If you’re expecting the helpful dental facts or advice usually found in this space, I’m afraid you might be disappointed this week. As I conclude 43 years practicing in my office here in the village, I want to share some of my reminiscences with you. The names might not be familiar to many of you but I think you will appreciate the spirit.
My young family and I moved to Altamont in 1978 while I was practicing in Breakabeen in Schoharie county. When that position ended, we decided that Altamont would be an ideal place to open an office. My wife, Anne, found the building and we began the process of establishing the office, opening on December 26th, 1979. Sounds crazy, opening the day after Christmas, but the loans and obligations were quite pressing. At our open house we met the 2 physicians in the village, Dr. Benjamin and Dr. Grover. Hap Grover became a good friend and colleague as well as our family doctor.
I went down the block and introduced myself to the local pharmacist, Gil DeLucia. I told him the types of dental products I would be recommending for my patients and he listened attentively. Years later, we joked about the early days and he shared with me that pharmacists kid about being buried with all the toothbrushes that dentists say they will recommend but never get sold. This past Halloween we had a setup in Orsini Park, across from the old pharmacy building, and gave away over 500 toothbrushes to trick-or-treaters. Looking across the street, in my mind, I could see Gil and Ann DeLucia sitting there handing out candy to my kids on Halloweens past.
My neighbors where we lived on Maple Avenue were Marge and Rev. Keen Hilton. What marvelous support they were in introducing us to the village. And so many others: Village historian Roger Keenholts, Reid Northrup, Rev. Bob Luidens, Jim Gardner at the Enterprise. Not to mention my wonderful staff through all these years. I have reminiscences about all of them and more.
The point of this is to convey what a pleasure it has been to serve the Altamont community for all these years (and yes, a few more years to come). Practicing a health profession in a small town where your patients and neighbors are one and the same has both rewards and challenges at times, but what a wonderful feeling being among friends at home and work. We’ve recently welcomed a new young associate to our practice, Dr. Nicole Shen. She has been made to feel welcome in our village much as I was so many years ago. Sure, there have been changes in town. The pharmacy is gone and there is no physician in the village any longer, but we still have a unique place to live and enjoy life. Our best to all for a happy and healthy new year.