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We lost Hugh on June 27, 2022. He had contributed the following to our Class Book:
Before our 25th reunion, thoughts of a midlife crisis or retirement before age 70 or even 75 had not crossed my mind. With the failed Clinton initiative, the evolution of healthcare stalled, changing my mind. After a year promoting computing and information technology in radiology as a fellow of our national society, I spent four years in a night school master’s program to discover where medicine is and should be going and whether I should go with it. The answers were that medicine must, can, and will change and that I should stay in it. Spurred by a strong economy and an obvious need for change at the turn-of-the-century, our country, with its democratic principles, political willpower, and economic and medical resources, could and would create the best healthcare system in the world.
I stayed with radiology but left the the University where the Department had lost its direction, sacrificing education and research for service. My family preferred to stay in Cincinnati, so I went into private practice. I joined a newly forming, more collegial imaging group in Middletown, a smaller city between Cincinnati and Dayton. I happily practiced breast imaging and general radiology for the final eleven years of my career and continued my premed aide program. Thirteen of the last seventeen were Ephs.
At age 65, five years short of my target, I was pushed into retirement by a spine tumor that required major surgery, four months of limited activity (pre-quarantine training), and a year for complete recovery. I admit to having earlier thoughts of retirement, including ideations of more agreeable climes, more time with family, and more color with less grayscale, all of which were realized: winters in Florida (another surprise), summers in Maine with one daughter’s family, spring and fall in Cincinnati with the other’s.
All good? Not quite. Post-surgery television covered a mass shooting (Umpqua College, Oregon). Then, a racist was elected president, followed by the catastrophic pandemic response, all in the wake of an authoritarian response to 9/11, endless and corrupt wars — no lesson learned from Vietnam, denigration of knowledge and science, and a healthcare solution severely limited by shameful politics. So much for my rosy prediction! Solution: read; bolster my Division II Social Studies so that I might “recognize, analyze, and evaluate human structures to understand better the social world in which we live (Williams College Course Directory).”
Am I less optimistic about the future than I was 50 years ago? I am not as naïve, but my optimism is tempered by new understandings. Progress is often one step forward, one step back. Mobility disrupts families and neighborhoods. My friend technology displaces finance from small towns to big ones, gutting local control. I am grateful for the positives, but the negatives weigh heavily. The speed of life is out of control. Power trumps logic. So, what am I going to do? Keep on reading, doing projects, talking with friends, enjoying family, and maintaining hope. It has worked, so far, at least for me.
|Poppy and Hugh, 1971 – 2021||Daughter Abby with husband Joe and daughters Kaitlyn and Cece; Portland, Maine||Daughter Emily with husband Chris, daughters Teagan and Elcie, and son Grady; Cincinnati|