In My Little Town Revisited 2

When we last left off, we were at the salt mines. If you didn’t read Part 1 to this story, go to My Little Town Revisited Part 1 and read it first. Come on, you’re lagging behind the rest of us. We’re not waiting for you. We’ll catch up with you at the end.

What was I saying? Oh yeah. So there we were, my friend Joanne and I, teenagers, in a deserted sand and gravel pit, alone with the two men who had picked us up hitchhiking to Mr. Bigs, who we were convinced were going to kill us. Now, you know they didn’t kill us because I’m writing this story. But when we left off, we were trapped in a two-door car, with one of the men claiming he had lost his sunglasses in a salt mine in Montville. We hadn’t bargained for going for a side trip. We just wanted to save some bus fare money.

As we drove down into the pit, surrounded by nothing but mountains of sand, salt and gravel, I kept thinking that this would be the perfect place to rape and kill us and bury us in one of those mountains. With nobody around to witness it, who would know? And if we went missing, how would they find us? We were supposed to be on a bus, not going to a salt mine! We sat in the back of the car, looking for some kind of weapon to use should it come to that. Nothing. I kept thinking, “if they don’t kill us, my mother surely will for being so stupid and getting in this car!”

The car came to a stop. My heart started to beat out of my chest. I prayed to God that if they let me walk away from this nightmare, I would never hitch hike again. The passenger man, the one who lost his sunglasses off his big fat head, got out of the car. I wanted to push the half seat forward so that I could get out too but he closed his door too quickly. The driver stayed where he was in the driver’s seat. He turned the car off and took the keys out of the ignition. I thought, this is it. They’re going to drag us to our deaths. The passenger disappeared for a minute and then I heard him open the trunk. I couldn’t see him but was certain he was getting his gun. Silence. The car was shut off which meant the radio was off too. I was certain the driver could hear my heart pounding, although the silos were making a loud hum noise as they crushed the gravel. Nobody would ever hear our screams of despair, our pleas for help. The trunk closed and made a loud bang like the sound of a gunshot. My friend and I both jumped. I thought that if I made conversation with the driver, he would like us and wouldn’t kill us. Rape us, yes. But maybe not murder us or shoot us and leave us for dead. We made small talk. I can’t remember what. I remember not being able to see his friend anywhere and the longer he was gone, the worse my imagination got. He’s out there digging the hole he is going to bury us in. “Where’s your friend?” I asked. “Looking for his sunglasses,” he said in a low-grumbling voice. He was a man of few words. But aren’t they all in scary, blood-bath movies?

About 5 minutes later, the front door of the car swung open. It was the passenger. He’s back. My thoughts in my head were, “Oh no, this is it. Brace yourself Sharon. Just go along with what they want and maybe they won’t shoot you.”

“I found ‘em”! I found my sunglasses! They’re a little dusty, but they’re not broken.” The car starts up. “Ok, girls. Sorry about that little detour. We’ll get you to Mr. Bigs now.” And that’s exactly what they did. They drove us right to the top of the hill and before they could think of an evil plot, we said, “We’ll get out here. Thank you very much.” We got out of the car and they drove away. Sticking true to my word, I never “thumbed a ride” again. Never.

Norwich had some scary places, didn’t it? Devil’s Hopyard. Just the name alone indicates trouble. Devil’s Hopyard years ago was the place to go and just hang out, to get away from the metropolis they call downtown Norwich. It was (and still is) a park where people go to observe nature and have picnics. Lots of hippies used to go there, get high, and just take in the serenity of the place. How do I know this? Ummmm. Uhhhh. Anyway, years ago, Devil’s Hopyard had a roaring waterfall. Back then, you could walk on the falls if you were agile and inclined to do so. You could jump or “hop” as it were, from rock to rock in the middle of the falls and cross over to the other side. I was always afraid to do this. I did it a few times. But even watching others do it made me nervous. But now, you can no longer go in the falls because the state has blocked it off. You can’t even sit on the rocks. No doubt some stoner froze up halfway across saying (in a Cheech and Chong voice) “Oh man, I can’t make it, man. I’m too stoned. I’m just gonna’ sit here until the water evaporates man.” Or worse yet, someone probably fell in and got seriously hurt. Therefore, there is no more hopping at Devil’s Hopyard. Now you can only look at the falls from a distance and admire the trickle of water that used to be running rapids. Whoop-di-do!

My friend Joanne had me convinced that Devil’s Hopyard was so named because the Devil lived there. I was always afraid to walk on the paths in fear of coming face to face with Lucifer. She showed me a little 4” painting on a rock of the devil and said “See?” This was the proof that the Devil lived there. Lame. Someone painted it on there. It could’ve been the first graffiti in Salem but don’t quote me on that.

I have some fond memories of Devil’s Hopyard and some not so fond, like the time a fish jumped out of the water and started talking to me. A story for another blog.

Speaking of scary (but in a good way), have you ever experienced The Bump? No, I don’t mean the 70’s dance craze where you and your partner knocked hips to disco music. (No wonder hip replacement surgery is so common.) No, I’m talking about THE Bump.

When I was a kid, my family had friends that lived in Ledyard. When we went to visit them, my father, who grew up in Poquetanuck, would take the back roads to get to Ledyard. He’d load all us kids in the car (four of us), no car seats (hadn’t been invented yet), no seat belts (cars had them but we never used them), and we got to sit wherever we liked. This included laying on the top of the back seat, nestled in between the real glass (not that wimpy breakaway glass that new cars have now. This was real glass, the kind that would break off in shards and do serious damage if your flesh went through it.) We’d lie on the floor; stand up; hang over the back of our parent’s front seat; do tumblesaults in the rear of the station wagon while driving. There were no safety rules. We were free to roam about the cabin as we wished. (Which also meant that we could avoid my father’s floundering arm over his seat while he was driving, searching for a kid to hit. Singing in our minds, “You can’t get me. Nha, nha, nha, nha.”)

In the Romper Room station wagon, we would turn right onto Palmer Street from Rte 2, which turns into Middle Road in Poquetanuck. We knew when it was coming because we would feel the car start to accelerate. This could only mean one thing…Hold on! Here comes the Bump!! My father would get the biggest kick out of hitting this particular bump in the road as fast as he could, sending us kids flying in mid air, bumping our heads on the roof of the car. We would squeal with delight and ask our father if we could do it again. It’s a two second thrill ride, but worth it.

We called it “The Bump” but now I’m not sure if it was because of the road or because of the bumps on our heads.

Coming home from my sister’s house the other night, I took this route. Rachel was in the back of the car, reading a book (as usual) and seat belted in to her car seat. I wondered if it would have the same impact on her if we hit “The Bump”. Upon approaching it, I sped up just a little (I’m not a daredevil like my father was). I didn’t tell her or give her any warning and then we hit it. Weeeeee! We hit the bump. She looked up and said, “WHAT was THAT?” I started to laugh and told her this story.

If you too want to take your kids, grandkids or just yourself for a quick 5 second thrill, here is a map:


View The Bump in a larger map

Scary places. In that same vicinity, in Preston, was Maciejny’s Farm on Brickyard Road. Maciejny’s was a pumpkin farm and we always went there for our pumpkins. It was always decorated for Halloween with hay stacks, gourds and pumpkins. But the most memorable thing about Maciejny’s was the real, life-size, stuffed grizzly bear they had on display. I was petrified of that thing. It stood about 8’ tall, with arms extended out as if ready to grab you. Its claws were all intact, and its mouth wide open showing all its teeth. The very thing that nightmares are made of.

This is what the bear looked like.


The garage of this house was the market and the bear stood right inside of the garage door. Shudder.

I always loved driving by there though. Across from the pumpkin stand itself, they had a man-made pond and in that pond was this big wood cutout of Charlie Brown, looking like he was standing by the pond. (Or at least that’s what I saw. It could have been another talking fish episode. Yikes!)

And speaking of Peanuts characters, also in Preston, on Rte 165, is Snoopy Rock. Surely everyone who is from the Norwich area has seen Snoopy Rock. Snoopy rock is a rock that juts out of an embankment. Someone had a vision of painting it black and white and created it to LOOK like Snoopy. Obviously someone in Preston was doing the same thing I was doing when I saw the fish jump out of the falls and started talking to me. It’s been there for as long as I can remember and is still there today. And just like my parents did with me, I point it out to my kids when we drive by it. They are equally not thrilled (but they’ll show their kids someday I’m sure.) The rock doesn’t really look like Snoopy. But I'll let you be the judge.










Major debate happening lately over who has the best grinders in Norwich. Everyone says Vocatura’s. Yeah, they’re alright. But I have found THE best grinder in the Norwich area. I’m actually afraid to tell anyone because once I do, the shop will get mobbed and then change. And I don’t want them to change. I need to think about this for a week. Tune in next week to Part 3 of this series and see if I divulge this hidden gem, and more secret places in the town I grew up in. And most importantly, next week I wrap up all three parts with My Kaneclusion to all this.

PICTURES

This is the Charlie Brown and Snoopy across from Maciejny's. To my surprise, it is still there. As I was taking this picture, a woman drove by me and smiled at me. She probably thought I was a tourist.


As you can see, there is no more man-made pond. Just Charlie Brown looking at his Pet Rock. (Get it, his pet rock? Ha!)



This is a close up of Snoopy Rock in Preston, CT.



Before today, I hadn't known this rock had a real name and it wasn't "Snoopy Rock" which is what we called it. As I was taking pictures, I noticed an actual plaque marker on the rock. It is actually a painting of "Spotty" and dates back to 1935. Who knew? Not I! But I'm not telling anybody. It's Snoopy Rock and I'm sticking to it.


In My Little Town Revisited 1

It’s Spring. And with Spring comes work…yard work. Yuck. So I got out my garden tools and discovered they were rusty. I decided to take a trip to Benny’s, Norwich’s local hardware and auto supply store. But I didn’t know if they were open. I wanted to call to find out but then I remembered. Benny’s doesn’t list their number. Does anyone remember that? If you wanted to know if Benny’s carried a product, or what their hours were, you had to physically go there to find out. Their phone number was one of Norwich’s best kept secrets. They had a phone. They just didn’t give out the number and I’m not really sure why. Maybe they didn’t want the help chatting on the phone? I don’t know. But just for the heck of it, I looked it up on the internet and did find the phone number. Even Benny’s has had to conform with the times. Too bad. I worry about stores like that in this economy. I try to shop there to keep them alive.

Unfortunately Benny’s didn’t have what I was looking for so I headed to Walmart. In Norwich, I got on 52 heading to Lisbon. What’s that? You don’t know what “52” is? Oh, I’m sorry. “52” is the highway that is now called “Interstate 395”. My bad. Back a few years ago, it was known as Route 52 or “52” and it ran from Niantic all the way to the Massachusetts border. It still does. But now it’s called “395”. There is even inflation in highway numbers!

On 52 (395) in Uncasville, there was a toll booth right after the Montville State Police Barracks. In my earlier days, I spent many a drunken night coming home from partying in New London, Groton, New Haven, dreading the navigation of that toll booth. In those days, you used the change slots in your car for keeping loose change for a reason: to pay the toll. Cause if you didn’t, you’d have to get off the highway and take “32”. For me, this meant that I would have to drive through downtown Norwich to get home. It was always a scary venture, driving all alone, late at night, in the wee hours of the morning, hoping I didn’t run out of gas or break down.

This was waaay before cell phones and if you broke down, you had to walk. Yes, people, WALK. To where? To a PAY phone. That was another reason to have loose change in the car. God help you if you spent your last change at the toll booth and had a flat tire. A dime was your only connection to a rescue. No contacting AAA from your OnStar. Nope, a dime was your survival. So much so, we kept dimes in our black penny loafer shoes, just in case of emergency. And if you were lucky enough, you would break down BY a phone booth. Do you realize that kids today don’t even know what a phone booth is? They don’t know what it’s like to be having a conversation with someone, like let’s say a tow truck service, and just as you are in the middle of telling them where you are located, an operator would interrupt the phone call saying, “Please deposit another dime.” This left you frantically searching your hip-hugger pockets for a dime. Maybe your jean jacket pockets? Nope. Just cigarettes. Your loafers? Drats! Used it last time this happened and never replaced the dimes. By then, the call was disconnected by the evil telephone operator. Curses! Now what?

You could always knock on someone’s door, hoping they would let you in so you could call someone that could help. But depending on where you broke down, you might not want to do that. I don’t know why, but the scariest place to break down for me back then was on North Main Street by the city. (By the way, Route 12 is always referred to as “Route 12” never “12”. Why? I don’t know. Just a Norwich thing. Kind of like how people from Norwich pronounce “Norwich” like “Norwidge”. One of those mysteries in life.) My biggest fear was my car coming to a complete stop right in front of the old man with the beard’s house. Oh, you know who I mean. The guy who looked like he hadn’t bathed in years and didn’t know what a shaver was? He looked like a dirty Santa Claus? He was always outside, up on the hill, looking down, watching people passing by, smoking cigarettes and leaning on his cinder block fortress that he had built himself? C’mon. You know who I’m talking about. He looked like Jethro Tull’s Aqualung? Eyeing little girls with bad intent? No? You don’t remember him? Ok. This you will surely remember. He’s the guy who had taken old, claw foot bathtubs, cut them in half, and displayed them in his yard on the hill, all with the statue of Mother Mary in them? NOW do you remember him? There was a big story in the newspaper a few years back about the guy and his “art exhibit” and his refusal to give it up. I can’t remember the details but it had to do with Norwich wanting him to clean it up and it was a fight. He eventually ended up in a nursing home and I guess Norwich won because the Holy Mary Bathtub Collection is no longer there. Back when I was a kid, I was afraid of walking by it. I always felt like bodies were buried under those bathtubs for some reason, and the Holy Mary was watching over them. Now as an adult, I can kind of appreciate the landmark he had created and still look up as I drive by there today. I found this site that actually refers to it as a roadside landmark and shows a picture. Click here.

Anyway, back then, the other option when breaking down was to stick your thumb out and hope someone kind enough would pull over and give you a ride (aka “hitchhiking” or “thumbing a ride”.)

Here’s a little story I have about “thumbing a ride”. When I was around 14 years old, my best friend Joanne (16) and I would take a SEAT bus to Uncasville to visit my sister who lived on “32” directly on the bus route. It was a convenient way to get there since neither if us had a car yet. But it cost money, which neither of us had, unless I dusted my house and received my allowance of $.50. (Yes, the decimal is in the right place!) Anyway, ofttimes we would take the bus there, but hitch hike home. On one occasion, we left my sister’s and went and stood on the street waiting for the bus. Impatient, we decided to stick out our thumbs to see if we could “bum a ride” instead and save the coinage (you know, to make a phone call later.) Much to our luck, a car pulled over. It was two older men (I say older but they were probably 25-30ish? But to us, much older.) They asked us where we were heading and we told them the place in Norwich which was the halfway mark for both of us – Mr. Bigs. They told us we were in luck because they too were going that way. Score!

So we got in the back seat of the car, with no thought that something bad might happen. Nothing bad ever happened back then. Or at least we didn’t know it could because we didn’t have CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and all the other 24 hour news channels informing us of all the bad that could happen. We were innocent and na├»ve.

So we’re driving along with these two guys and my friend quietly nudges me and points to the dashboard of the car. Hanging there in a leather case is a knife that looked like it could gut a shark. I instantly felt uneasy and scared. It was then that we both started to realize that we had gotten into a car with complete strangers and really had no idea what could happen to us. If the knife wasn’t enough to instill fear, the next thing that happened was the guy in the passenger seat said to us, “I’ve left my sunglasses at the salt mine where we were just hunting and we’re just going to make a quick stop back there to see if we can find them.” PANIC! OH NO, OH NO! THEY’RE GOING TO KILL US WITH THEIR HUNTING GUNS IN THE TRUNK, OR WORSE YET SLICE US INTO LITTLE PIECES WITH THAT KNIFE THAT COULD SKIN A DEER. My friend and I start to hit each other in the thighs. I thought at the time it was to get each others attention to what was happening. But now that I think back, the hitting was probably to say, “how did you let us get into this situation?” We started to whisper to each other “the plan”. Here’s what “the plan” was: “we’ll just jump out of the car now before we get to a desolated salt mine. Surely someone will see us jump out on “32” and rescue us, right? On the count of three…” All sounds great. But “the plan” fell apart when we realized that we didn’t have doors to get out of. It was a two-door car and the only way out was if the driver or passenger got out and LET us out. WE’RE DOOMED! “Plan B.” They open the door and get out. We get out too and then run for our lives. Yup, that’s what we’ll do.” “Good luck.” “I hope you make it.” “I hope you make it too.” “I love you. You’re my best friend…If you make it, tell my mother I said I’m sorry.” “Ok. and you too.”

The car pulls off “32” and onto a side street. I had never gone off the major roads like “32” so I had no idea where we were or where we were going. But I knew that “salt mines” didn’t sound like a well populated area. Sure enough, I was right. We pulled into a flat area that was surrounded by what looked to us as sand and gravel mountains. Nobody was there. No other cars in sight. No people walking about. Just us. Two young, attractive, hot-looking girls in our short-shorts and halter tops, with two MEN who had knives and guns, all alone in a deserted salt mine.

Tune in next week to find out what happened to those two young girls and for other historic points of interest in Norwich and the surrounding area…

Oh. Did I forget to tell you this is a three-parter? In the words of Eunice, the character portrayed on the Carol Burnett Show…Sorrrrrryyyyyy. But hey, weren’t you the one that complained that some of my blog articles are too long? I shortened it just for you! See you next week! But feel free to tell me what you thought of this week’s so far.




Photo of a gravel pit similar to the one in my story.

_____________________

Current Events

All kinds of current events happening over the last couple of weeks. I’m not sure what is more important. Health care reform? Floods? Or my child’s school research presentation on Persians? I’ll cover them all, taking on a personal challenge of how to tie them all together. It can’t be done, you say? Just watch.

US News - Health Care Inform

First, the new Health Care law, because I think this is the most important for our country. Before starting, let me state that, in my opinion, I am not a democrat or a republican. I lean more towards independent, because I believe that neither party represents all of my viewpoints. My stand is typically on the issue itself, not on where my party sits. When it comes down to it, both parties are flawed. For example, neither party supports my idea that the government should take care of my lawn every 2 weeks. Hey, I pay taxes on my property. If I let my property decline to a point where it becomes a safety hazard, you can bet that they'll be fining me for it. I supposedly OWN the land that I'm to take care of, yet at any point, eminent domain could kick in and the government can take my land away from me. So shouldn't they mow "their" lawn? I'm being facetious. It’s preposterous, right?

How about this. Some folks don't want the government coming on their property and telling them how to live their life. But with the recent floods in New England, these same people wanted the government to step in and save them and their house. They wanted the National Guard to sand bag the heck out of the river banks so it didn’t reach their property, right? And what about the people screaming that health care reform was unconstitutional and claiming the US is turning into a socialist country? All the while, these same folks are collecting unemployment benefits and welfare. Do they not understand that that too is part of socialism? But I guess that’s okay since they directly benefit.

It’s a contradiction to say that you don’t want the government running your life, but then expect the government to bail your butt out should you need assistance. It amazes me how good the political spin doctors are when they are able to get people collecting medicare to agree with the Republican stance on the health care reform. (Medicare, the socialist answer to health benefits for older adults and the first thing folks of 65 years of age sign up for because it's their right!) The Republican way that has the rich not payng their fair share, and the middle class keep getting poorer. Is it all because they tout “Americans don't want to pay any more taxes”? Don't they really mean, "RICH Americans don't want to pay any more taxes and they support my campaign so I need to do what they say...screw the rest of you...but it will sound good if I say I'm fighting for all your rights to pay no more taxes"? And the Teabaggers are even MORE scary, with their "we want to take our country back" which translates into, "we don't want a black man running our country." Or, according to Sarah Palin, they just want the country to live up to and abide by the constitituion. As if the rest of us that don't believe her rhetoric do not live by the constitution. Hey Sarah, if you want to really stay true to the Constitution the way it was intended 100 years ago, then you shouldn't be allowed to vote, never mind run for political office.

Here’s my thought on the nonsense that has taken place over the passing of the Health Care Reform Bill. The House of Representatives and Senate are made up of intelligent people on both sides of the aisle. Can we at least agree on that? Ok. If we agree on that, then you need to ask yourself, how is it that 219 smart, educated, informed people said "yea" to a new law that would supposedly cause the end of our country, as stated by the opposite side? If for nothing else, I trust THEIR judgment on the health reform issue more than I do, let’s say, the cashier at Walmart. Most people right now are getting their information about the health care reform from their co-workers at water cooler conversations. No offense, but unless you work with all doctors, lawyers, or have a degree in political science, the opinions you are getting from your co-workers are based on what they watched on TV the night before. True or not? You wouldn't leave your kids with most of your coworkers, so why would you take what they are telling you about health care as gospel? I'm not trying to insult your friends and coworkers. But I am trying to make a point that we elect public officials to handle these matters because they are educated. Say what you want about our politicians, but I don’t think ANY of them want to see our country face the end of the world because they signed a Bill.

I hear some folks say, what about important things like the job market and the economy? Due to the health care reform, more jobs will be created. Each state will be receiving funding for opening offices for offering support of health insurance consumer assistance. Jobs people! If you’re unemployed, go apply now!

I could cry over this next point alone. If they passed this part alone, it would have been huge. HUGE, I tell ya! Ok, down and dirty, the new bill provides help to those who retire early (ages 55-64) by creating a temporary re-insurance program to help offset the cost of expensive premiums for employers and retirees. How many people do you know that have retired and then had to go back to work due to not being able to afford health insurance? Does bagging groceries at Walmart sound like a great retirement to you? In this country, why should we have to work just to maintain health insurance?

Under this bill, new plans will have to provide FREE preventative care - no co-payments and no deductibles for preventative care. FREE! Go get your cancer screenings. No excuses now!

If you have kids that are under the age of 26 who can’t find a job and living home with you, this Bill may have just saved your kid’s life and your home. Scenario – your 24 year old unemployed uninsured child gets into a horrible car accident. He/she is in the hospital and rehab for months. Who do you think was going to pay the hospital, doctors and lab technicians for that? Did you think it was free because your child waltzed into the hospital and claimed low income and no insurance? Before this Bill, we, the people, paid for that, because the hospitals, doctors and everyone in the health care industry who got screwed out of payment had to then go up on MY insurance and health care needs to compensate for the loss. So what appeared to be free, wasn’t. But now, that same child will be covered under your policy, and the insurance company has to pay for it. Yes, the insurance companies that would pay bonuses to their employees for declining claims; who reward the top executives with 6-7 figure salaries. Is this a good thing for the majority of Americans with adult children living home? Yes! I now know that my daughter can live with me until she’s 26 years old (if she wants to) and if something catastrophic happens to her, I won’t lose my house over it. How do you spell peace of mind?

Under the topic of getting married for insurance purposes, how many people are smacking themselves in the head with a "I could've had a V-8" kind of slap, over marrying someone for insurance coverage? Whoops! Tied the knot to get insurance when you could have stayed single and had coverage now? Yeah, I can see why you hate this bill! It came a little too late for you folks! But think of your children and know that they will never have to get married for health benefits.

The poor people of our country are covered under the “socialistic” medicaid. The rich can afford their premiums for insurance. It has been middle Americans that have suffered from this whole insurance debacle. Other countries that have Universal Health care are laughing at us right now. Especially when Republican politicians made speeches that claimed that the new law is going to cause Armageddon. Puh-lease. What these speeches came down to was Republicans ensuring their job placements in the private sector after finishing their terms in office. Ever ask yourself what politicians do when they are not re-elected? Hmmm. Ever ask yourself what companies can afford a huge salary to pay ex-politicians? This happens on both sides of the aisle. But you have to ask yourself, what did the Republican politicians have to gain by basically boycotting the Bill? And who is funding the campaigns?

Ah, and then there was the answer. This week alone, a dozen Republicans made speeches and reached out to their constituents for campaign donations. Waving their promising fists in the air, “We’re gonna’ repeal this thing!!! But we need your money to do it!!!” I wonder how many of the people donated to Senator McCain’s campaign in hopes of fighting this law. Are these the same people that claim they can’t afford the insurance premiums but are writing checks to their Representatives and Senators? Are these the same people that are upset about the fines that will be imposed if they don’t purchase the insurance? Funny, how they can find the cash to support their politicians though. Use your money to better causes people! I was happy to see that as of Wednesday, March 30, the polls showed that not all people were falling for this. Although it was somewhat discouraging that people donated $109 million to the RNC (Republican National Committee) as of that date, and probably rising. Oh, what $109 million would do for our economy and debt, huh? But instead it will go to politicians to build their campaigns against Democrats, to expense staying in fancy hotels, fly on private jets, and the latest current event that happened last week, expensing visits to bondage strip clubs as an expense that we tax payers pay for!

The Democrats are saying that the American people won in this victory. You don’t hear any Republican politicians saying this but some Republican Americans are saying that the insurance companies won. Some Tea Baggers are saying that the Government won. You want to know who won? Insurance Agents, that’s who! Insurance Agents earn their income by earning commissions from selling health insurance. With the pre-existing condition clause eliminated, insurance agents just increased their commissions by expanding their pool of people that they can sell insurance to. I hold every financial license there is to hold (Life, Securities, etc.). I sure wish I had my Health license right about now. So many people that will need to, (and CAN!) purchase health insurance now. It’s a missed opportunity.*

Recently, someone said to me that because of this new Bill, they wished they worked for an insurance company. Why? Do they think as an employee they'd be rich because of this new law? I have lived in CT my whole life. I have worked for insurance companies. I know people that have worked for the insurance companies. Connecticut is the insurance capitol of the world, and believe me, the insurance companies were not throwing parties after the Bill was signed into law. As much as they might be gaining in premiums by the mandate, (which by the way, is based on your income), their payout of claims just increased. They no longer have the ability to deny claims. Huge! No more benefit cap. Most people don't even know they have a cap on their health insurance. May I suggest that you go to work today and ask your employer if there is a cap on your benefits. I have a cap of $1 million over a lifetime, which isn't a lot when you add it all up. Once that cap is used up, I would be virtually screwed. One accident leaving me in a coma would have potentially put my family in the position of hitting that cap, then having to decide to pull the plug because the insurance reached the cap. (Who am I kidding? They would pull the plug on the first day! LOL) But seriously, as of last week, it is illegal to put a cap on one's health insurance. How do the insurance companies win on that? How does an insurance company win by now having to pay out claims and can't deny them? If this person wanted to work for an insurance company with the expectations that they would have shared in the profits of taking advantage of the sick, then the last 100 years would have been the time to do that. As of last week, the playing field was evened out just a bit.

What a week. After the bill was originally signed, there was an uproar from the Republicans, Tea Baggers, and all that opposed it. There was violence directed at supporters of the Bill. Then the Bill was “fixed”. The Republicans sure didn’t offer any teamwork in the creation of the Bill, but were sure quick to criticize the things that weren’t right. Republicans tried to rile the public and attempt to make the Democrats look stupid, by making speeches about how the Democrats want to “give Viagra to perverts”. For cryin’ out loud. Do people really believe that? It was an oversight people. But the Democrats showed them. With all the courage in the world, they fixed the oversight errors and held ANOTHER vote. It passed yet again. After that, there was no more political rhetoric. The Republicans seemed to have disappeared on the subject. Even Glenn Beck, the self appointed REAL president of the Republican Party, on the most important day of our history in a long time, didn’t even cover the signing of the Bill on his show. Kind of like the kid who didn’t win the kickball game, he picked up his ball and went home.

Regardless of how you feel about what took place, it is now law, which means that we all should familiarize ourselves with how this impacts us. And by that, I don't mean listening to the bs on Fox News or the people who voted against it. I mean read up on it yourselves. If you doubt what I am saying, or doubt what your politicians are telling you, inform yourself! Read what this law will do for you and your family. Go to www.whitehouse.gov and read up on it yourself.

I work for a sovereign nation. I'm waiting to see if they fall under this new law so I can get the benefits of what just happened. It blows my mind how others who have it coming naturally are trying to find fault in it. I'm actually PRAYING that the Native Americans that I work for have to abide by this new law!! People like me might have to fight for what the rest of you just got! Feel any better about it now?

Is our health care system perfect now? No. Is it a step in the right direction for all Americans? Yes. All it takes is to know one person who has died prematurely because they didn’t get covered by their insurance company, to know that this Bill was the right thing to do. Right ALWAYS prevails!

Now For Your Local News

On Monday morning, Rachel had to deliver her research presentation to her classmates. Her research was on Persian Cats, and since she got one for Christmas, she thought she should learn about them. I supported the idea. She worked diligently on creating her poster board of facts; her “Persian Answers” Television show, of which yours truly was a stand in for Swiffur (her cat); she made a scrap book of pictures as her art facet (with scrapbook materials given to her by Sandra Davis Hill); and her most important part of her presentation materials – Swiffur himself was to make an appearance at the school!

We woke up Monday morning to torrential rains and wind. The walk into school is trying on nice days, never mind adding the elements. Rachel was dropped off at school so she wouldn’t be late. But I waited until I could maybe get a parking spot closer to the door. I had to carry the poster board, video camera, the scrapbook, the quizzes she created for her post-presentation, and, of course, SWIFFUR, in the cat carrier. Not easy.

Persian Answers. Mostly every time that Rachel does a research project, she includes a TV show where she interviews people. We’ve had “Electricity Answers”, “Canada Answers”, “Sea Lion Answers”, “Senior Center Answers” and “Soccer Answers”.

(Tune in later this week when the video will hopefully be posted here. Having technical difficulties.)

The teacher in the class said I should consider doing voice-overs. But I think I’ll keep my day job. (After all, I have health insurance benefits there.)

Rachel did her presentation and then gave me the “nod”. “Mom, when I nod at you, you bring Swiffur up and take him out of the cat carrier.” I got the nod. I took out Swiffur and let the kids in the class pet him. I am happy to report, he was a good boy. He let all the kids touch him. He even allowed the dog-loving, cat-hating teacher to pet him. When he started to sense the hamster in the cage behind me, I felt it best to put him back in the carrier. I didn’t want to have the lesson become about the circle of life. All-in-all, a great presentation.

Upon leaving, I had to weather the rain and high winds again. Swiffur LOVED that. It sounded like I was killing him. I brought him home and went to work. When we got home that night, the basement had a little water on the floor. No biggie. It happens. I just turned the dehumidifier on and that should have taken care of it. The next day, I woke up and, for some reason, the first thing I did was put on the TV. I never do that. Usually (true confession time) I check Facebook first. (I know, I’m pathetic.) I’m glad I did turn on the TV because school was cancelled. It had rained so much the night before that the rivers were swelling and threatening to flood. I checked my basement and sure enough, there were a few inches of water covering the floor. I won’t go into detail because it’s boring, but it was no small task getting the water out of the basement. I live on a hill and my front yard reminded me of the movie A River Runs Through It.

In watching the news, the local rivers were promising to rise up. The National Guard was called in to assist with the lining of the river banks with sandbags. (That’s our government. Always meddling in our business!) Local businesses were four feet under water. Schools were cancelled for a few days. Roads were obstructed by deep waters. Bridges had collapsed due to the force of the water rising up and taking the bridges with it. Roads were cracked, up heaved, and impassible. Then the thought occurred to me, and lead me to my conclusion for this week...

My Kaneclusion: With all the destruction caused by unlikely events like earthquakes in California and New England dealing with Floods, maybe the Republicans were right! The signing of the Health Care Reform Bill IS causing Armageddon!!!! Or at the very least, the Apocalypse! Man, those Republicans are powerful and all-knowing! Rush Limbaugh, who do I make the check out to, to save our country?

But alas, the rain has stopped, the waters have receded, the basements are drying, and Home Depot/Lowe’s saw a profit. The weather has been beautiful since. Swiffur is calm now, and knowing that cats go a little crazy when it’s going to rain, has me feeling a little less like over-throwing my government. The signing of the Health Care Reform Bill and the floods were all just a coincidence. But I am still waiting for Glenn Beck to draw some parallels on his white board about it.



* These are my views and not the views of the insurance company I represent.