Neighbor to Neighbor: New year marks end of business for some

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Every time a new year enters our lives, we hope and pray for the best, not only for ourselves, but for everyone. World peace and understanding, the solution of health issues, including those of hunger, and stability in the lives of family, friends and community are all on our wish list.

As 2002 drifted into the shadows, we almost felt we should have held our breath as one might when crossing an abyss on a tightrope. The world around us seems to be spinning out of control sometimes and that makes us wonder about the future.

We try hard to remember that many times in the past there were predictions of dire happenings that never came to pass, such as the approach of Y2K that had many people anticipating the worst. My attitude then and now is that I will try to do my best about things that I may be able to help and leave the other stuff to those wiser or stronger.

Our communities seem to be in a state of flux. Many one-family homes have been turned into multiple-family dwellings, illegally, of course, but those who could have controlled that situation in the beginning chose to ignore it and the consequences. Instead, they smile and wish us a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Our business districts also have had drastic changes, some of which have been heartbreaking for me and others who, as volunteers and customers, have been fortunate to get to know the business people as friends, almost as family, only to see them forced to move on.

William Hood, my veterinarian, was the first one in 2002 to tell me he was being forced to close. The letter he received was clear and hurt me more than it did him, I suspect. It said he should be out by Dec. 31, 2002, and leave the premises clean.

He has tried to comfort me by saying it is time that he should retire, and I certainly don’t begrudge him that, but somehow, I think if that edict had not come as early as it did he would have preferred to continue practicing at least a little longer. He has been a good friend to many animals and to many of their owners, especially me.

He has helped with animal rescue work, has been understanding and consoling when I dissolved in tears or came close to fainting as we had to deal with the end of life of some sweet, furry little friend and has not ever tried to “line his pockets with gold” at the expense of any pet’s family, as some others do. We hope he and his good wife will be healthy and happy and will keep in touch and know we appreciate such good neighbors.

Another very sad departure was that of Jung Hee Kim and her family. The week before Christmas, Kim told me she also had received one of those “vacate by Dec. 31” letters. I didn’t want to believe that sad news any more than she and her husband did.

I can’t help wondering how many people in this community realize what a good neighbor she has been and how much she will be missed, even though her friend and mine, Mr. Lee, is moving there from his store on 227th Street. Kim has not had an easy time in this community. Some unruly youths have committed criminal acts against her and her property.

Kim has immediately addressed these situations with the parents of these young people in an attempt to correct the situation and prevent their young from getting into worse trouble. She has, unfortunately, had to prosecute some of them when all else failed. We are lucky she was willing to take such measures, as that is the way a responsible citizen tries to protect a community from deterioration.

Aside from all that, she is a sweet, caring, talented woman. She speaks at least four languages and has a grasp of things that will cure “what ails you.” She has a quick wit, a good business head and is compassionate to the nth degree. As with Dr. and Mrs. Hood, I hope Mr. and Mrs. Kim will have a better life where they are going.

I hope, too, that they will remember some of us and let us hear from them some time. We hate to see them leave. There are those who say, “Change is good. It means progress.” Our communities are certainly changing and have been doing so for some years. We shall just have to wait and see and hope for the best. May we all say at the end of 2003, “What a great year that was.” Have a happy!

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