Letters to the Editor: October 23, 2013

A tribute to ‘Nan’

When I was 6 years old, I was approximately 8 inches shorter than everyone else in my class. I was not particularly talented and had no great athletic ability. But if you would have asked me, I was the biggest, brightest and baddest kid at Stephen Decatur. I was not born with this boorish sense of confidence. No, this is all thanks to my Nan who, since the day I was born, has reminded me how out-of-this-world amazing I am. No matter how many losses I’ve seen, I’m always a winner because I’ve got Nan in my corner.

Cecilia Mallon (a.k.a Nan) has a smile that lights up the sky. Something about her very presence can turn a room of strangers into a group of friends. If you sit down and talk with Nan she will tell you all about her 18 perfect grandchildren and her four beautiful great-grandchildren. She might tell you a funny story about one of her five daughters, who she loves beyond explanation. What she won’t tell you is how hard she has worked, how much she has overcome and how strong she has been during a life that was not always so perfect. My Nan will not show you how much her heart still aches for her son Jimmy who was lost in a vicious and unforgiving fire at just 8 years old. Her glowing face does not show the grief she still holds after losing the home she built for her family that day along with every picture, every memory, every dollar she had. She will not reveal the struggles she experienced as a newly single mother, raising five girls who were equally jilted from a loss that was impossible to make sense of.

Nan did not, and does not, let these overwhelming tragedies dictate who she is. Where most would have crumbled and let this experience destroy them, she rebuilt a family that was bigger and stronger than ever before. She took away from that experience a lesson that many of us never learn: life is short and only as sweet as you make it.

She is the cornerstone of a family that is so full of love and laughter, most people cannot comprehend it. I can only hope my Nan knows that the things she has done and the lives she has touched far exceed our family alone. One day, I hope that my Nan can see how much better the world is, just for having her in it.

Jenni-Lyn Clark

Parkwood

Thank you for article ‘Speaking out against abuse’

We the parents of Ben (Turtle), the subject of the article “Speaking out against abuse” in the Oct. 9 issue of the Northeast Times, would like to extend our thanks to William Kenny for his caring and thought-provoking handling of the subject matter.

He wrote about our son in a way that was respectful and safe. This has helped Ben in his healing process immensely. Ben wishes to advocate against child sexual abuse, and this article helped set all that in motion. Ben started a Facebook page to bring awareness to the subject, “Shatter The Silence (Eradicate Child Abuse).”

Ben was thrilled to receive a thank you comment on this page from a local mother for being brave and doing the article and of how it prompted her to sit and speak to her two young children about body safety.

It also came to the attention of a nonprofit organization, “The Mama Bear Effect,” which pledged $1 for each share of the article on Facebook in order for Ben to donate books on prevention and recovery of child sexual abuse to local libraries.

On a more personal note, we’d like to thank Mr. Kenny basically for being the caring individual that he was in writing this article. By doing so, he opened the eyes of the community to be able to see that this does happen on a daily basis, everywhere and it is a silent epidemic that needs to be voiced. So thank you, Mr. Kenny, for not being the reporter who says, “If it bleeds, it leads,” and instead being the one who says, “If it heals, it appeals.”

Basically, you have shown that rights protect victims and not just the criminals. Be proud, you have opened many eyes.

Melissa and Michael

Parkwood

90th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey

On Oct. 29, more than a half-million Turkish-Americans will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey. On that day in 1923, under the guidance of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Turkish Grand National Assembly proclaimed the republic, realizing the aspirations of Turkish people for freedom, peace and progress in their homeland.

Through the ambitious reforms implementing Ataturk’s vision of modern statehood, Turkey transformed from its imperial past into the world’s first sustainable secular democracy with a predominantly Muslim population. Modern Turkey also is one of the fastest-growing emerging markets.

For more than 60 years, Turkey has been a key partner in a vital region stretching from Eastern Europe and the Middle East to the Caucasus and Central Asia. More than 5,000 Turkish soldiers took part and over 700 of them fell fighting alongside the Americans in the 1950–53 Korean War.

In the last two decades, Turkey considerably contributed to the NATO and U.S.-led missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan. With the unraveling crisis in Syria and turmoil in Egypt, Turkey’s role as an influential regional power and U.S. ally remains pivotal.

Meanwhile, within less than a century of immigration, Turkish-Americans have left a unique imprint on America’s diverse cultural spectrum and have contributed to its advancement in the fields of business, science, medicine, technology and arts.

Semiha Gordesligil

Bustleton

Smoking is too costly

Despite well-publicized information showing the potential health hazards of smoking, people continue to puff away. Well, perhaps we should be free to live our lives as we choose as long as we do not affect others. But what if it does impact our family, friends and community?

A recent newspaper article noted that there is a 50-percent higher prevalence of smoking in poor neighborhoods. Some low-income people who smoke spend as much as 14 percent of their income on tobacco. Some depend on schools to provide their children with free breakfasts while at home they pollute the air with secondhand smoke that their children breathe, often resulting in their children suffering from asthma, which raises health costs for all of us.

A low-income smoker who is on public assistance and Medicaid drains every working person’s taxes to pay for care for lung cancer, emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). One woman claims to buy “loosies,” a single cigarette at a time, for 50 cents each, a rate that would come to $10 a pack. Since cigarettes cost about $6 a pack, she clearly needs help with money management.

Having to choose between inhaling tar and nicotine or feeding your children, morally there should be no choice. A pack-a-day smoker would be spending $180 a month on smokes or about $2,200 a year. One smoker on disability complained that he can’t afford food but smoking decreases his anxiety and hunger. This literally makes his money go up in smoke.

The director of the city Department of Public Health blames advertising and stress as factors that increase the desire to smoke. Various university professors point to poverty as a cause for smoking as well as for poor school performance, ignoring the fact that the next-door neighbor is just as poor and yet their children succeed in school.

Those who accept personal responsibility and are willing to be accountable for their own actions should not have to pay the bill for those who fail to do so.

Mel Flitter

Somerton

School budget solution

I was wondering when Republican John Perzel gets out of jail and makes his $1 million restitution to the state, if Republican Gov. Corbett would then provide it directly to the school district without any restrictions.

Mayer Krain

Modena Park