Notes From The Blizzard of 2018!

 

Prologue:  Our statue of Alice in Wonderland on the deck was knee deep in snow.  Her head was covered with a tall pointed snow hat and the roses she held behind her back were not visible. She was looking out at the bird feeders where, even in 12 degree weather, ten birds of different colors and sizes were busy pecking away at the suet pack and the seeds falling from the glass cylindrical container into a trough on the rim.  They would peck and quickly fly away to the bushes and trees, then return to peck again. A few would establish their position and stay, especially those on the wire container that held the suet pack.  They would hang from the container and peck into the cake for up to five minutes at a time.

We have always loved the statue which we found in New York City at a store that sold art objects.  She is life size and a favorite since we used her story of meeting the Cheshire Cat in the forest in our management consulting programs.  The cat looked down at Alice and asked why she was crying and she said, “I’m lost and I don’t know  where I’m going. “ Then, the cat smiled his slow, famous smile and responded, “ If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”  My husband and I would use this story as an intro to  “Management by Objectives”:  The  importance of developing objectives and goals first when embarking on a new program or project.

Important Words of the year 2017:  At the end of each year, different professional dictionaries choose their own “word of the year”.  Here are some of the choices for the 2017 year. Cambridge Dictionary chose “populism”; Merriam- Webster: “feminism,”  and Dictionary .com: “complicit”. Webster explained the definition of “feminism” as “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes”.  Based on the wave of explosive  2017 news stories of sexual harassment and assault by men against women , the word no longer seems to fit as  a “theory”.

2017 also saw the introduction of new words and phrases into the language , particularly in the political world.   When Donald J. Trump ran for president, he made popular the label, “fake news”  when he felt the media had distorted the truth about his actions and words.  He dubbed the free press “the enemy of the people” and castigated “The Failing New York Times” when angered by their coverage. Trump created derogatory pet names for  his opponents during the nomination contest, “Lyin Ted Cruz” and “Little Marco”, followed by “Crooked Hillary, the Democratic nominee for President throughout the race.  Trump continued to use the terms in his daily tweets throughout the year. Kelly Anne Conway, his spokeswoman, coined the term, “alternative facts” when the size of his inauguration crowds became an issue.  That term was then used by Sean Spicer, his press secretary, despite ridicule by reporters and language experts.  “Hoax”  has also been employed by the president to deny Climate Change as a Chinese inspired tale to deny the conclusions of 98 percent of the world’s scientists.  “Witch Hunt” is a current favorite label for the Investigation by the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller III into  possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians during the 2016 campaign.

“Make America Great Again”  is the Trump label.      Describing the ideology of the Trump presidency has been difficult to pin down. Some have called it “nationalism’ with the emphasis on putting America first.   The impact of the use of words by Donald Trump in his daily tweets or his interviews, since he has only given one traditional press conference , is the repetition of his words.  It is one of his most salient characteristics.  When he wants to introduce or emphasize a charge or a new idea, he will say it many times.  For example, when he accused Barack Obama of creating the terrorist group, ISIS.  He was at a rally with thousands of people and kept repeating it for emphasis while the crowd cheered.

Epilogue:  From The New Yorker Magazine, (Re: Alice in Wonderland) “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean, “ Humpty Dumpty says to Alice.  How can you make a word mean so many different things, Alice asks? “The question, Humpty Dumpty replies,, “is which is to be master, that’s all.”  George Orwell said the same thing: “ Meaning at bottom is about power”. “Truth”, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once said is, “the majority vote of that nation that could lick all others.” A disagreeable thought but not an inappropriate one in 2017.

Later on, of course Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Something to look forward to in 2018. Happy New Year.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson

 

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Obamacare is Neither “Repealed” Nor “Imploded” !

 

Prologue:  President Trump celebrated passage of the tax bill by announcing at his cabinet meeting , “When the individual mandate is repealed, that means Obamacare is being repealed.”  The tax bill does repeal the mandate in 2019, ending fines for people who do not have health insurance.  However, every other vital part of the current health care law will remain intact.

Main Facts of Obamacare:  Under the Affordable Care Act, businesses with 50 or more employees must offer health insurance to full-time employees.  Medicaid eligibility was expanded to cover more low-income people.  Young adults under 26, could remain on their parents’ plan.  The law listed certain essential elements:  Prohibited insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions.  Barred increasing costs for older Americans.  Required insurers to provide specified benefits like maternity care and drug addiction treatment. The Medicaid expansion was responsible for insuring more than half of the twenty million Americans who gained health care coverage under Obamacare.

The law created federal and state exchanges for purchasing insurance and gave tax  credits for premiums  purchased on these exchanges.   During the recent enrollment  period  from November 1 to December 15, 8.8 million people signed up for Obamacare through the federal exchange even though the Trump administration had cut the sign-up days in half to lower enrollment. The Trump administration also cut the budget for advertising and reduced grants to navigators  who helped people sign up for coverage.  The 8. 8 million figure was 96% of the 9.2 million people  who selected health plans or were automatically re-enrolled during the last sign-up period.  Joshua Peck, who was the chief marketing officer for HealthCare.gov in the Obama administration said,  “It’s a very, very strong number. It implies that the final week of open enrollment was very big.”

The states with the largest number of sign-ups on the federal exchange  this year were North Carolina (524,000), Georgia (483,000), Virginia (403,000), Pennsylvania (397,000),Illinois (340,000), Texas, (1.1 million), and Florida (1.7 million).  In Florida, more than 700,000 people enrolled or were automatically enrolled in the final week. In Texas, the number was over 550,000. Joshua Peck was correct about the significance of the final week.  The federal numbers do not include the eleven states that operate their own insurance exchanges. They are reporting strong enrollments  with some states extending the time period: January 31 for California and New York;  January 15 in Washington State and January 14 in Minnesota.  

Public support and enthusiasm for Obamacare had been evident during the months of public protest when the Republicans in Congress attempted to pass a Repeal and Replace Health Care bill.   Public outrage at their representatives and senators during  the recess  made clear that Obamacare was very popular with voters.  Hundreds of men and women shouted and waved A.C.A. signs during town meetings. They also told dramatic personal stories of lives saved by Obamacare. The result was that four versions of the Senate bill failed.  Now, it was clear that including repeal of the individual mandate in the tax bill did not deter additional millions of Americans from signing up during the enrollment period.

Epilogue:  Timothy Jost, an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law said, “The Affordable Care Act is far more than a mandate, and the repeal of the mandate is by no means a fatal blow. Most of the A.C.A. survives and its coverage will remain.”

…………………………………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

Generation Talk

 

 

‘Double Speak’ was coined by George Orwell in his classic novel, 1984. Saying one thing and meaning the exact opposite. We all recognize that in current life. “Bad” is the highest form of compliment among teenagers. The Pentagon Budget is built on a necessary stockpile of war materiel. “Academically challenged” means a slow learner. Some contradictions begin to make sense after awhile.

While Double Speak has become a part of our living language, an interesting new phenomenon seems to be emerging. Let’s call it Generation Talk. Using words and concepts that have little meaning for other generations. Consider this scene: Two couples in their sixties are seated in a booth waiting for the table server to appear. A young woman, in her early 20’s, approaches and cheerily asks, “How are you guys tonight?”  Aside from the unisex usage of ‘guys”, is that supposed to put the two couples at ease? A sort of inverted compliment. We’re all in this together, even with that sprinkling of gray hair. The ubiquitous ‘you guys’ is one of the signature phrases of Generation X.

 

Americans are living longer these days. Thus, the Elders, the respectful term among Native American tribes, are in their 60’s, 70’s and over. They would like to be considered wiser with this age and experience advantage. But it doesn’t always work that way. Elders need a sense of humor and perspective to communicate effectively with the younger generations. When they refer to the London Blitz during World War II, or rationing of food and clothing, ‘victory gardens’ and “ F.D.R.‘s fireside chats”, most of these terms have to be explained.

“Two pairs of shoes a year! Are you kidding, Grandma? No way!”  So responded a teenager when ‘rationing’ was made vivid in terms of her lifestyle. Would you believe five different types of sneakers in her closet? Plus dress shoes. And an assortment of play sandals and boots for one sixteen year-old.  Just a normal array.

How about explaining curfews in the colleges in the 50’s. The outside dormitory doors locked at 10:30 on weekday nights. Midnight on Saturday for the women’s dorms. No visiting privileges above the first floor. “You can’t be serious! Our dorm is co-ed. Only the bathrooms are off limits. And we’re free to come and go whenever we want. After all, we’re adults, aren’t we?”     Is that a rhetorical question? If it is a real question, some elders would love to answer it. Yes. They may have found the dorm rules too restrictive. But, they’re not sure the pendulum swinging 180 degrees is the answer. They know that ‘unisex’ was not a word in their vocabulary then. Now, they’re getting used to it in clothing and haircuts. It may take a little more time to convince them that unisex dorms are an improvement in the halls of learning.

Child rearing is another mine field of Generation Talk. For elders, “time out” means a break in the basketball or football game. Today, it is the primary form of discipline and/or punishment. Sitting in a chair for a proscribed period of time; it is aimed at bringing about a change in behavior — often in a sullen and resentful child. In the old days, spanking was taken for granted. It was only a matter of who administered it, how hard and how often. Did it work? We’ll never know. Now, it is likened to child abuse. “Mother, we would never use physical force with Bobby!” Mother may be tempted to respond with, “Give me a break!”, a favorite cry from Generation X.

Dr. Spock gave confidence to decades of unsure new parents. “Trust yourself”, he said. And they did. Of course, parents certainly made some mistakes. Then, Chaim Ginott, the child psychologist, brought comfort with the soothing, “Parents are not perfect.” Today, a pantheon of experts give parents the latest child rearing advice. Many of the new theories make good sense. Perhaps reading books to three month-old babies needs more research. But teaching them to swim sounds like a good idea.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, the philosopher, wrote, “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” Since each generation grew up in a different era, in fact in a different world, there is a need for give and take in the use of language and understanding. Finding out that one’s givens pull a blank stare from the listener is a sure clue that Generation Talk is taking place. The words we use convey the thoughts and feelings we have. Most important in communication is the skill of listening. Not just hearing what the other generation is saying. But listening for their meanings, their concerns and their world in the language they use. A basic communication formula is Two Ears minus One Mouth = Successful listening.  2E-1M =S.

Generation Talk can be about trivial matters. It can also mirror the values we treasure most. The trick would seem to be in “sorting out” as the British say, which is which. The next time two or three generations get together, listen for Generation Talk. Is it on the surface? Or does it dig deeper?  Are the generations listening to each other? These are important questions and interesting to pursue. They can lead to meaningful answers that could improve communication and living within families — and our society as a whole.

…………………………………………………………………..  Joyce S. Anderson

 

Banning Words at the Centers for Disease Control!

                       

Prologue:  In George Orwell’s dystopian novel, “1984”, he introduced words that held opposite meanings to truth and facts.  Big Brother ran the state and the entire government.  Language was the fundamental tool that exerted control over citizens’ minds.

Department of Health & Human Services, 20l7:  The Trump presidency is continuing the policy of dismantling the federal government that has been in effect in full force in The Environmental Protection Agency, The State Department, The Education Department and The Interior Department.  President Trump has used executive orders,and department secretaries have carried out his overall policy of lifting regulations in all areas that were put into effect during the two Obama terms.  Certain cabinet ministers were chosen because of their past records of opposing the Obama regulations. They have been vigorous in making changes as rapidly as possible.  Scott Pruitt, E.P.A. secretary stands out for the numbers of regulations he has dismantled since being confirmed.

On December 16, a report leaked at Health and Human Services , that the department had banned officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using seven words or phrases in their documents.  They were: “science based”, “fetus”, “transgender”, “entitlement”, “vulnerable”, “diversity”, and “evidence based”.  The Washinton Post reported that instead of “science based” or “evidence based”, “the suggested phrase is “C. D.C. bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.”

The bombshell announcement on Saturday set off a firestorm among Democratic officials and free speech advocacy groups across the country.  Dr. Vivek Murthy, former surgeon general, said, “Whether this is a directive from above is not clear. But for C.D.C. or any agency to be censored or passively made to feel they have to self-censor to avoid retribution, that’s dangerous and not acceptable. The purpose of science is to search for truth, and when science is censored, the truth is censored.”  The New York Times reported that a former federal officer , who asked not to be named, said, “It’s absurd and Orwellian, It’s stupid and Orwellian, but they are not saying to not use the words in reports or articles or anything else the C.D.C. does.  They’re saying not to use it in your request for money because it will hurt you. It’s not about censoring what C.D.C. can say to the American public. It’s about a budget strategy to get funded.”

During the first year of Trump’s presidency, attacking the news media as “ the enemy of the people”  and all factual reports as “fake news” have become standards in his daily tweets.  He has used Twitter as the new presidential communication system reaching millions of women and men in his political base daily. At this time, Trump has made no comment on the leak of  “banned words” at the C.D.C.   It is also unclear if the ban started at the parent agency of Health and Human Services or within the C.D.C. itself.   The Food and Drug Admimistration made known, it had not received the “banned words and phrases” report.  Jennifer Rodriguez, an agency spokeswoman said, “We haven’t received nor implemented any directives with respect to the language used at F.D.A. to describe our policy or budget issues.”

Epilogue:  Trump and his lawyers have been concentrating on attacking Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.  Certain Republican Congressmen have also been urging appointment of a second special counsel to investigate Robert Mueller and his team.  This bizarre full court press against The Federal Bureau of Investigation and our entire Department of Justice was started by Sean Hannity on Fox News.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified at length to the House Judiciary Committee.  He answered their sharp critical questions with a firm support of Counsel Mueller and his team’s integrity and professional dedication.  He also said he could not appoint a special counsel without a “credible allegation of a potential crime to investigate.”

Experienced commentators on CNN and MSNBC , including former federal prosecutors from the Watergate era, said that the president and his lawyers were attacking Mueller because he is moving closer to Trump and his family members who serve as advisers at the White House.  They hope this will divert attention from the four  members of the transition team who have already been indicted.  Retired General Michael Flynn, the last to be indicted, was very close to Trump during the campaign. He then served as National Security Adviser after Trump was elected.  He pled guilty and is “cooperating” with the Mueller Investigation. There is heavy speculation regarding the information he knows and will share with Mueller’s team.

…………………………………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looting America’s Monuments and Public Lands!”

 

Prologue:  The Antiquities Act of l906 was one of President Theodore Roosevelt’s major conservation achievements.  It gave presidents unilateral authority to establish monuments that preserved the natural beauty of the vast lands across the country.  It did not give them the authority to abolish the monuments.  That right was held only by Congress which also has the right to create national parks. It is not clear if a president can significantly reduce the size of a monument.   Over the years, different presidents have established monuments in different regions and states.  Millions of Americans have traveled to see and wonder at the beauty of the Canyons, Waterfalls, Forests and Wildlife Refuges that have been set aside and protected from commercial exploitation.

Donald J.Trump’s policies on U. S. monuments:   Soon after Ryan Zinke was confirmed by the senate as Secretary of the Interior , he was ordered by the president to review all national monuments of over l00,000 acres that were designated after 1996. While the order covered 27 monuments in all, the order was aimed primarily at two monuments in Utah: 1.9 million  acre Grand Staircase Escalante , established by President Bill Clinton in 1996, and Bears Ears, a 1.35 million acre expanse protected by President Barack Obama.   Trump ordered the reduction of Grand Staircase by 800,000 acres, nearly half its size;  Bears Ears by 1.1 million acres, 85 percent of its size. In his  order Trump wrote that “he had to rush to the rescue of local citizens who were trampled by “federal overreach” and “because some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington”.

Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee of Utah, as well as state representatives have resented public ownership of  Utah’s  lands. In contrast, polls show strong citizen support for most of the monuments. It is also important to know that five Native American nations live on the acres of the two designated monuments slated for reduction.  They deeply value the artifacts, natural stone  structures and graveyards as intrinsic to their history. They have lived for  thousands of years  on those acres.  Lawsuits have already begun, voted upon by five tribal councils, Navajo, Hopi, Zuni and Ute, and environmental groups as well as Patagonia, the large outdoors company. The outcome of the suits which may take many months will affect not only these two monuments but also eight others that Zinke  has recommended for smaller downsizing or changes in management. Let’s note that Mr. Zinke rode to work for his first day at the Interior Department astride a horse, an ironic comparison to Teddy Roosevelt that he has spoken of several times.  As president, T.R. gave federal monument status to 230 million  acres for 18 national monuments. Zinke has reduced those lands by ten million acres in just ten months.

After Trump’s trip to Utah to make his announcement,  Mike Lee said,  “He’s been sympathetic to the fact we have been mistreated.  And I’m grateful that he is willing to correct it. “  However, there was a sharp outcry from Rhea Smith, the president of the Natural Resources  Defense Council, who asked, “What’s next , President Trump, The Grand Canyon?”

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge opened to oil drilling:  The Senate tax bill included a provision  by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska to authorize oil drilling in the coastal plain of the Refuge, a 1.5 million acre strip that was not protected in the original law creating the refuge.   This area is of great importance to environmentalists and economic significance to Native Americans.   Previous  tries to open the refuge have failed.   President Clinton vetoed an attempt in 1995 while moderate Republicans defeated another try in 2005.   It is estimated that the refuge holds about seven billion barrels of recoverable oil, about a year’s consumption in the United States.  However, at present, we are cutting back importing oil from the OPEC nations since we are able to meet the diminishing need for oil and other fossil fuels.  Wind and solar power are on the rise throughout the country.

“War on Coal is over .”   Closely allied to the reduction of millions of acres in monument lands is the Trump’s policy to support coal mining as essential to the growth of jobs.  He began  this  slogan during the campaign and continued once he arrived in the Oval Office.  Surrounded by coal mining executives and workers, he announced, “The war on coal is over!” and  signed his executive order  to support coal mining as they cheered.  A reality check shows that coal mines have been closing since demand for fossil fuels has continued to drop due to wind and solar power increases across the country.   Both  non-fossil fuel sources are growing rapidly as industry discovers costs and value make them more profitable than coal.  In addition, the environmental benefits are clearly better for the health of American citizens.  President Obama’s  policy for clean power plants plus the  bans on certain noxious gases are reducing the pollution of  the nation’s air and water dramatically.  Challenged in the courts,  the Supreme Court supported Obama’s power plant policy as in line with the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts enacted  by Congress.

Yet, Scott Pruitt,  Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency, E.P.A.  has met with mining companies and told them to apply for new permits.  Scott Pruitt is a climate change denier with close ties to fossil fuel industries .  He is one of the cabinet members chosen by Trump for his record of opposition to the long time goals of his area.  Pruitt has been systematically dismantling Obama’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants in line with Trump’s decision to withdraw from the global agreement and Paris pact on setting goals to reduce carbon emissions.  We are now one of only two countries not taking part in the agreement to reduce carbon emissions and slow global warming.

Epilogue:  Bear’s Ears Monument is described as a “vast, remote stretch of red rock canyons dotted with Native American sites…..”  As I researched and wrote this blog, I remembered the timeless response by one of the tribal leaders when he was approached by settlers migrating into their lands.  “The Earth is our Mother and we cannot sell our mother.”

…………………………………………………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

Measuring Happiness

 

 

Prologue: The first year of the Trump Presidency has produced a state of anxiety for a majority of the American people according to recent surveys. Millions of Americans turn on TV each morning to see the first tweets on Donald J.Trump’s Twitter account. His base of about 37 % watching FOX News are usually pleased and supportive of his message. Commentators on CNN and MSNBC reflect the rest of the people who gave Hillary Clinton the popular vote margin of 2.9 million votes.  They provide the news and critical analysis of what the latest Trump tweets mean in our polarized political nation.

Americans have always valued happiness. The Declaration of Independence declared that we all have certain unalienable rights, among them “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  It is also  a given that we Americans live in a youth obsessed culture.  Most films are action thrillers aimed at young men in their late teens to mid 20’s.  Fashions begin with the young and are adopted by older generations. Food and drink products cater to children and teenagers’ tastes.  In every area of life, being young is held up as the model to emulate. Billions of dollars are spent every year on cosmetics, clothes, exercise equipment and the nip-and-tuck path to keep us fit, energetic and looking as young as possible. But does that mean we are happy?

Measuring Happiness: Gallup conducted a comprehensive national survey in 2009 based on phone interviews with over 350,000 people across the country. The questions and answers fell into six “happiness” indexes:  (As you read them, why not consider your own answers.)

*Life Evaluation: Personal assessment of one’s present life and life in five years on a scale of 1 to 10.

*Emotional Health: Measures a composite of respondents’ daily experiences, including laughter, happiness, worry, anger and stress.

*Work Environment:  Measures job satisfaction, ability to use one’s strengths at their workplace and whether one’s supervisor treats him or her more like a boss or a partner.

*Physical Health: Measures chronic diseases, sick days, physical pain, daily energy and other aspects of physical health.

* Healthy Behaviors: Measures smoking, consumption of fruit and vegetables, and exercise.

*Basic Access: Measures basic needs optimal for a healthy life, such as access to food and medicine, having health insurance and feeling safe while walking at night.

The data from the survey was described by Gallup as the largest database with information concerning Americans’ well-being in existence.  There were correlations with location, ranking the 100 cities with the highest Well-Being index.  Boulder, Colorado ranked first with Holland, Michigan known for their tulip festival second, and Honolulu in third place.  The age of the people interviewed was recorded and produced some of the most surprising results of the survey. Starting at 50 years, there was a sharp rise in the level of happiness that respondents reported.  Arthur Stone, the lead author of a study based on the Gallup poll, suggested that changes in brain chemistry as we grow older affect our happiness index.  Neuroscientists have shown that in younger adults, the amygdala,  the emotional core of the brain, is activated when exposed to negative and positive input.  However, adults in their middle and later years appear to have the ability to screen out or lessen negative emotions and “light up” when they see positive images.

The Gallup findings on age matched results from an earlier research study from the Institute on Aging at the University of Wisconsin. The report found that the most anxious years were the 20’s and early 30’s , the time of career development, dating, marriage and raising children.   Adolescence and teen years were also more stressful than midlife.  “From many points of view, midlife permits many of us to feel on top of the world, in control of our lives, and well enough pleased with what we have accomplished to seek new outlets of both self-expression and giving back to society some of what we have earned and learned.”

The psychologist, Erik Erikson created 8 stages in his classic model of psychosocial development.  Stage 7, Middle Adulthood, 35 to 65 years , poses the challenge of Generativity vs. Stagnation. Stage 8, Seniors, 65 years onward face the challenge of Ego Integrity vs. Despair.  The research findings from the Gallup and Wisconsin studies on happiness describe men and women in midlife and beyond who continue to grow and feel a sense of wholeness in their selves and their lives.  Stage 6, Young Adults, 20 to 34 years cope with the challenge of Intimacy vs. Isolation, reflecting the research findings of higher levels of anxiety and unhappiness during those years.

Pew Research Center had conducted a major survey on happiness in 2005, looking at different demographic groups. They found, contrary to the aphorism that money can’t buy happiness, that based on family income, 49% of respondents with an annual family income of more than $100,000 said they were “very happy”.  In contrast, only 24% of those with an annual family income of less than $30,000 said they were “very happy”.  (One should note that although a correlation is established, it does not prove causation.)  Other interesting findings were: Married people , 43% very happy, while unmarried 24% very happy. Married people with children were about as happy as married people without children. Those who worshipped  frequently were happier than those who did not; Blacks (28%) were less likely than whites (38%) or Hispanics (34%) to respond as very happy. Sunbelt residents were happier than those who live in the rest of the country. Suburbanites happier than city dwellers. Certain non-correlations: People who had children were no happier than people who did not; Retirees were no happier than workers; Pet owners were no happier than those without pets. The age data showed that the young were less happy than the middle aged or old, in agreement with the 2009 Gallup findings.

Epilogue: Scientific research can always give us a new perspective on our personal lives. For example, Erik Erikson discussed three stages of adult development.  Where do we fit in? Stage 6 for young adults; Stage 7 for middle adults and Stage 8 for senior adults.  The key to his classic model is that individuals have choices in life dependent on many factors. Happiness becomes a corollary based on the choice and direction we each follow in our lives.

……………………………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

Recommended Reading: “Wisdom and the Senses” by Joan M Erikson

The Way of Creativity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Ellis Island

 

 

Prologue: Immigrants have been a major emphasis during Donald Trump’s first year in office. A series of administration travel bans have been halted by Federal Judges.  The president continues to promise to build “The Wall” to stop immigration from Mexico and Central American countries. Trump sees immigrants as a threat to the nation, especially Muslims and Hispanics. What a contrast with President John F. Kennedy who wrote , “A Nation of Immigrants”.

One of the most interesting immigrant experience that my husband and I have taken part in was when we visited the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City some years ago.  I wrote a column that described our visit. It was a travel back in time to the years when immigrants were welcomed into our country from nations all over the globe. Here is the column.

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Where did the immigrants go, once they passed the stern uniformed inspectors, the daunting tests and disembarked onto the dock in New York Harbor? How did they live — this generation that Oscar Handlin described so brilliantly in his Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Uprooted ?  What was the quality of their lives?

The immigrants were risk takers, leaving generations of ancestors behind them to venture over thousands of miles of ocean into a completely new life. Of the 12 million immigrants who came through Ellis Island, 8 million left the area with destinations pinned to their lapels. They climbed aboard trains and traveled to distant places across the country on the huge network of railroads. However, by 1900, most of the newcomers settled in four industrial states: New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Illinois. In New York City, they lived in ethnic enclaves on the Lower East Side. For the surge of eastern and southern European immigrants, the crowded tenements were a vast change from the villages they left behind in Belarus, Ukraine, Poland or Italy.

 

Today, at 90 Orchard Street on the corner of Broome Street in New York City, you can visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and enter the world of your ancestors who came and settled there. It is a fascinating and very personal experience to move with the tour guide through the building that was one of the actual tenements where immigrants lived. To walk into a cramped, dark three room apartment of 300 square feet and hear the history of the family who ate, slept and often worked there.

In 1920, Lazarus Salamon, A Hungarian immigrant wrote, “I feel like I had two lives. You plant something in the ground. It has its roots, and then, you transplant it where it stays permanently. That’s what happened to me.”

In a strange city, with streets jam-packed with pushcarts and trolley cars, the immigrants had to learn fast. Where to find work? Where to go to the butcher? Where to send the children to school? There was little time for contemplation or leisure. Each day brought new challenges and problems to solve. New questions to be answered. New hardships.  And of course, a new language to learn. The children who went to school learned the fastest and became interpreters for their parents.

“It was very, very different and very peculiar. We looked around and didn’t know what it was all about. A different world with different people. And it’s hard to adjust.” Helen Wolraich, a Polish immigrant, 1920.

At the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, three different tours bring the past to life. “Piecing It Together: Immigrants in the Garment Industry” takes you to two apartments, the Levine family in l897 who ran a garment shop in their home and the Rogarshevskys who are in mourning for their father, Abraham, who worked as a presser in a factory before succumbing to tuberculosis in l918. Almost every generation of immigrants to the Lower East Side had some connection to the garment industry.

A second tour, “Getting By: Immigrants Weather The Great Depressions of l873 and 1929” centers on the homes of the German-Jewish Gumpertz family (l870’s) and the Sicilian-Catholic Baldizzi family (1930’s). How they found work during hard times is vividly told as you stand and absorb their furnishings and treasured possessions brought from the old country. A tape by one of the descendants tells the personal story of each family. And the pictures, the faces looking out over the years are very powerful.

“My mother brought her candles, the ones you use on Friday nights. She brought her Bibles. She brought the things that were near and dear to us which were not very important to anybody but us. To us, they brought back memories.” Sam Auspitz, a Czechloslovakian immigrant, 1920.

A third tour is to the  “Confino family Apartment”, the recreated 1916 home of a Sephardic family from Kastoria. A costumed guide acting as Victoria Confino welcomes you and invites you to touch items, try on period clothing and dance to music played on a wind-up victrola. The museum describes this tour as “ perfect for families”. Children are welcomed on all the tours which run approximately one hour. There is also a walking tour, “The Streets Where We Lived.”

“Most dear to me are the shoes my mother wore when she first set foot on the soil of America. You must see those shoes to appreciate the courage my parents had and the sacrifices they made giving up family and security to try for a better life, but not knowing what lay ahead. We came to this country as many others did. POOR!  My mother’s shoes tell the whole story.” Birgitta Hedman Fichter, a Swedish immigrant in 1924.

Visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Take your children. It’s a very human experience. And it tells an inspiring story of “ The Uprooted” and the new life  they made here in America — for us.  Museum hours are Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For information  and reservations for all tours, phone 1-212-431-0233. Fax 212-431-0402.  Website: www.tenement.org

………………………………………………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson