Redline Doc

Mar 18, 2010 - 2 minute read - Commentary of the times

At the end of all things.

Sad faces. Sad days. We see the poorest of the poor at my health center. Its a magnet for those who have nowhere else. We will see them. We do see them. We patch them up. We send them back into the fray, the madness that has become our world in the north end of Hartford, Connecticut, only miles from the richest squares of land in the country. The disparity is at once engaging and maddening.

Some days ago a new face appeared in my care. Ragged on the edges, worn but still under the veneer of the street, a once proud person. She tells me she worked all her life, perhaps 40 years or more, receives Social Security, a pittance because she worked at one of the many downtown retail stores, making ends meet, and saving for retirement through a store plan. Prior to mall-ville, Hartford, as did many other cities, house a plethora of stores from upscale department to jewelry and electronic palaces. It was a mecca in its time. These folks and hundreds, nay thousands like them retired to small owned homes in the north end. Clean. Neat. A neighborhood in constant transition but with ties to religious and community organizations.  Then came Mr Skilling and his ilk.

Not content to raid the coffers of the gamblers of Wall Street, these folks conspired to use as tokens at the gambling tables the funds-in-trust for retirements. Now gone. Bankrupted. Disappeared.

She tells me that she couldn’t afford the taxes on the house. Predators always scent prey in the winds of fortune. In her case it was a ‘remortgage’ that promised to ‘clear up the debt.’  She lives in her car, however long that will last. She has no relatives in the area but has her ‘church’ and her ‘friends’ who don’t know and she sent me a gimlet stare to let me know that I shouldn’t consider letting them know.

So here we are at the end of all things, accomplishing the American dream, living in our car.