Strahlers exemplify true neighborly spirit
Numerous recent surveys indicate that only a quarter of Americans know “most” of their neighbors. The vast majority know only some — or even none. Nearly a fifth of Americans report they don’t even know the name of a single neighbor. A generation ago, the majority of Americans reported regular social activity with neighbors, whereas very few report this today. There is little wonder why. The car, television, the internet, the decline of mom and pop shops in neighborhoods and a host of other changes in American life have made social isolation increasingly possible, if not pleasurable. Even in public places, the ubiquitous smartphone offers an escape to solitude. After all, as Jean Paul Sartre wrote, “Hell is other people.”
But Sartre is, of course, mistaken. Numerous studies show that good relationships with our neighbors are associated with better well-being, less loneliness and worry and an increased sense of usefulness and belonging. Anyone who has good neighbors knows how important they can be for our daily well-being — something even more true in times of personal crisis.
For the past four years, my sister Colleen Kelly tenaciously battled cancer, vigorously pursuing treatment and squeezing the most from each day of life. Sadly, while delayed, the cancer was not to be denied, and this fall Colleen’s condition significantly worsened. She was increasingly homebound and eventually on hospice from home. But hospice services only scratched the surface of the enormous amount of care that she required and despite the devoted care of her husband, children and mother, the quality of life in Colleen’s last weeks very much hung in the balance. There was an endless amount of work to be done and, while loving, Colleen’s family were not professional caregivers. To the rescue came Colleen’s Fox Chase neighbors on Strahle Place: Dawn, Fran, Terri and their children — the “Strahlers,” they called themselves. The Strahlers devoted enormous time, love and expertise to helping Colleen experience the best possible quality in her final days. Some of them had a nursing background and were able to troubleshoot issues with Colleen’s care and provide the best strategies to promote her comfort of quality of life. In one of the more difficult times, the Strahlers came by in the evening to help Colleen, then came again at 3 a.m. so they could help her for a few more hours before going to work.
Sadly, Colleen passed away in November, but the Strahlers undoubtedly made her final weeks the best they could possibly be and provided enormous relief and support for Colleen’s family. Over and over again Colleen’s family would say, “I don’t know what we would have done without them.” For their part, the Stahlers shrug off any perceived heroism. They grew up with neighbors as a part of the extended family — sharing social experiences and struggles together. The kind of neighbors who just walk into one another’s homes and – unlike Kramer from Seinfeld — are always welcome to do so. For them, caring for Colleen is just what good neighbors do and “what Colleen would have done for us.”
Despite their humility, there is no doubt the Strahlers are real heroes and exemplify the true neighborly spirit that is all too rare in modern America. They serve as an inspiration to us all to reach out to our neighbors with compassion and care.
First of all, let me say, Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year to all of us.
If any of you are lucky to get around the neighborhood of Cranford and Passmore, please go see a spectacular sight of a lighted home. It is beautiful and it is really worth the ride.
If there is a contest in the Northeast for the brightest, most beautiful home, I think this home should be the winner.
It is a sight to see.
Thanks to the owners, you have surely made all of us who see it happy.
Thanks for the ‘No Truck Parking’ signs
Thank you to Councilman Brian O’Neill’s staff for getting “No Truck Parking” signs posted along Philmont Avenue in Somerton. O’Neill’s staff had the badly needed signs posted from the Byberry Road area all the way to where Philmont Avenue crosses into Bucks County. While acknowledging the very important work done by truckers, large trucks parked in that area made turning out onto Philmont Avenue extremely dangerous, as the parked trucks greatly obstruct drivers’ views. These signs will surely help avoid serious accidents and possible fatalities.
No to speed cameras in school zones
The recent letter by school students shows a lack of information. Promoting speed cameras in school zones is just as big of a failure as speed cameras elsewhere. There are no success stories. There have been cases of more crashes, cameras having no effect, errors, lack of rights, etc. If you want to learn more about automated traffic enforcement, look up the “Top Twenty-Five Photo Enforcement Felons.”
Most drivers want safety. If areas are set up with inadequate traffic engineering, overzealous enforcement, and drivers get confused, is safety really the objective? If school zones are so dangerous, why not have police there directing traffic, or close the streets for everyone except people accessing the school?
Up the road in Bensalem, we saw speed cameras issuing tickets in error for quite awhile. Could the same thing happen in a temporary school zone? I would think so. I see many school zones that are set up improperly, which is not fair to drivers who think they are complying with the law. Many times things that sound good are not. Students need to learn at a young age to evaluate a situation from all possible viewpoints, then form a conclusion. Be skeptical of people who hate cars or make money from ticketing them.
James Sikorski Jr.
PA Advocate National Motorists Association
No amnesty for illegals
Chuck Schumer recently said due to the slowing birth rate we have a shortage of workers. His solution was not to get all the Americans back to work and off our payroll. Instead he said let us provide amnesty to all the illegals. Remember this is the same man who once was opposed to opening our borders and encouraged attacking Supreme Court justices. Just an FYI. When my family came to America legally they were all cabinet makers and stone masons.
What Chuck really is saying is let us give them citizenship and put them on our payroll. Why do you ask? The reason is apparent. He is buying 3 million votes for his party. Does he care about the impact on us culturally, socially or economically? No, it is staying in power no matter what the cost. It is trying to make us a one-party country. Just take a look at Philly and all the other major cities. If he succeeds an old adage comes into play. Every Great Empire Collapses From Within.
Anthony Dello Russo