All posts by Banai Lynn Feldstein

Childhood Memory Monday – My Grandparents, Part 2

Week 2 of Sharing Memories is about grandparents. This is the second part, for my maternal grandparents.

Mom’s Parents

Abraham and Ida Rosenthal, October 1977

Bubby and Zaida, as we called them, were Ida nee Halpert and Abraham Rosenthal. The Yiddish terms for grandparents are actually Bubba and Zeide, but I think me or my brother may have mixed them up when we were young, and they stuck that way. They lived in Cape Coral, on the west coast of Florida.

I remember Bubby used to ride in the back seat of the car; I think she said she was more comfortable there. I can remember bits of what was probably the last time I visited them. At least once, I was put on a plane and sent to visit them alone; my brother did that at least once too. On 16 June 1985, they came to visit us and I asked them about their families — it’s written in my diary. It says that they came to visit, but I remember going to their home and asking, so there may have been two different times when I did that.

Banai and Ida Rosenthal, 1981

Bubby gave me a copy of a family tree that my cousin Don Halpert had drawn up years before. She made some corrections and additions, but I’ve done a lot more to it since then.

Zaida had a boat and liked to take us out fishing. I remember the visit when Bubby taught me to play Pinochle (which I’ve completely forgotten) and let me eat as many Oreos as I wanted. I was sick the next day when we were supposed to go fishing, so we went the day after. I remember catching a lady fish, and Zaida cut it up for bait. One of us caught a catfish. A while later, I thought it was finally dead when it stopped thrashing around, but Zaida said it wasn’t and threw it back in the water to prove it to me. I don’t think we brought any fish back for dinner.

Zaida’s Car

In high school, I had a long trip to school; the school had a deal with the county that we use the Metrorail, but we had to be bussed out of the way to get there. So on during phone call, I apparently complained about the long trip, and also the long pubic bus ride back home when I had to go to work after school and always arrived late. Zaida had been in a car accident recently and bought a new car while his old one was being fixed. He offered it to us. He wouldn’t ship the car, insisting we drive over to pick it up. When we arrived, both my brother and I wanted his newer car, while he preferred his older car, but he didn’t want to hassle with the titles, etc. My brother drove the car home and I rode with him. On the drive home, the thermostat froze, overheating the car. On Christmas. On Alligator Alley. It took us a long time to get it home, repeatedly stopping and letting it cool off, while we all climbed into my parents’ car where we kept the engine and the heater running. I ended up sleeping in my parents’ car for the last part of that trip and I completely missed when we finally drove ahead and called for a tow truck to finish the journey. Sadly, I never got to drive that car to school. Ever. It mostly went to my brother, though I got to use it sometimes. My parents bought me a car the last weekend of my senior year, so I got to drive the last three days in that one.


Ida knitted two dolls for me with matching, oversized shawls. I never named them (inanimate objects have to be named immediately or the names don’t “stick”), though I sometimes refer to them as Ida and Mary. The one on the left has two faces — on the back, her eyes are closed.

I also have a jewelry box, given to me in 1973, apparently before we adopted their Yiddish titles, since it’s from “Grandma, grandpa”. It was from Windsor, Ontario, which is where my mother and her brothers grew up.

Missed Funerals

Both of my mother’s parents died in 1997, which was the year I finally moved out of Florida. Abraham is buried in St. Petersburg, Florida and Ida is up in Windsor, Ontario with more of her family. I have visited both of them since.

Childhood Memory Monday – My Grandparents, Part 1

Week 2 of Sharing Memories is about grandparents. This again is one of those times where I desperately wish I had more memories from my childhood. I had three grandparents alive while growing up, but now I only remember slight bits and pieces. Maybe writing it out will help bring back more, so here goes. I’ve written almost everything I can remember, so I’ve broken this up into two entries.

Dad’s Parents

Mary and Lou Goldfarb

My paternal grandparents were Grandma and Grandpa Lou, partly because my “real” grandfather died before I was born and Lou Goldfarb was her last husband. Grandma, Mary Miller, was married four times, or so I was told. I have still only found names for three of them. Grandma and Grandpa Lou lived in Miami Beach. She and Sidney Feldstein had moved there before he died. He was a smoker who developed emphysema and was told to move out of NYC. My father was stationed at Homestead Air Force Base, so everyone ended up in the same place. I don’t know if that was planned.

I really don’t remember much about Lou, except that he was there. I can still picture Grandma in my mind and hear how she speaks. I remember her condo in Miami Beach that we used to visit. I think I recall a Passover Seder there at least once. Weekend morning visits always had Entenmann’s donuts. If there wasn’t a box when we arrived, or we didn’t bring one, Dad would go get one. (I miss those; they don’t sell Entenmann’s in Utah. Someone ship me a box of donuts please.)

I remember the layout of Grandma’s condo, with a closet in the dining room where she kept some games. I inherited the Chinese Checkers after she died. I remember her kitchen and how my Dad re-did the ceiling just like he did our house with the drop-down opaque ceiling grid, except that our house had the yellow and orange motif while Grandma had the yellow and green.

Grandma’s Maiden Name

I remember sitting down with Grandma and asking her about her family tree, carefully writing what she told me. I was about 12 years old, so I didn’t know the right questions to ask. Still, I learned a lot which gave me a good start 14 years later when I got serious about researching. I remember her telling me that her name at birth was not Miller, and that she had no idea how to spell it. Slowly sounding it out for me, I wrote “Mullerzevich”. I mispronounced it for a few years, but when I found the name Mularzewicz, I knew I had it. Looking back, now that I know how to say the name, my phonetic spelling wasn’t too bad.

My Only Funeral

Grandma and Grandpa Lou died within about a week or two of each other, Mary first, then Lou. His kids came to her funeral in Miami and my parents went to his in New York (he is buried with his first wife). Years later, they told me how much they appreciated my parents attending in New York.

I remember going to Grandma’s funeral, which started at a funeral home in Miami Beach and ended up at Mount Sinai Cemetery in Miami. I don’t remember the service, but I do remember being handed the shovel. It is part of the Jewish tradition for each person to shovel some of the dirt over the casket once it’s placed into the ground. My Mom then took me for a short walk to visit my grandfather. They hadn’t thought ahead to buy cemetery plots together, so Mary was buried next to her brother, Alex, and “across the street” from her first husband, Sidney Feldstein.

To this day, it’s the only funeral I’ve ever been to.

Grandma’s Gifts

Grandma once gave me a watch (which sadly I lost long ago) and told me there was a story behind it. She had lost the watch in an ice cream parlor when my Dad was ten, but he went there so often, that the person who found it asked if it was hers. The fact that she lost it once makes me even sadder to know that I lost it and never got it back. How did I lose so much jewelry as a child? Grandma gave me some other jewelry over the years, collected from various trips, usually pins. I still have those at least. She also gave me a doll from somewhere in South America, which I no longer have.

Grandma’s Dishes

Another thing I inherited from Grandma after she died was her dishes. They had been stored in the ceiling that my Dad installed, probably put there by him, so he knew they were there. Not only did I get the Mikasa set, but also some other glasses and plates. They were not my style at all, but I quickly grew to love them. I eventually bought another dish set so I wouldn’t use them so much and risk them (I smashed one bowl to bits). For all I know, they were her wedding set. I haven’t tried to find out how old the design is but I want to. There are some of them with a different font on the back, so it appears that some were replaced over the years — I’m not the only one who has broken some of the dishes.

Anyone have any ideas how I can find out more about these? Easily?

Childhood Memory Monday – New Year’s Eve

Olive Tree Genealogy is hosting 52 weeks of Sharing Memories – A Genealogy Journal. I don’t tend to keep up with the regular columns, or I haven’t in the past, but let’s see how I can do with some of them.

Week 1 is about New Year’s Eve traditions. I don’t have any other than making sure to stay up until midnight and watching fireworks on TV. I’m not even set on watching any particular show — though NYC used to be the show of choice. This year, I watched the local fireworks, partly because I follow Jenny on Twitter who works for the company that runs the best fireworks shows in Utah. She tweeted something about a seven minute show going off inside of 90 seconds. It was pretty cool.

So I’m going to write about a specific NYE, partly because it’s the only one I can remember where I didn’t just stay home. I’m sure there were others that I spent with friends at some point, but I can’t remember them right now.

It must have been my first year in college, so 1990. My parents were good friends with Victor and Eileen Nunberg, and I used to babysit their three kids for years. They were old enough by that year to watch each other, but my only option at the time was to hang out with them. And I was miserable. It wasn’t a good few years for me around the end of high school and beginning of college.

I didn’t have a cell phone, so I must have gotten a message on my beeper from my friend, Paul Auerbach. His parents were having a party. He was acting as videographer but he invited his friends to stop by. Many of them did just as they were told, but I stayed the whole night with nowhere better to go. I didn’t know anyone else there, and I’m sure I wasn’t at all social, but Paul would stop to talk to me, or his other visiting friends would too. Somehow I remember that night like it was one of the lowest points of my depression, but that invitation felt like it saved my life; it certainly saved the night.

Paul was always a happy memory for me from the first night I met him at Marcy Babischkin’s house. I first met Marcy in Driver’s Ed class at NMB Sr High. When I went back to find her again after I started college, I learned that her house was at the geographic center of her friends, so they would all gather there and go out together. I joined them many times.

The first night I met Paul, we got along terribly well. I can’t remember all the details, but we ended up sharing the brown chair. Does anyone remember those chairs on the infomercials where they were made to fit a specific person? Marcy’s father had one. Paul and I sat in it together. I think one of us got up for a drink or something and the other had taken their place, but it was not surrendered peacefully. Again, no memory how it happened, but somehow, instead of each of us crossing our legs, we ended up crossing all four together, and then we stacked up our hands on top of that, also alternating.  Anyone else who stopped by that night thought we were old friends, or maybe more, but we had just met and sometimes you just get along with a person from the first moment.

And so that’s my NYE memory, with two back-stories to explain it. A depressing night during a depressing year, saved by a friend. Thanks Paul.

Food Friday – Latkes

This was the first year I had ever tried to make latkes. I found a couple recipes in my possession. I think the first one I made was found online. The second was Mom’s recipe, which I’ve included below.

For the uninitiated, latkes is potato pancakes, a traditional Hanukkah food.

In true Jewish cooking style, I didn’t measure the majority of my ingredients. One video online said 5 parts potato to 2 parts onion. The recipe said 2 cups of grated potato and 2 tablespoons of grated onion. How much is 2 cups grated? I have no idea. I chopped an onion in half and peeled three potatoes, though one was giant sized. (Peeling was not mentioned in the recipe, but they were peeled in the video, so I added that part.) I then grated about one quarter of the onion and the potatoes. I added the rest of the ingredients and mixed it with my hands.

Pouring a probably inadequate amount of oil into the largest pan I had, I heated it, slopped in some pancake batter, and cooked them. The oil wasn’t hot enough to begin with, since the first ones took far too long. But I turned up the heat and finished off the pile of grated mush, placing them on paper towels to soak up some of the oil before eating.

They looked and tasted great. I think the middles were a little less cooked than they probably should have been. I think the oil needed to be hotter. Even when I was tweeting about it and went back to find them a bit overcooked, they still weren’t cooked through quite enough.

There was just one hitch. I didn’t have applesauce. By the time I bought some, I had finished the latkes. So I had to make another batch, at which time I found my Mom’s recipe. (I thought the first one was hers, but apparently not.)

I used an ultra-condensed version of what she sent to me while I was cooking, but I’ve included the full recipe in this posting. The one alteration I made: instead of grating the potatoes first and putting them separate, I grated the onions first. (And I flipped the 1/2 and 1/4 measurements when I transcribed it, but it still worked.)

For the second batch, I used most of the remaining 1/2 of onion, I did not peel the potatoes, I used more oil in the pan, and made the oil hotter, which made it splatter. However, they cooked more thoroughly through the middles. I had no matzo meal, so I used bread crumbs instead. And this time I ate them with applesauce. Yum.

Potato Latkes

2-3 potatoes, grated (about 2 cups)
1/2 inch thick slice grated (sweet) onion
2 eggs
1/4 cup matzo meal
pinch of salt

1. Grate potatoes and place in a 4 cup measuring cup.
2. Grate the onion, add to measuring bowl.
3. Mix all ingredients together.
4. In a frying pan, heat up oil to almost cover the bottom.
5. Place heaping tablespoons of the mixture and flatten them down a bit.
6. When the edges are golden brown, carefully turn them over using a fork and spatula.
7. Remove to a plate with paper towel to absorb oil.
8. Makes about 14 latkes.
9. Serve with applesauce.

Genealogists Work Alone… Or Do We?

Most of my time doing genealogy research is spent alone at the Family History Library with my headphones on. I’m usually working for a client and don’t want to be disturbed, even though people still talk to me when I can’t hear them. You can often find me at a microfilm reader or scanner lip syncing to the music, tapping my feet, and sometimes even mildly dancing/swaying to the music. I’ve always been good at working alone.

Sometimes genealogists work in groups, and that works too. I am part of an indexing project, and often societies and SIGs will work together in the same way to index local records or cemeteries.

Rarely, genealogists work in pairs. (Well, it’s rare for me.) This past week, I had the opportunity to work with two different genealogists.

One of those people, I have worked with before. I have worked a number of jobs for him as his FHL look-up person. I arrived early in the morning and a bit sleep deprived. We discussed several clients, work he’s asked me to do and some he’s going to ask, then we went to the FHL. I did some look-ups in books and on CDs, later on films, but he mostly worked on the computer. For a while, we sat at neighboring computers, doing look-ups and talking. It gave me someone to talk to whereas I usually end up talking to the employees and volunteers, or myself.

The other one was a bit different; our personalities are a bit more compatible. I had just arrived at the FHL in a good mood after a party, which probably influenced the evening. I started by joking with him about working on the US floor when the International floor is more interesting. He told me about the family he was researching and how he wasn’t even “sure the man could see his own reflection in a mirror”. I suggested ways to search the census, most of which he’d tried, and we both tried searching some more. When he went for city directories, he pulled six films and we set up at neighboring film readers, each going through half of the stack, talking to each other, looking over our shoulders at the negative results we were both getting. I got none of my own work done, but it was a lot of fun to help with his.

I enjoyed working with both of them, though there was a lot more joking and “socializing” with the second example. With both of us trying various searches online and then sharing the film look-ups, things seemed to go faster and be more interesting.

Would I like to work with these two colleagues again? Absolutely! I enjoyed working with both. Would I want to do that all the time? Probably not likely. I still like to work alone.

UJGS October Meeting

Gary Mokotoff was the featured speaker for the Utah Jewish Genealogical Society’s October meeting. Having spoken to our group last year, Gary drew a few extra people into the audience because they had heard such good things about his last visit. He presented The Paternal Genealogy of Bernie Madoff. While the title evokes a few chuckles, the content is serious. Gary used Bernie Madoff as an example of a fairly typical Jewish genealogy research project.

From the comfort of his own home (or wherever he was at the time), Gary researched the lineage of Bernie Madoff all from his computer.

Five Web Sites

Gary used five web sites to complete several generations of Madoff’s genealogy: Wikipedia, Ancestry, Steve Morse, JewishGen, and JRI-Poland.

Because most genealogy projects begin with some basic knowledge, usually a person and their parents at the least, Gary began on Wikipedia, which conveniently (and often for many entries) listed the parents of Bernie and his birth year.

From there, Gary proceeded to Ancestry to find the 1930 US census for Bernie’s father, continuing to the 1920 and 1910 censuses tracing the family back in time.

Using Steve Morse’s site, he searched for the ship list of the first immigrant in the family. Having some trouble, he returned to Ancestry where he found the naturalization documents.

With more information, he was able to return to Morse’s site and find the ship list, now knowing the original name of the family and more information about the immigration.

Searching JRI-Poland, he found over 1000 entries for the surname. Back to the other documents and a visit to JewishGen’s Shtetlseeker, he located the name of the town he needed and only had to check a few of the JRI-Poland entries to find more information.

Good To Have Friends

The final part of his research was the networking section. Having published a story in Avotaynu about this research, he received an email from a colleague stating that the Kiecle-Radom SIG had indexed even more records, along with the information that was found in that project.

In the end, Gary presented the ancestry of Bernie Madoff going back to the late 1700s, which is about as far as the average Jewish Polish genealogy can go.

I thought that this was another great presentation by Gary Mokotoff. He got stuck on a couple of slides, not sure why he repeated an image, but that was minor; he probably hadn’t reviewed the presentation terribly recently.

Pet Peeves

My only concern about this presentation was for any beginners who may hear it. I still remember the and Ancestry commercials where someone types in their name and their entire genealogy pops up. “Oh look, we’re related to the Wright brothers!” Anyone remember those? It makes people think that doing their own genealogy is that easy — that there is no research that they have to do. In honesty, if you go to a site like that, type in your name, and your genealogy pops up, someone else did all the research. Unfortunately, some people believe those commercials and must be told not to.

Even with the presentation entirely about his journey into researching this family, if it had been my presentation, I would have added other information. Certainly a lot of information is online, with more every day, but still, not everything is online and research must be done elsewhere to complete the genealogy. Even so, there are many web sites beyond the five that he used that may hold information someone is looking for.

Also, Gary did not obtain any vital records for the family. Not one birth, marriage, or death record, which is crucial information to genealogy research and to verify that he was researching the right people. It all seemed to fit, but sometimes you find records that are similar yet not the right family. And where he checked the JRI-Poland indexes of vital records, he relied on the index and did not check the records themselves. Beginners need to be taught that while indexes are convenient, they are not to be entirely trusted and the original record must be consulted.


Even though I have concerns about the bits that were skipped over, the presentation was a fantastic example of how much information can already be found online and how one can research a family tree without having anyone to interview for information. It won’t work for every family, but it’s a good starting place for someone who is just starting their research.

Memory Monday – 9/11/2001

September 11th has just passed. Everyone already wrote on their blogs about that day. It’s my turn.

1985 - 01 - NYCI was living in Nashville, Tennessee, about to head south to visit my cousin Ed in Arlington, Texas. I was between apartments and checking out of a hotel that morning. I didn’t turn on the TV. I checked out and everything seemed normal. I guess the desk clerk didn’t have a clue either.

I Had No Idea

I got into my car to drive across to the other side of Nashville to check my mailbox and the radio DJs were going nuts. It was chaotic how they were talking about planes and bombs, the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. It didn’t make any sense. Apparently the entire country was under attack and things were blowing up everywhere.

Thankfully, at some point during my drive, they deliberately stopped and decided to explain from the beginning what had happened. It was already about 11am or noon, so everything was already over, not that anyone was sure about that at the time. I drove and I listened, shocked.

Pictures Tell a Thousand Words

I don’t think I stopped for my mail but instead drove a bit farther, knowing there was an electronics store not far up the road from the post office. I went inside and walked over to the TV section where a few other people were also standing around and watching. They were playing several videos of the Towers and the Pentagon, showing the people in the streets. I’m not sure they knew what had happened in Pennsylvania yet, or they didn’t know much.

Hearing it on the radio and seeing the video were very different experiences. It’s too difficult to even try to describe it. I just stood there, for possibly an hour, watching in shock.

Stayed with Friends

I wasn’t feeling up to beginning the long drive to Texas, so I called a friend, April, and drove back to her house on the other side of Nashville. She had been sent home from work and we watched as more information unfolded on the TV. Her husband, Chip, is a civil engineer. While they were trying to figure out why the Towers collapsed on TV, he was able to tell us. Eventually, their explanations matched his from earlier in the day.

April was supposed to be in New York that day. She had a work trip planned and was going to stay in the hotel between the Towers, but the trip got cancelled. She was lucky. We had met more than a year earlier while both working at Deloitte & Touche. The D&T office in New York was in Tower 7 and she knew people who worked there. I have a cousin of a cousin who lived in New York and worked for the company but I didn’t know if he worked in that office or somewhere else. We knew they were all fine, as long as they were in their own building. I can’t remember if I tried to contact anyone online that day, avoiding the phones knowing that they were jammed in New York, but I found out soon enough. In the end, I think April told me that one person who worked at D&T was in one of the Towers and didn’t get out.

My Cousin, the Pilot

I spent the night with those friends and headed down to Texas the next day. Ed is a pilot for Delta, so I knew he was all right just because that airline wasn’t involved. He wasn’t even flying that day, thankfully, but was in recurrent training in Atlanta. I offered to pick him up on my way, but he thought that planes would be flying by Friday, when I was due to arrive at his house, and he was right.

Older Memories

Before I left Nashville, I went by my storage unit in search of some photographs; I just wanted to have the memories near. When I was 12, our family went through New York on the way to a long trip through Israel and England. I remember going to the top of the Tower and looking down at the city. I even remember that my father bought me an adult ticket even though I was still young enough for a kid’s ticket, which was odd because he would usually do the opposite. I had a couple pictures of the Towers and I wanted to have them with me. In 1999, I was in New York for genealogy research and looking up relatives, but I didn’t get any new “tourist” pictures. Returning in the first half of 2001, I went out to Ellis Island with my cousin Malky and took a few more pictures of the New York skyline. Both pictures on this blog entry are from the 1985 trip.

Me and Stephen on the ferry, 1985
Me and my brother Stephen on the ferry, 1985

What did Obama like about IHC?

This blog post has been sitting around for a little while, but seeing as how I just got another bill, I’m angry again and the post goes public.

Where I Stand

I’m self-employed and I don’t have health insurance. Anyone out there with me? Basically, it means you’re SOL if you need a doctor and aren’t stupid enough to go to the emergency room for something that doesn’t require the ER, like I hear so many people do. So here’s where I stand during the last year or so.

Primary Care Network

Apparently, I’m poor enough to qualify for assistance. PCN opened enrollment and I was accepted. PCN is a state-run, sub-standard version of Medicaid. Every time I tried to find out about Medicaid, the results came up with only PCN, UPP, and CHIP, with only the first showing any chance for my qualification. If there’s any kind of Medicaid in Utah not in one of these programs, they don’t want you to know about it.

The first thing I learned about PCN is that they have no concept of linear time. I applied March 24th. On May 2nd, I received a letter dated May 4th saying that I was approved beginning on March 24th. In other words, I got a letter from the future telling me that I had coverage in the past.

The second thing I discovered was that with PCN I could go to three clinics in the Salt Lake Valley and they all had about two month waiting lists for appointments. By chance, I found one that had a walk-in clinic during certain hours, so I went there for two walk-ins to try to cure myself of a couple minor things I’ve dealt with for years, while making an appointment two months out for my new patient check-up. The doctor they sent me to humored me, but everything I told her, she basically ignored or said I needed a specialist. (On PCN, right? There are no specialists. I already stated: sub-standard coverage.) So she humored me with prescriptions twice, but neither cured me of anything.

My third visit was my new patient check-up. I expected, I don’t know, a check-up of some kind? She checked my pulse, blood pressure, asked me what else was wrong with me, and sent me to the nurse to draw blood. A week later, I had to pay for another appointment (co-pay was low, but still not worth it at this place) to get the results. I told her to test me for everything and she ran just the basic blood tests and one extra test. Apparently my health is absolutely “perfect” except  that my bad cholesterol is bad (but my good is good).

So after four visits, I wasn’t cured of any of the problems I told her about and still hadn’t had an actual medical check-up probably since I was about eight. One specialist worked at that clinic and I made an appointment for four months out. They soon called to push it out another month and after  another month or so, cancelled it entirely. Nice.

India Is Better

For the bigger, long-term issue I had, the anti-biotics she prescribed almost cured me, so I ordered more from India and cured myself with a course and a half of them. It’s so much easier to cure myself that way than try to go to a doctor. The trick is just knowing which drugs I need.

Before PCN Expired

Almost a year later, I had another problem come back. This is something I had mentioned in previous visits and if she was a good doctor, she would probably have dealt with it. (Then again, maybe PCN just didn’t pay her enough to bother.) Possibly the one time she listened to me was when I assumed that this problem was related to or caused by the other one. So I had to go back to the clinic. I went to another doctor, who seemed friendlier and also seemed to listen to me. He prescribed something and insisted on no refills of anti-biotics no matter what even before I had left.

Guess what? I wasn’t cured. The pharmacy that day was so busy that my 15 minute wait was closer to an hour and they gave me twice what they were supposed to. So I took a course and a half because that’s what it took to cure me of the last problem. I thought it worked, but a week later, it came back and I took two more pills, which lasted a week, then I took two more pills, and a week later I took two more. Then I was out of pills. It came back again the next week. Unlike the other problem which was annoying, this one involved pain. I should have planned ahead because it takes a month to order from India.

Enter Intermountain Health Care

This is when I went to Intermountain Health Care. I know Obama said good things about them during the healthcare reform debates and speeches, though I didn’t hear that part myself. There’s an IHC Insta-care clinic two miles from my house and they were open late.

I printed out the forms on the web site, filled them out, and brought them in so I wouldn’t have to do that. The receptionist had never seen the forms before and gave me more to fill out. Then she asked a lot of questions to type into the computer of which the answers were already filled out on the forms. She told me it would cost $131 or $75 if I applied for financial aid. I took the aid forms and wrote a check for $75. All paid for now, right?

There was no wait; no one else was there. The doctor checked my temperature and blood pressure. Then he listened to my heart, lungs, and a couple other things. So, for this quick visit, I just had more of a check-up than the clinic where I waited two months for such a thing. They were off to a good start. He prescribed two pills, one was for pain (didn’t get that at the other clinic either).

I went over to the pharmacy in the building. They told me that both drugs were on the $4 list. But Walmart’s pharmacy was closed, so they suggested Walgreens. Guess what? Walgreens doesn’t have the $4 drug list and wanted twice what the IHC clinic wanted.

I don’t think the pain killer drug worked, but the side effect was kind of interesting. The anti-biotics took their time but eventually cured me. It’s been well over a month and the problem hasn’t come back, so I consider that a good sign. I brought back the financial aid paperwork and the receptionist said I’d get a letter, suggesting they would tell me what kind of coverage they would offer or how much I would have to pay for future IHC visits.

IHC Was Mostly Good Right Up Until Here

Eventually, I got a letter saying that they were waving the remaining $65 fee. That was it. No other indication of what a future visit might cost me. And I had been considering going back there.

Two weeks after the fact, and twice more, I received another bill from them. Apparently the receptionist at the clinic has no idea that other departments at IHC bill anything and they wanted another $75 for lab work. Oh really? I was told it would cost me $75 for the visit. Do they really think I’m going to pay for something when I was given no indication there would even be a bill for it?

Really, when I go to the store to buy something, it has a price, I pay it, and I own it. When I take my car to a mechanic, he tells me how much it will cost, fixes my car, and I pay for it. If I hire someone to do work around my house, he tells me either the fixed rate or hourly rate and I pay him either half up front and half when it’s done or when it’s all done. None of these businesses or people has the right to randomly send me a bill two weeks later and demand that I pay for something that was never previously mentioned or even hinted would cost me. Why does IHC think they have the right to bill me without advance notice that there would even be a separate bill? I told the receptionist exactly what I was there for. If they were going to bill me separate lab fees, she should have not only known that they would bill me for it, but she should have known how much it would cost and told me.

So why did Obama think IHC was so great? Because it’s a network of hospitals and clinics that take health insurance? What’s so great about that? Doesn’t every city have that? They still try to rip off their customers without insurance just like everyone else. Except they do it in deceptive ways. Only the health care industry thinks they can get away with this kind of thing.

And some people wonder why so many people hate the health care industry in this country.

JGSLA 2010 – Day 6 Recap

Friday is always a short day at the conference, with everything ending at 12:30, but it was even shorter for me. There were two sessions I was interested in but missed both while waiting for breakfast. Then I went to the one place I found where my cell phone works well, called a certain mechanic in Salt Lake City about my car, signed up for AAA online to cash in on the towing when I get back to Utah.

No, that has nothing to do with the conference, but that’s what I did.

I then sat it on Seth Front’s The Jewish Zodiac: A Culinary History of Jews in America. I had already spoken to him in the vendor room when he noticed I was the JGS President and from Salt Lake City. After his talk, I told him that my JGS members might not appreciate his talk as much as the synagogue audience probably would.

And that was the end of the conference. I headed out to Junior’s to meet my cousin, Howard Miller, then returned to the hotel where I’m writing to my blog. Tomorrow after check-out, I’ll go to Hidden Hills to meet Ron and Monica Wolfe and any of their kids who might be around; I’m not sure if there are any right now.

JGSLA 2010 – Day 5 Recap

The day started with another IAJGS Management Session on Affordable Creative Programming led by Jan Meisels Allen. She mostly mentioned things I have already tried or thought about, but I came away with a few new ideas.

I ended up at a restaurant in the lobby for lunch with Judi and two people she knew from Arizona, only to rush to the next session and still show up late. Hal Bookbinder presented Why Did Our Ancestors Leave a Nice Place Like the Pale? I was tired and couldn’t concentrate on his session, though it sounded very interesting. I’ll have to listen again to the recording.

I was signed up to meet with someone from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and headed to the Resource Room. I was told they were searching the ITS records, but apparently they weren’t or the person I spoke to didn’t think of it. It seems unlikely that she’d skip over a source like that. She mentioned a couple things I didn’t know but didn’t help me with any new information for now.

Having first procrastinated then later forgetting to purchase a ticket, I didn’t go to the banquet. Mark Heckman took me to Pink’s in Hollywood, as an earlier email from him said, “I’ll have to take you”. We arrived back in time to see another added showing of Who Cares Who Do You Think You Are? which Mark had missed during the opening session.