elected a Communist

Fog or smoke hangs over much of india, including in the Taj Mahal area this is the beautiful Taj Mahal in India but shrouded in smog from pollution in the air. political slate. Cuban dictator Fidel Castro had recently died and it was a bit incongruous to see posters of him hanging in a small Indian village square honoring his memory. How can you write about India and not mention the Taj Mahal? It is truly beautiful. I had not known it had been built as a Muslim shrine and that at one point the British tried to sell it. Luckily we were there for a day and a half as the first day the smog was so bad that you couldn’t stand back and get a sense of its full beauty. As you drive through the countryside, you see women in colorful saris working in the fields. After a while you get used to the bus stopping for cows, elephants, monkeys and, in some towns, donkeys that are in the road.  We had a seven-hour trip which

was slowed down not just by the animals, but by the fog or smoke that hangs over much of the country, both big cities and rural areas. You can see it, smell it and taste it in your mouth. Again, anyone in the US who chafes at our environmental laws, need only spend a day in India to see what it is like to live in a country without such restrictions.  As you pass through one rural village after another you only see men outside, rarely a woman and then never alone. In the villages women stay home or work in the fields. You get used to the continual horn tooting and the roads are as filled with people in the dark as they are in the day.   I promise I will only write one more article on India, but the country made such an impression on me, that I can’t stop thinking about it.   June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS




The Thornden Park Association — whose members include, from left, Earl “Gator” Darisaw, Carol Simson and Miranda Hine — continues its work to restore the venerable Syracuse park to pristine condition. Hine said next on the agenda is an amphitheater, and basketball and tennis courts. 

Restoring a Gem of Syracuse By Matthew Liptak

Thornden Park Association volunteers’ persistence pays off for community


ome members of the Thornden Park Association in Syracuse were decades younger when they first got involved in restoring their neighborhood’s 76 -acre park. Their efforts have reaped rewards for the whole community and, as restoration continues, it is likely it will continue. “I think it’s the results you see over time that are just really rewarding,” said Miranda Hine, 67. “I feel really 36

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proud of what we’ve accomplished. The other piece is working with really amazing people and getting to know your neighbors really well, and forming a community within the community. It’s been really satisfying to me personally that there are things here in the park that weren’t here when we first moved here 35 years ago.” Hine, originally from England, married her American husband when she was 19. They settled in the university neighborhood and raised

a family not far from the park. Her kids learned to swim at the pool in Thornden and now her grandkids are following in their parents’ footsteps. “Well, I think our goal is to restore all the 76 acres of this park,” said Carol Simson, 71. “We have short-term goals, long-term goals and medium goals.” Like Hine, Simson is another resident of the neighborhood that believes in giving back. Earl “Gator” Darisaw, 61, is yet another. He helps run the Pop Warner football effort at

the park. “We’ve been here for a number of years,” he said. “It was formally known as the Sherman Park Bulldogs, but we changed the name to Thornden Park Bulldogs when we got it on the board with the Thornden Park Association. We’ve been here I think almost 15 years now, probably longer than that. I used to coach, and I’m just the president now.” The Bulldogs fielded 122 kids on four different teams last year. They didn’t get into the playoffs last year, but Darisaw is more optimistic about this fall. Basketball and tennis are two other sports that may soon garner new attention at Thornden. Restoring the basketball and tennis courts are the next big projects in the works now. The other is the restoration of the park’s amphitheater. In terms of the amphitheater, “we’re trying to get together $200,000 that’s been designated for it by NYS Assemblyman Sam Roberts,” Hine said. “We’re hoping to write a grant to match it. That’s in the early stages. We haven’t started. We want to make it handicapped-accessible. There’s a major drainage problem. Then the changing rooms underneath need to be restored. They’re in pretty bad shape. We just want to get it so it would attract other users, again, to bring people into the park.”

The E.M. Mills Rose Garden is one of the most popular sites within the Thornden Park in Syracuse. The park as a whole has been restored by a group of volunteers from the Thornden Park Association. Photo courtesy of M.F. Piraino.

Unique offerings The park has a number of features that help make it special. There is the huge weeping beech; the restored carriage house; the E.M. Mills Rose Garden, which the association believes is one of the oldest and finest municipal rose gardens in America; the reservoir; the herb garden; the azalea walk; the children’s spray pool; children’s playground; and the exercise course which is under renovation. The trio of association members spoke outside the stone field house during the chili festival, a fundraiser that takes place in March. It was a frigid Syracuse day, but that didn’t stop at least 100 people from partaking in the neighborhood tradition, which included chili, drinks and music. While Hine and Simson sat outside on a picnic bench, they related some of their fondest memories of the

Thornden. The lily pond is another park feature that was once long forgotten until it was restored. “My memory is of a neighbor,” Hine said. “She’s since died, but in the early stages we were planting things in the lily pond. We were at the very beginning. Debbie Wellman and I were with other people planting the flowerbeds. The rose garden’s always been a wedding place. She asked, ‘Do you think people will ever get married here?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ Now more weddings take place at the lily pond then even at the rose garden.” It is the hard work of Hine, Simson, Darisaw and other unsung heroes that have brought the whole park back to life. Thornden Park was formally

created in 1921, but back in the 1960s and ‘70s, it fell into disrepair and perhaps even disrepute. Now, in part because of the efforts of the association, founded in 1983, it draws people in from both within and outside the university neighborhood. It is a gem of the many area parks, and with help of the association, may likely continue to offer decades of rest and recreation to area residents. Back in the old days before the association, when Simson was a Syracuse University student, she first encountered Thornden Park. It was an encounter that would lead to her part in the park’s rejuvenation. “I saw all the gardens here,” she said. “There were all flowers all over. It was so beautiful. It was many years ago. It really did make an impression.” June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS




In a poll, 75 percent of U.S. workers said they believe “work is the new retirement”

The New Retirement: Work More people choosing to stay in workforce versus sailing off into sunset By Barbara Pierce


n the new movie “Going in Style,” the pension fund of three lifelong friends ran out of money. Desperate to pay their bills, they come up with a daring plan to rob the bank that absconded their pension fund. The idea of robbing a bank to support yourself in retirement makes a great plot for a movie, but it’s not the best way to make sure your money lasts as long as you do. People are living longer. That means your money will have to last longer than you might expect — even two or three decades. Someone who is 65 can expect to live another 19 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Google “planning for retirement” and you’ll find a long list of websites offering financial advice. Yes, having 38

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enough money to support your self in retirement is critically important. Also important is being happy with your life. Happiness correlates strongly with direction and meaning in life, and may even be more important than money. Happy retirees have at least 3.5 “core pursuits.” A core pursuit is an activity and interest you love to pursue. Core pursuits are fulfilling and gratifying: volunteering, traveling, a part-time job, teaching, sports — things that make you feel good about yourself and your life. Several organizations in Central New York help seniors seeking to change careers. “We help anyone looking for a job,” said Christine Weaver, director of the Oswego County Workforce New York One Stop Career Center. “Come

in, use our computers, get help with your resume, or come to a workshop to sharpen your job-seeking skills.” The office in Fulton is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. It can be reached at 315-591-9000 or see www. yourcareerconnection.org. “Employers value older workers and what they bring to the workplace in terms of experience, loyalty, dependability and flexibility,” advises the website of the Onondaga County Office for Aging. “Particularly successful are individuals who are willing to update job skills, especially their basic knowledge of computers.” However, as its senior employment program has a waiting list of seniors seeking jobs, its representative suggests that seniors considering changing careers contact the Women’s Opportunity Center or CNY Works.

The Women’s Opportunity Center helps women with their job search and training goals, through on-thejob training, workshops, and one-toone assistance. “We help displaced homemakers enter the workforce after divorce, separation, or widowhood,” explained Joyce Groth. “We provide training, computer training, and help with resumes.” For more information, see www. womensopportunity.org or call 315446-0550. CNY Works deals with those who wish to change careers or upgrade their job skills. It offers many workshops on resume writing, interviewing and computer skills. For more information, see www. cnyworks.com or call 315-473-8250.

Frightening prospect “I’m scared,” wrote Diane Rehm in her book, “On my Own.” She was scared as she began planning for retirement. The former public radio talk show host continued: “The prospect of retirement brings grief. How will I fill the void? Who will I be? “I know I’ll find new ways to enjoy life and new things to achieve. I know there is another chapter ahead, one that will allow me to work in ways that will not only satisfy me but also be of help to others. I believe I will find ways to do whatever I need to do to feed my soul, to keep me going, to stay involved with the world, to find a new place in it for myself.” That’s what we all need to find in retirement: doing what we need to

do to feed our souls, stay involved, and find a meaningful new place in the world. “Phase into it by gradually reducing full time hours,” Rehm suggests. “Or quit your job and find part-time work. It keeps your mind sharp and keeps you from getting isolated and lonely.” In a poll, 75 percent of U.S. workers said they believe “work is the new retirement.” In another survey, 72 percent of pre-retirees said they plan on working in retirement. Many change occupations as they prepare to retire. When older workers change occupations later in life, many do not earn as much as they did in their primary career. But, even though your income may be less, there are many advantages to continuing to work part time. You may be able find a job that fulfills your passions as well as helping your pocketbook. Yo u c a n s t i l l c o n t r i b u t e t o retirement plans and refrain from dipping into existing ones. You can delay claiming Social Security and get bigger checks each year you don’t take benefits. Continuing to work will help you feel more relevant and needed and less isolated. To plan ahead for a pay cut if you hope to change occupations, start shaving debt and downsizing three or so years ahead of time. Then, you can accept a job that pays less than your previous position, but one that makes you happy or brings meaning

to your life and perhaps helps others along the way. Also, consider that a stint volunteering might turn into a job offer. It gets you out of the house and helps you through the transition as you look for employment. Or consider a temp agency; some find this a good solution for working in retirement.

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Age Is Just a Number for Health Practitioners Pediatrician in Fulton still active at 80; Syracuse chiropractor, in her 70s, also sees patients on regular basis: “When you’re doing what you love, it’s not a job,” she says By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


hile many in the health field retire early for a variety of reasons, some practitioners continue working long after the standard retirement age. One of them is Stuart Trust, clinical professor of pediatrics at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and a practicing pediatrician in Fulton. He has been practicing medicine since 1974, before many of the parents of his patients were born. And at age 80, he doesn’t see any reason to stop. Trust had worked as a pharmacist for nine years and that introduction to medicine drew him to medical school at age 29. A lot has changed since he first began seeing patients. Back then, providers focused on infectious diseases, since it was before widespread immunization. “ Wi t h t h e s u c c e s s w i t h


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immunizations and antibiotics, it shifted away f r o m t h a t Pediatrician Stuart Trust has been practicing medicine morbidity and since 1974. “I still have a lot to offer. I have four super mortality and associates, all pediatricians with far better education. I now we have don’t have to work when I don’t want to.” the greatest number of concerns and more. deaths from car accidents, homicides, Though many of his peers have suicides and drug overdoses,” Trust long since hung up their stethoscope, said. Trust loves what he does and feels, “We deal with an enormous “I still have a lot to offer. I have four number of children with mental super associates, all pediatricians with health issues. Part of my teaching far better education. I don’t have to in lectures is about exhorting and work when I don’t want to. It’s not as explaining to medical students, interns physically demanding as it had been.” and residents to get as many skills as His Fulton office is staffed possible in the area of mental health adequately for him to enjoy traveling issues.” with Dorothy, his wife of 57 years, who The shift in focus also means worked as a stay-at-home mother and educating parents and patients about homemaker. Trust also likes reading factors that can lower their risk of these his favorite genre, history.

Trust attributes his healthy longevity to leading a healthy lifestyle, which includes weight control, eating a balanced diet, abstaining from smoking or drinking, and always wearing his seatbelt. He said he has had a brush with cancer, but recovered well, partly because of his otherwise good health. He also thinks that a positive outlook has helped him manage stress. “I’m people-oriented and the farthest thing from depression,” he said. He manages stress by walking his dachshund and not taking work home. For examples, he reads medical journals during his lunch break at work. “My love is to take care of kids,” Trust said. “There’s never a day that I don’t get hugs, kisses and drawings from kids.”

Love for the job Age hasn’t hampered chiropractor Joanne M. Verone, owner of Delphi Healing Arts Center in Syracuse. She received her degree in 1966, one of only a few women to become a chiropractor at the time. She became a licensed massage therapist in 1972. “When you’re doing what you love, it’s not a job,” she said. “You’re just enjoying yourself. I’m so grateful I’ve been doing it all these years and I’m still healthy enough to do it.” She even persuaded her husband, John, 75, to join her, because clients wanted a male massage therapist. John became a licensed massage therapist in the 1990s. Not surprisingly, she offers this tip for health career longevity: receive massage. “Some of my oldest clients were 104,” Verone said. “Another was 101. I used to go to their house because it was harder for them to get out.” In addition to lifelong learning, she’s also a big believer in stretching, exercise and stress relief. “Stress is a major factor,” she warned. “Know your limits. That’s the biggest thing I know for myself and that I teach people.” Occasionally, she thinks about retiring, but she said her clients say, “’No, you can’t; Get whatever care you need because we want you,’” according to her.

Joanne M. Verone, owner of Delphi Healing Arts Center in Syracuse, is already in her 70s. I’m so grateful I’ve been doing it all these years and I’m still healthy enough to do it.”

Keys to Working Late in Life Sharon Brangman, chief of geriatrics and chief of the Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease at Upstate University Hospital, said that longevity of a health career depends upon a few factors. “If you’re a surgeon, there’s a concern about natural changes that happen with aging that can make a surgical procedure more challenging, like changes in eyesight or dexterity,” Brangman said. “Sometimes, there are cognitive changes that occur.”

To remain effective in the health care world, providers must recognize and accommodate those changes or shift to roles where they can still effectively care for patients. But older providers of health care offer advantages different from younger colleagues. “Experience is an important factor,” Brangman said. “There’s an intersection between experience and current knowledge that has to be balanced. There’s no absolute age where that occurs.” June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS


golden years By Harold Miller hal@cny55.com

Artificial Intelligence: The Next Big Thing


From enhancing human capital to defeating ISIS

inety percent of all data collected by mankind since the beginning of time has been done in the last two years and will be doubled in the next five years. This incredible statement of facts is difficult to absorb even for the highly intelligent mind. Computers and software have made collecting all this data possible but how do we utilize all those data in a way that will serve mankind best? The answer is artificial intelligence, an advanced technology that utilizes algorithms, which is a sequence of actions that combines calculations, data processing and automated reasoning. In other words, AI allows computers to read, understand and analyze like our minds do. The human brain is astonishing and once freed from the monotonous task of sorting out trillions of pages of information (created by the computer’s ability to produce them) it can be freed for creative research such as medical science and financial analysis in order to restart our economy. Additionally, Google, Apple and most automobile companies have received permits to test autonomous vehicles. The core of all the challenges to mankind in the 21st Century is AI. Artificial intelligence will also enhance human productivity growth. The McKinsey Global Institute recently reported that almost half of all paid work can be automated by AI. This would increase human productivity by 0.8 percent to 1.4 percent compounded every year, and will give our country a substantial economic boost. Artificial Intelligence will soon learn to sort real news from hoaxes and misinformation. However embellishing modern communication might be, it has also empowered a cast of twisted minds, criminals


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and jihadists to build a worldwide Next, Guarino explains digital forensics audience and recruit terrorists. AI as understanding how and why technicians are already busy creating something happens. The television algorithms that can sweep digital series “Forensic Files” is a dramatized networks and automatically purge example of digital forensics. incorrect and extremist content. “AI will be able to utilize all the Amy Hirsh Guarino, an expatriate current medical journal information from Central New York who happens plus medical reports and patient to be my niece, has been living and reports to tailor the diagnosis and working in the vicinity of Silicon Valley treatment plans based on individual for several years now. Recently, she symptoms, genetics and history,” was recruited by KYNDI (www.kyndi. Guarino said. com), one of the leading companies The key is being able to process in the growing field of artificial lots of combinations of systems in real intelligence technologists. She is now time plus being aware of the latest chief operating officer and considered research. I don’t think AI will replace to be one of the top 100 women doctors, but it will help them make the technologists in Silicon Valley. right decisions since the systems will “The time is coming when humans be able to recall all known diseases can no longer keep up with the volume and they don’t have bias. With that of reading needed in our modern age. said, doctors know their patients and We foresee a time when every worker it will help them provide a filter based must be partnered with an artificial on that knowledge. intelligence assistant,” America has entered she told me during my a new age — call it interview with her. the information, Guarino then technology age translated some of the or digital age. technical jargon of There are plenty AI to something that of wonderful the average person opportunities such as you and I for American can understand. families and She expanded innovators and the description of the key to it all algorithms as being is education. a self-contained sequence of actions that perform calculations, data processing, and automated reasoning that reads and understands like the human Amy Hirsh Guarino, who hails from Central New York, is m i n d considered to be one of the top technologists in Silicon Valley. d o e s .

consumers’ corner By Eva Briggs, M.D.

The Miracles of Aspirin It treats fever, plain, inflammation and helps prevent heart attacks — but it also brings serious risks to those who take it. Check with a doctor before you take it


often see patients who are taking aspirin every day to prevent heart disease or stroke. Sometimes that is the result of a well thought out decision made with the assistance of the patient’s primary care provider. But as often as not, someone hears that aspirin is good for the heart and just decides to start without medical advice. What is aspirin? The chemical name is acetyl salicylic acid. The French chemist Charles Frédéric Gerhardt isolated it from willow leaves in 1853. But it has been used in botanical form for more than 2,000 years. In the latter half of the 1800s chemists developed better ways to synthesize aspirin and by 1899 the Bayer company was marketing aspirin commercially. In fact, Aspirin was initially Bayer ’s trade name. Worldwide aspirin consumption today is 44,000 tons. Aspirin treats fever, pain and inflammation. Aspirin also inhibits the function of platelets, a blood component important for clotting. It prevents platelets from clumping together. One of the steps in a heart attack is formation of a blood clot in a narrowed or diseased coronary artery. That’s the rationale behind using aspirin to prevent heart attacks. The downside is that aspirin can cause serious side effects — like ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding or brain bleeding. The benefit, preventing cardiovascular disease,

must be weighed against the risk of serious side effects. Factors that predict who is likely to benefit from aspirin therapy include age, cardiovascular disease risk, life expectancy, other illnesses and whether someone is willing to take medicine long-term. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) currently recommend using aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease in persons 50-59 years old, with a 10 percent or greater risk of cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years, no increased risk of bleeding, and who are willing to take aspirin for at least 10 years. The age of 50-59 is based on the fact that statistically, this is the age group most likely to benefit from taking aspirin to prevent heart disease. That’s the age when the risk of cardiovascular disease is rising but patients still have long enough life expectancies to benefit from taking aspirin. The USPSTF recommends that people ages 60-69 who met the other criteria can consider aspirin on an individual basis, since the benefit is likely to be smaller than for younger patients. How do you calculate your risk of heart disease in the next 10 years? You can use an online calculator from the American College of Cardiology — http://tools.acc. org/ASCVD-RiskEstimator/ Risks for bleeding include dose

and duration of aspirin use, history of ulcers or upper gastrointestinal pain, kidney failure, severe liver disease, low platelet count, bleeding disorders and diabetes. Bleeding risk also increased using aspirin with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen or naproxen) or with anticoagulants. The risk of bleeding is also increased by male sex, smoking, older age, and diabetes. So, just how helpful is aspirin in preventing cardiovascular disease? One study estimates that for men aged 45-54, one heart attack will be prevented for every 1,786 men taking aspirin for one year. But one major GI bleed will occur for every 1,344 men who take aspirin for one year. For men aged 75–84, 511 taking aspirin for one year would prevent one heart attack, but one out of 202 men treated would have a major GI bleed. Given these numbers, it’s best not to start taking aspirin without a discussion with your doctor about your individual risk for cardiovascular disease and bleeding, and how likely aspirin would help you. One final tip: if you are having heart attack symptoms, don’t treat yourself with aspirin and then wait to see if it helps. Get to an emergency room right away!

Eva Briggs is a medical doctor who works at two urgent care centers (Central Square and Fulton) operated by Oswego Health. June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS


life after 55 By Michele Reed michele@cny55.com

Photos by Bill Reed

Enjoying the Slow Life in France


ne of the most pleasurable things about living in the south of France is the slower pace of life. Because we have to take the bus everywhere, we are bound by its schedules. Sometimes this means we are hurrying, especially if we have several errands to do and the return bus is looming. But more often it means just the opposite. We’ve finished our errands and the bus doesn’t come for another half hour, an hour or two. That’s when we slow down and smell the roses — literally, if it’s Friday in Beziers, when the flower market is on the Allees Paul Riquet. Every Friday, in all seasons, rain or shine, the flower and plant sellers line the Allees. In January it’s a wonderful little breath of springtime to leisurely walk up and down the pedestrian mall, enjoying the beautiful colors of the flowers, touching a sage plant and smelling its aroma on our fingers or just dreaming about what we will buy for our terrace garden when we are here more than three months at a time. On Tuesdays and Saturdays it’s the brocante fair, or kind of an upscale Le Bar Cristal is one of our favorite cafes in Beziers. For the price of a cup of coffee or glass of beer, we can sit for hours and watch the world go by.


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flea market. You can find high-end antiques going for hundreds of euros for a table from the Art Deco era, or a 1970s macramé plant hanger for 5 euros right down to bar glasses with French beer and liquor brands on them for 50 cents. Last winter I got a beautiful Art Deco wooden pen holder and ink well, with a leaping stag. This March, more than year later, I found a pair of matching bookends with the exact same stag leaping over identical vegetation. All three now grace the desk in my writing salon. We d n e s d a y s f e a t u r e demonstrations of sports and fitness activities, usually for kids but sometimes for seniors. We have enjoyed sitting at the café and seeing little ones try their hands at judo or roller hockey, and laughing at their antics. Other days will see the Alllees de Bouquin (BOO – ken), or used book fair, or the farmers’ markets, including a “nocturne” on Wednesday evenings. Thursday evenings in summer, the city provides a wine tasting party with music. Whatever the day or time of

day, there’s something to enjoy on the Allees. We’ve even seen a medieval fair, complete with demonstrations of medieval weaponry and crafts to live camels (Lou the Camel is the totem animal of Beziers). And the best part is that after wandering up and down the Allees, we can warm up or cool off, depending on the season, with a nice cup of coffee or cold beer and watch the world go by from the terrace of a sidewalk café. It’s a typical French pleasure. For the price of a coffee, you can spend an hour or two people-watching, reading a book or discussing current events. One day in March was an especially nice moment of détente. We found the last table at one of our usual cafes, probably only available because it had just one chair. Since we are regulars, Bill didn’t hesitate to go to the stacked up chairs, move the waiters’ extra tray and wiping cloths, and pull a chair over to the table. It was right on the edge of the street, where we could watch everyone go by, and afforded a nice view of the flower market as well. Since we would be going back

Every Friday - winter or summer, rain or shine - there is a flower market in the heart of Beziers. to the States in a few days, it was a bittersweet experience to sit and watch the flower sellers, and see our French neighbors carrying home flowers, herbs and even some strawberry plants for their “jardins.” A word about being a regular is in order. We are now regulars at three cafes. The café where we spent our sojourn that day is called Le Petit Ju (The Little While). The owner there knows us and the waitress has our order down pat. She will often wave to us from the doorway and come out with our order on her tray a few moments later. Our first regular haunt was Café des Arts, right by the Municipal Theatre and the Librarie du Theatre (theater bookstore). We started going there when we first bought our house and didn’t have internet yet. We got into the habit of buying a little internet time by enjoying a coffee, if it was morning, or a draft beer, in the afternoon, at the café. The owner started to recognize us and greet us with a friendly “Bonjour.” As we sat down he would ask us, “Comme l’habitude?” (Your regular order?). It really warmed our hearts when, after our first three months back in the States, we returned to the café, and the staff greeted us enthusiastically, and remembered our usual order. It’s our go-to spot for coffee and a favorite place for the three-course daily special lunch menu. Our newest place is called Le Bar Cristal, or Crystal Bar. It has a warm place in my heart, because when I was growing up in Amsterdam, N.Y., we had a place called Crystal Bar,

We can spend a lazy Tuesday or Saturday browsing the “brocante” or flea market. which served the best Italian steak sandwiches in town. One chilly late afternoon when the rest of the Allees were in shadow, the west-facing Cristal was still in sunlight. We went there for the warmth. As we sipped our coffee, we were surprised to see that we had a whole new perspective on the town from the Cristal. It is at the other end of the Allees, by the statue of native son Pierre-Paul Riquet, who was the architect of the Canal du Midi which connects the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. He made his native city the terminus of the canal, and grateful Beziers erected a statue in his honor. Cristal also gives a great view of the sports demonstrations, as well as people hurrying home at the end of the

work day – a great place for peoplewatching. Sipping coffee, watching people — and dogs – and just enjoying the slow pace of life. That’s an unexpected joy of our life in France. Michele Reed retired after a career spanning four decades in public relations, advertising, journalism and higher education. She now writes travel articles, book reviews, haiku poetry and fiction. Bill Reed retired after four decades in social services with the county of Oswego, and now works at travel photography and photojournalism, along with writing book reviews. June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS


druger’s zoo


By Marvin Druger


Analysis of perhaps the most complex of human emotions

ove is a very complex phenomenon that deserves some thoughtful analysis. You can love your dog, your spouse, your job, traveling, your hobby, even yourself. Are all these kinds of love the same? They all evoke pleasant feelings. It’s fascinating that such feelings are produced by so many different stimuli. Biologically, such feelings come when certain hormones and other chemicals are secreted. My father’s favorite song had the verses: “Have you ever been in love, boys? Have you ever felt the pain? I’d rather be in jail boys, Than to be in love again.” Yes, love can be painful when it ceases to be, for whatever reason. Human relations have love at their core, but love can be overridden by anger, fear and hate. These emotions are learned through experiences. We can learn to love, and we can learn to hate. Indeed, some people can even love to hate or hate to love. I started thinking about love when I was walking on a street in New Orleans. A little girl stopped me in the street and asked, “Mister, I’m doing a study for my church. Can you tell me what love means?” Without thinking, I said, “Love is when you want to do more for someone else than you want to do for yourself.” This encounter led to the following poem I wrote:

What Love Means One day when walking down the street, A little girl I did meet, She said she wanted to find How the word “love” might be defined, The meaning was inside my head, 46

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And I was pleased with what I said, “Love is when I want to do Less for me And more for you.” Isn’t that what love in human relationships is all about? The feeling of love comes when we do something kind for someone else. Even small incidents can bring such feelings. I was in Montreal with a companion and we couldn’t find a particular restaurant. I stopped a woman who was walking rapidly up a steep hill toward us. I asked her about the location of the restaurant. She said, “I know where that is. C’mon, I’ll show you.” She turned and walked with us down the steep hill to show us the restaurant. I’m sure she felt that love feeling when we said, “Thanks.” My friend was outside her house in Syracuse. She noticed a high school girl trudging toward her home in the snow. The girl was obviously cold and distressed. My friend went to her and asked, “Can I walk you home.” The girl was relieved and pleased, and my friend was filled with that warm, fuzzy love feeling. When my brother died suddenly, I was in a state of shock. My daughterin-law immediately came to my house to sit with me in my time of dismay. My entire family called to console me. Love feelings filled the room.

Love lingers on When my wife was dying from terminal lung cancer, I took care of her at home. Many people regret that they didn’t do enough for their dying spouse. I didn’t have that feeling. I did everything I could for my wife. That love feeling was as persistent as the feeling of grief that I’ve had ever since her death. So, why not do kind things for others? The pay-off is a feeling of love. Some people think that love is

sex. Actually, sex is an expression of love, but people can have sex without love. I was watching two mourning doves that visit my bird feeder every day. They are obviously mates. I call them Ella and Fitzgerald. I wondered whether they experience love, as we do. Ella and Fitzgerald are obviously attracted to each other, but do they have feelings of love? Do any other animals on earth, besides humans, experience the feelings of love? My conclusion is that only humans have feelings of love. If this is true, I wonder why humans don’t cherish this emotion and express it more openly and more frequently. We certainly learn to hate, as evidenced by the long history of warfare that plagues humanity. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if humans didn’t learn to hate each other, but could replace hate and anger with love? Hugging, kissing and touching bring about love feelings. What better relief from stress than a warm hug from someone? If you want to experience a love feeling, give a person a big hug, or kiss, or even hold the person’s hand. Most of us don’t do this often enough. Although animals don’t seem to have feelings of love or hate, they do seem to show fear. My daughter’s dog runs for cover whenever she hears firecrackers explode on the Fourth of July. Birds flee from my bird feeder when they see that I am near, or if a cat comes near. Interestingly, birds do not seem afraid of squirrels, and both feed in close proximity on seeds on the ground. How does a bird know to be afraid of a cat, but not a squirrel? Usually, people don’t express love frequently enough. How often did you tell your parents, “I really love you.” I’m sure my parents loved me, but I don’t remember ever saying that to them. “I Iove you” are powerful words. Expressing this feeling openly and often will make you feel good, and certainly has that effect on the recipient of those words. Everyone wants and needs to love and be loved. As I write this article, I have a love feeling, in the hope that my reflections and words will help readers think more about what love means in their lives, and express that feeling openly and often.

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55+ visits Learn About New York’s Native Americans 10 sites in New York will give visitors a good understanding of the impact of Native Americans in the state By Sandra Scott


he Iroquois, also known as the Haudenosaunee, were originally called the Five Nations — the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas — but were later joined by a sixth nation, the Tuscarora. The original homeland of the Iroquois was in New York between the Adirondack Mountains and Niagara Falls. Through conquest and migration, they gained control of most of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. They formed a remarkable political and diplomatic organization called the League of the Iroquois, which united the Five Nations. So impressive was the league that drafters of the United States Constitution, including Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, included ideas from the league — such as balance of power — in the US Constitution. There are several places in New York state to learn about the Iroquois; many have special events and several are seasonal.


National Museum of the American Indians, New York City: The museum located in lower Manhattan is part of the Smithsonian Institution. It is housed in the Beaux Arts Alexander Hamilton Customs House, which is of interest in its own right. The collection has thousands of artifacts, some dating back 12,000 years, detailing the life and culture Native American groups from the Incas to the Iroquois. Take note of the unique Incan Talking Strings used to recorded information. There is no 48

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Shako-Wi Cultural Center was built in 1993 near the Turning Stone Museum. It is designed to give visitors — Oneidas and non-Native Americans — pride and understanding of the Oneida’s roots and heritage. admission charge.


N e w Yo r k S t a t e M u s e u m , Albany: The South Hall is devoted to the first New Yorkers. There is evidence that the New York region has been inhabited for at least 13,000 years. Dioramas, displays of artifacts and art, and other exhibits span from the inhabitants from the Ice Age to the present. The museum has artifacts gathered by the Seneca anthropologist, Arthur C. Clark, who wrote, “Parker on the Iroquois,” considered the definitive book about Native Americans in New York state.


Iroquois Indian Museum, Howes’ Caverns: Located in Howe’s Caverns, the museum, housed in a building reminiscent of an Iroquois longhouse, is devoted to the art and history of the six Iroquois, including

featuring present-day artists. The outdoor is used for storytelling, talks and various performing arts. There is a special children’s area and a 45-acre nature park.


National Kateri Shrine, Fonda: The shrine pays homage to Kateri Tekakwitha, a young Mohawk woman born in 1656, who converted to Christianity and even though her beliefs caused many hardships in her life she dedicated her life to helping others and spreading Christianity. Kateri, referred to as “The Lily of the Mohawk,” was the first Native American woman to be honored with sainthood. There is a hillside Stations of the Cross leading to a statue of the Blessed Virgin, Blessed Kateri and other saints. A self-guided tour booklet is available in the gift shop.


Fenimore Art Museum: The Cooperstown museum has dedicated one wing to the Eugene and Clare Thaw’s collection of American Indian Art. The collection represents a broad range of North American Indian cultures, including paintings of Joseph Brant, a Mohawk military and political leader who played an instrumental part during the American Revolution. The museum also has outdoor displays of Iroquois housing and hosts special Native American events.


Shako-Wi Cultural Center, Oneida: Built in 1993, the center is located near the Turning Stone Museum. It is designed to give visitors — Oneidas and non-Native Americans — pride and understanding of the Oneida’s roots and heritage. At one time, basket-making was a source of survival. They have one of the best-documented basket collections, including nearly 90 baskets dating from the 1800s and early 1900s. Learn about the traditional crafts: basket making, shaping a stone arrowhead, carving a wooden bowl, making moccasin and ceramic pottery.

Visitors to the National Kateri Shrine in Fonda will see a statue of Kateri Tekakwitha, a young Mohawk woman born in 1656 who is the first Native American woman to be honored with sainthood.


Akwesasne Museum, Hogansburg: Located on the lower level of the Hogansburg library, the museum focuses on the Mohawks now and in the past. Interesting is their high steel work in NYC building the skyscrapers and their skill in basket-making. Basket making has remained an unbroken tradition over time continuing their strong tie to the land. The materials are harvested from forests and fields in the area. The Akwesasne have the greatest number of basket makers in any one community among the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy.


The Great Law of Peace Center, Liverpool. Once the site of Sainte Marie among the Iroquois, the center has been completely renovated and is now the Skä•noñh-Great Law of Peace Center, a Haudenosaunee cultural center. All of the exhibits are brand new but the recreated mission remains. The heritage center tells the story of the Iroquois from the perspective of the Onondaga Nation. The Onondagas, or People of the Hills, are the keepers of the Central Fire and are the spiritual and political center of

A 17th-century Seneca bark longhouse located at Ganondagan state historical site in Victor. The Seneca’s matriarchal society helped inspire the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments that led to voting rights for women. the Haudenosaune. Learn about how the world came to be according to the Haudenosaunee and the importance of Hiawatha in the making of the Great Peace. 


Ganondagan State Historical Site, Victor: It’s located near Rochester on a site of what was a flourishing Seneca community. The Seneca’s matriarchal society helped inspire the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments that led to voting rights for women. There is a new state-of-the-art museum plus a 17th-century Seneca bark longhouse, .Walk miles of self-guided trails, climb the mesa where a huge palisaded granary stored hundreds of thousands of bushels of corn, and learn about the

destruction of Ganondagan, Town of Peace, in 1687. Seneca-Iroquois National Museum, Salamanca:  The museum has more than a million objects in its collection, including ethnographic and archaeological materials along with photos and information about the Seneca, “The Keepers of the Western Door,” and a cut-away version of a longhouse and a log cabin. Another exhibit shows life in a log house from the once-thriving community of Horse Shoe. Outside the museum is a mortar stone where corn and other items were ground. The Seneca were the largest group within the Confederacy.


June / July 2017 - 55 PLUS




By Matthew Liptak

Clinton Woodford, 90 Skaneateles resident honored as Onondaga County’s Senior of the Year Q. How do you feel about being senior of the year? A. It’s all right, but no big deal. I’ve volunteered for 65 years. I started out as a Mason and volunteered sometimes. I used to volunteer at Community General Hospital. Me and my wife, Janice, did Meals on Wheels for years. I volunteer yet for Laker Limo in Skaneateles. That’s a bus where we pick up the elderly. I work on it Wednesday once a month. We go out and we pick up elderly people at homes and we take them out to lunch up at the Y. Then we go and pick them up and take them home again. It’s a nice feature for the elderly. I did drive for quite a while and then I had an accident. I gave up driving and I figured I’d be an escort. I’m getting people on and off that are younger than I am. Q. What else do you do to help the community? A. I’m a school crossing guard twice a day — get the little kiddies across. I like that. I started out doing it because it makes you get up and go. I have to be down there at quarter after 8 and then again at quarter after 3 in the afternoon. Sometimes you’ll have quite a few and sometimes you’ll have three or four. The parents are very appreciative. I’ve been doing that about 10 years. It gets a little bit nippy in the morning in the winter. You bundle up! Q. What motivates you? A. My kids. I was very fortunate. I have the three children right here in Skaneateles. Q. What do you like about living in Skaneateles? A. I was born and brought up in Marcellus. My lovely wife, she was brought up in Auburn. We built here. We bought the lot. We had the 50

55 PLUS - June / July 2017

house built in ‘54. It’s been here ever since. I retired as a salesman. I was a territory manager for an air conditioning company for years calling on HVAC contractors. I retired in 1987. I used to have the North Country and, boy, in the winter time it would get kind of wild and willy up there. I came out of a motel in Massena one morning and I asked how cold it was. They said it was 30 below zero. It gets cold up there. Q. How do you like CNY? A. Very good. I was born and bred here. Q. Tell us about your experience in the Navy? A. I was in the Navy and saw quite a bit of the country and some of the world —China. I’m a World War II vet. I was on the USS Los Angeles. It was a heavy cruiser. On the heavy cruiser you had two eight-inch turrets, one forward and one aft. I was what they called a trainer. I would turn the turret to whatever degree they would say to turn to. I joined when I was 17. I didn’t see combat. I joined when the war was still on, but then by the time I got out there it was over. I had a good time. We went out to China. The thing that really impressed me was when we were going out with the heavy cruiser we pulled into Pearl Harbor and some of the ships were still there partially sunk. That was really quite an impression. “I joined at 17 and my mother had to sign for me. She said ‘I’ll sign for you if you promise never to smoke or drink.’ So I didn’t. But I used to bring

the guys back because I was the only sober one — get ‘em back on board. Q. Do you do anything to commemorate your service? A. They put a flag up for me every year on Veterans Day. Down by the lake they have a whole bunch of flags. Must be a hundred sometimes. They put your name on one if you contribute money to it. And then we have a tradition. Me and my kids go to lunch, usually at Johnny Angels. It’s a nice thing.” Q. What advice do you give to other seniors? A. Keep active. You got to keep active. I think seniors should be volunteering their time. There’s things to volunteer for.




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OVER 50?


Stay healthy and engaged through OASIS, a community learning center for those aged 50+. OASIS offers classes in the arts, history, technology, fitness, science, travel and more. Start anytime. Enjoy learning and being connected with others. Session class prices range from free to reasonable. Easy access and free parking. OASIS is located at 6333 State Rte 298 in East Syracuse, next to the DoubleTree Hotel, off Carrier Circle.



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CNY55 # 69 June July 17  

CNY55 # 69 June July 17