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Yale 62

On Turning 83

By Lee V. Bakunin

Thank you for your wishes, emails, cards and other forms of encouragement on my 83rd birthday.

83 is an opportunity to be thankful for every person I’ve met and the experiences of being above ground. A stopping point on another that will occur on May 16, 2023.

30,000 days since I emerged on April 6, 1940 at 4:11 am. Before most of you were born.

Born to the first-born American son of Russian immigrants who went to Yale, became an M.D. and as an OBY-GYN would deliver many a newborn into the world. My Mom, daughter of successful first -generation American parents enabling her to travel on cruise ships and trains to many places in the world before she was 21 and devote her life to serving and caring for others in many capacities.

Didn’t know it then, but I’d won the lottery which was a gift and a hope to pass on to others.

My generation was the silent generation, way different from 2023 and yet, perhaps some similarities.

1940 – WWII early stages and displacement of many lives, immigration, political turmoil.

2023 – Global conflicts, political turmoil, pandemics and weather related challenges, immigration.

Despite these similarities, my growing up was different from younger generations.

A tablet was something you took for nutrition in the morning with your orange juice; clouds were formations in the sky with various names, such as cumulus nimbus; tweets were the sound of birds feeding at your birdhouse and twitter was something you felt after meeting a person you wanted to date. Online services meant the postman ringing your door bell or the milkman knocking on your door.

Garbage was the stuff in cans your mom had you put on the curb for pickup on Wednesday morning. If you wanted a platform, you could go to a shoe store or find a soapbox.

Communication was live in real-time and in person, by written pen and ink, letter or family telephone.

Did we have Artificial Intelligence then?

Yes! The “Answer Man,” Encyclopedia Britannica, Walter Winchell or Barry Gray on the radio; comic books; the local librarian; Ouija Board or a know-it-all friend who was often more wrong than right. Plus daydreams.

However, I somehow learned to rely on my own instincts and knowledge. Did my own looking and research, even it meant rejection or failure. You can’t win if you don’t play. To get in the game, you can’t sit on the sidelines. If it was artificial, it could also be superficial, so it was up to me to do the initial work.

It’s the Intelligence of myself to rely on and not someone else’s opinion or shortcut of how the world should work.

What I learned in those 83 years or 30,000 days can be condensed poetically with a stylistic assist from Dr. Seuss.

WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT LIFE FROM DR. SEUSS

You go through some ups
You go through some downs
Valleys and mountains
Villages and quaint towns

Some places you’ll like
Some others so not
But you’ll keep on going
And untying the knots

Sampling wares and goods
Learning do’s and don’ts
Keeping shoulds, woulds and coulds
In sync with your won’ts

At times you’ll feel great
At others a bit gloomy
Bursting pride in your seems
Removing can’ts from your bloomies

When it becomes dark
In an unfriendly park
Keep your light going
Sparkle your spark

It ain’t no fun
In some bumpity woods
But you’re no quitter
There’s brains under your hood

Flipping and flopping,
When your ship’s topsy-turvy
You’ll ride out those waves
A most worthy worthy

Success you’ll have
After blips and dips
Removing obstacles and sink holes,
Drip by drop by drip.

You’ve made it – hurray!
After all the yesterdays
Never did you shirk
Your tomorrows for today

Give yourself a pat
On the back and clap
Sing with gusto
Take a victory lap

Let your feet do a jig
And twirl as you tap
Head high, arms forward
No looking behind the back

Don’t rest on your laurels
Tomorrow’s another day.
You’ve got challenges to face
And dragons to slay

Dust off your shoes
Straighten those pants
There’s more to be done
Making do its from cant’s

Onward and on
Through ebbs and flows
Life has a way
Of turning “Yes’s” from “No’s”

Inspiration comes, my friend
From preparation and perspiration
Turning molehills and dumps
Into prosperous stations

From queasy and cheesy
To fleezy and wheezy
You’ll turn gruff and rough
Into caring and easy

There’s no Fat City
Easy streets paved with gold
If someone says otherwise
They’re full of Farmer Brown’s wagon load.

You make your own way
If you pay the price
Lots of do its and getting to its
Separating naughty from nice

What more can I tell you
Or bring from above
Just remember these words
And do it with LOVE.

Lee V. Bakunin, copyright

 
We invite your comments, rhyming or not, below.

4 comments to On Turning 83

  • charles merlis

    Lee, are we relatives? My father was first generation born in New Haven (1907). His parents came from Belarus after 1905. My grandfather came from Koedenov, between Minsk and Pinsk. Didn’t you grow up in New Haven? What is happening on May 16, 2023?

    • Lee V Bakunin

      In my book we are lantzman, as we have a lot of similarities. My paternal grandparents came from a shtetl called Kritchov, about 90 miles from Moscow. Fled from the Czar in 1905 aboard a ship called the Archangel to Ellis Island and lower East Side New York. My Dad Maurice was first generation born in NYC in 1907. Class of 28s, which is same class as your dad. My dad was President of his fraternity at Yale, perhaps your dad was a member. ’28, ’28s held a dinner at Yale for legacy members, so perhaps you were there. the late Al Gilman ’62 was there with his Dad who was a professor at the Medical School.
      Our dads were both physicians, mine in OBY/Gyn and yours in Urology. Both were duffers enjoying golf, though my dad was far from being A or B Flight. One tournament, they created a Flight D which consisted of my Dad and one other gentleman.
      Have the ’28, ’28s 55th reunion Class Directory. Be happy to share additional stories.
      Best regards, Lee

  • I like it, its great,
    joyful and kind,
    grand children will love it,
    and you even more!

    Peter CT

  • Lee V Bakunin

    In my book, Charles, we are lantzman, as we have a lot of similarities. My paternal grandparents came from a shtetl called Kritchov, about 90 miles from Moscow. Fled from the Czar in 1905 aboard a ship called the Archangel to Ellis Island and lower East Side New York. My Dad Maurice was first generation born in NYC in 1907. Class of 28s, which is same class as your dad. My dad was President of his fraternity at Yale, perhaps your dad was a member. ’28, ’28s held a dinner at Yale for legacy members, so perhaps you were there. the late Al Gilman ’62 was there with his Dad who was a professor at the Medical School.
    Our dads were both physicians, mine in OBY/Gyn and yours in Urology. Both were duffers enjoying golf, though my dad was far from being A or B Flight. One tournament, they created a Flight D which consisted of my Dad and one other gentleman.
    Have the ’28, ’28s 55th reunion Class Directory. Be happy to share additional stories.
    Best regards, Lee

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