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Neighbor to Neighbor: Laurelton med center passes personal muster

It made me think back to earlier days in Laurelton, when my dad worked very hard on a civic organization formed north of Merrick Boulevard for the specific purpose of having sewers replace cesspools in Laurelton. Our part of Laurelton was newly developed and was apparently opposed by civic leaders south of Merrick Boulevard because they refused membership to "northerners" into their already established organization.Dad, and a number of other neighbors, including J. Vincent O'Connor, Ed Kilduff, a Mr. Campbell, (whose first name has been lost to memory, along with others) formed the executive board. My dad was secretary and turned out volumes of mail.Unfortunately, one night Dad ran out of civic association stamps. The post office was closed, so he decided to use some stamps in our desk. He pulled a whole new sheet from a large brown envelope, and used every one of those stamps, leaving only the corner numbers. He failed to see Mother's note, "DO NOT USE THESE STAMPS!" After she bought them, she thought they didn't look right. The picture of the plane was upside down. Possibly, they were the famous U.S. postage stamps of 1918 called the "Inverted Jenny." According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the image of the Curtiss JN-4 airplane in the center of the design was accidentally printed upside-down.Mother had mentioned that she thought the stamps might increase in value due to the printing error, but in the civic emergency, Dad had either forgotten or weighed the potential value against community importance, and made his choice.One Sunday afternoon, Mother was reading the philatelic column in the newspaper. She jumped up suddenly, yelling, "I knew it! I knew it! Those stamps are valuable!" It was only then that she discovered what had happened because the identifying corner numbers were still there. There were questions, to be sure, and then not much conversation for some considerable time. Luckily, love conquered all, and after all, the stamps had already disappeared so nothing could be done about it. For a long time she kept the corner numbers and the newspaper clipping about those stamps in that big brown envelope in the desk, but eventually that entire package disappeared, as painful memories sometimes do.I recall this incident now because during the recent election, someone mailed an absentee ballot to the Broward County Fla., elections board with a stamp that appeared to be one of the "Inverted Jennys." Once the authenticity was checked, it was decided the stamp was a possibly a reproduction because the perforations did not match the originals. The American Philatelic Society said that had it been authentic, that one stamp's value would have been $300,000 today.Laurelton has also "Come a long way, baby!" since those early years. One of its fairly new additions, the Laurelton Medical Center, has been a very valuable asset. Owned by Dr. Samuel Akuoka, who has an excellent reputation, the building also houses Bowrey's Pharmacy and now, a new banquet hall.With the arrival of the new year, I decided it was time for me to stop putting off a good check-up. I had an injury to my right leg and, although I thought it was just a little slow in healing, it seemed a good idea to have it checked out, along with the physical."Let's see the leg first," Dr. Akuoka said. After inspection, he surprised me by saying, "No physical today. I'm arranging for you to go to the hospital. You have an infection that could travel very fast." A friend, Charlotte Jefferson, insisted on driving me to Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream, for which I am grateful.After many days and nights of intravenous treatments, and a lot of other check-ups, I am out and good as new. I am grateful I can spread praise for Dr. Akuoka and staff, along with Dr. Asare, Dr. Hernandez, Ian Bowrey, and the staff at Franklin Hospital. In fact, I am particularly pleased to let you know that, although there had been complaints about Franklin Hospital some time ago, (and I was one who made some), there seems now to have been a very positive turn-around as far as my experience there is concerned. If I hadn't left a lot of urgent matters unresolved while I was there, I might even have enjoyed the rest and having food prepared and served nicely in bed for me, instead of complaining, "Please, can't I go home?"It was far from being a bad experience, and I found how very helpful people can be. Fred Kress took me home that first night to settle some very vital matters, then took me back the next morning, he and Grandma Kress visited that night, and Jim English delivered me back home in good condition. Thank you all!

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