Welcome! My main blog is Rebecca Tushnet’s 43(b)log. Here’s where I’ll post my writings, my exams, and other things, such as my grandfather Leonard Tushnet’s writings as I scan them.
Dear Ms. Rebecca Tushnet,
My name is Robert (Bob) Podesfinski, and I was one of your grandfather’s numerous patients when he had his office in Irvington NJ and your grandfather continued to see me at his Maplewood NJ home after he retired, a very small group including my grandmother, Eugenia Rawa. Your grandfather inspired me all my life as the model of a professional person, and I have held him in high esteem all my life. My mother’s youngest sister, my aunt, the late Jean Siswo, named her youngest child after your grandfather.
Your grandfather was the Eastern version of “Doctor Quinn Medicine Woman” because he allowed my mother to pay a lesser fee for my frequent visits (I had childhood epilepsy) and she and her sisters and brother gave Polish Christmas baked goods. I recall that he asked my mother (the late Tessie C. Podesfinski who spoke Polish) to translate a letter for “To Die With Honor” and she did and he kidded her that she also translated Yiddish too. His book came out when I was young but I have read it by borrowing it from Clackamas County Library to Multnomah County Library in the 1980s.
I graduated Sacred Heart of Jesus parochial school, Irvington; Seton Hall Prep School and Seton Hall University, South Orange NJ, the last in 1970 with a BA in Mass Communications, Journalism.
After he prescriibed Dialantin when I was 20 years old, my seizures stopped, and I was able to apply for a drivers license with constant reporting.
I was a reporter for the daily Passaic Clifton Herald News from 1970 to 1977, and after being layed off with six other reporters became the main reporter for the Irvington NJ Herald, a weekly.
Your grandfather showed how a professional acted by example. He hired a black nurse, a wonderful person, and he had numerous black persons come to his office. It was usual to see a line of patients waiting that flowed out of his office and he brought in other doctors with him.
As a child, I did not know how unusual this was.
When I worked for the Maplewood Country Club one summer cleaning the locker room and toilets, I mentioned that to your grandfather during one doctor visit, and he told me that the club had refused his granddaughter to swim at the club’s swimming pool because she was Jewish. (That might have been you.) I was stunned. I felt ashamed for being employed by them. I later saw a Star Ledger news article confirming the club was cited for such behavior.
In addition to your grandfather who summarized his other books to me as a kid, I grew up nextdoor to a conservative Jewish family who had three daughters at 680 18th Avenue, a block from your granddad’s office. Though he was short in height, he was a giant in stature in my book and I tried to live my life as your grandfather would have enjoyed. This may sound corny. But it is true. I just got a computer last year, and looking up your grandfather’s name was yours. God Bless.
5424 South East Schiller Street Apt 4
Portland OR 97206
Mr. Podesfinski: thanks so much for your lovely remembrances of my grandfather, who died when I was an infant. I have passed them on to my father and my aunts, and I am saving them for my son Leonard, named in his honor.
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