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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 18, 2013/ 7 Nissan, 5773

A former president's correspondence reveals the power of letters, and the powerlessness of aging

By David Shribman




JewishWorldReview.com | He was getting older, he worried about losing his balance fishing on the end rocks, and his hearing was failing him. So was his short-term memory. He could recall, surprisingly vividly, how the bottom of his mother's feet looked, but he forgot the names of some of his house guests. He was going to bed earlier, and waking up earlier, too. Three times people told him his zipper was undone.

So George H.W. Bush did what he has done so often, what came so naturally to him. He sat down and wrote a letter, this time to his children. One was the governor of Florida, another was the governor of Texas and two years from the White House. No matter. He started the letter "Dear kids."

That was 15 years ago and Mr. Bush was 74 years old. But he sensed what was happening -- "This year if I turn fast, I wobble" -- and he wanted to share his experience, his perspective, with his children.

"I remember a lot of detail about all five of you when you were little -- all happy memories I retain; but alas I am vague on recent details in your lives," he wrote. "I am passionately interested but factoids escape me."

Scores of Mr. Bush's letters were assembled a dozen years ago in a book called "All the Best," his signature sign-off. The book was reissued Tuesday with letters written since the original publication, including those covering the election of his eldest son to the White House, the terrorist attacks of 2001 and his remarkable reconciliation with the man who defeated him in 1992, Bill Clinton.

The result is a revealing look at the 41st president, repudiated by the voters in his re-election bid but rediscovered, even revered, by Americans in recent years and basking in a new revisionism as he approaches his 89th birthday.

In the White House. he delighted in telling reporters he resisted being put on the psychiatrist's couch -- Bushspeak for an aversion to introspection -- but the new letters suggest otherwise. In them he looks at the presidency, politics and the new world order he helped create in 1989 with a clarity suggesting he possessed "the vision thing" -- another unforgettable chestnut from the Bush argot -- all along.

But it is his experience and sobering confrontation with aging that is perhaps the most poignant revelation.

He found he was growing impatient about little things, like finding a videotape of Bambi or of "that horrible Simpson family" in the case where he expected to find his Hitchcock film, or about happening upon a can of 7-Up "barely sipped -- and left to get stale and warm." This offended his Yankee frugality, bred more along Maine's rocky coast than perhaps in his Greenwich, Conn., childhood.

These days when he rides his boat down the coast to Barnacle Billy's in Ogunquit, the former leader of the free world orders the hot dog. The lobster roll is too expensive.

The message in Mr. Bush's letter wasn't the impoverishment of loss but the richness of longevity. While he didn't "expect to be on the A-team any more" the old master of the mixed metaphor told his children he wanted "to be there for you if you get a bad bounce in life, and no doubt you will for the seas do indeed get rough."

Mr. Bush was known for "Read my lips" (on taxes) and for "This will not stand" (on Iraq's invasion of Kuwait) but perhaps he should be remembered, too, for how he closed his letter to his children:

If I shed tears easier now try not to laugh at me, because I'll lose more saline and that makes me feel like a sissy, and it might make my mouth dry later on, and might be bad for digestion, too. And besides it's OK to cry if you are a man -- a happy man (me) or a man faced with sadness or hurt (not me). Hey, don't point the first finger at whoever is shedding the tear because all Bushes cry easily when we're happy, or counting our blessings, or sad when one of [us] gets bruised or really hurt inside.

In 2000, the Bushes decided to move the remains of their daughter, Robin, who died of leukemia at age 3 in 1953, to College Station, Tex., where the couple has a burial plot. In a letter to his pastor, Mr. Bush said his tears that day weren't the tears of "devastation, loss and pain" he experienced when she died. "Instead," he wrote, "they were tears of gratitude that we had her at all and maybe even tears of joy that she was still with us."

The day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks he wrestled with issuing a statement, as former President Gerald R. Ford and Mr. Clinton did. "It is not easy ... to sit on the sidelines now, not easy to not make decisions or take actions," he wrote. "But I must continue to stay out of the limelight, out of the news, giving quiet support to #43."

Then there is the letter he wrote to his first great-grandchild, Georgia Helena Walker Bush, when she was born 18 months ago. Here is the entire text:

I haven't seen you yet and I love you already -- more than tongue can tell. You are one very lucky little girl. You have two wonderful parents who will always be with you and love you. You have grandparents who feel the same way. And you have two really old guys, great grandparents, Barbara Bush and me, who worship the ground you will be walking on and who will be for you, at your side, for as long as we live.

So have a wonderful happy life, dear Georgia.

He signed it: "Gampy."

The Postal Service will tell you that letter volume is down. The epistolary novel, dating to the 18th century, is a relic of another time. But as long as Mr. Bush is alive, the ancient literary genre of the letter still breathes.

The letters that the second president, John Adams, exchanged with the third, Thomas Jefferson, are part of the classic literature of our country. The letters the 41st president shared with Americans of all trades and outlooks -- the last presidential letters, you might say -- also are an American treasure. All the best ...

Comment by clicking here.

David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism, is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Previously:



03/11/13 Outrageous spectacle lead to a rational resolution on the budget? A nation can dream, can't it?
02/25/13 The one big thing Democrats and Republicans can actually agree on
02/18/13 Obama is wrong to make young people think college is mainly about making a living
02/11/13 The war inside the GOP
02/04/13 Presidential politics, frozen in place
01/28/13 Speech invokes past for present and future
01/14/13 If Obama's inaugural address is to be remembered at all
01/21/13 Identity crisis in the GOP
01/07/13 History meets firearms
12/31/12 In search of our better angels
12/24/12 Wounded in war, Inouye just kept serving his country
12/10/12 President as change agent
12/10/12 Another overtime election
12/03/12 Defining the Obama presidency: Our re-elected chief executive has the whip hand now, but how will he use
11/19/12 New Hampshire 2016
11/12/12 Obama's second chance
11/05/12 America's first martyr to free speech
10/29/12 Making hay in Iowa
10/15/12 When two men confronted each other from afar as civilization hung in the balance
10/08/12 If you look at the election a certain way, things don't seem so terrible
10/01/12 Debating the debates
09/24/12 Pessimists R Us
08/20/12 Obama remains a puzzle even as he asks the American people for a second chance
08/13/12 With Ryan, Romney upends the conversation
08/06/12 The real Romney remains hidden behind other people's opinions
07/30/12 What summer is for: How August can matter, and how Romney might use it
07/23/12 The Independent son of independent Maine promises to shake up Washington
07/16/12 The Rambler American
07/09/12 The Telstar revolution: Fifty years ago, a 3-foot orb was sent aloft and spawned a new era in communications
07/02/12 It's got only four electoral votes, but Romney and Obama will be fighting for them
06/25/12 A little noted rebellion over a lonely stretch of land helps tell the American story
06/18/12 You're nothing special: Luck is what you make of it . . . and what it makes of you
06/11/12 Anybody can talk authoritatively about the presidential election. Here's how
06/04/12 Candidates love to ally themselves with admired presidents, in sometimes unexpected ways
05/29/12 Americans aren't in a new burst of patriotism but they are in a new burst of appreciation for the military
05/21/12 Inside out: Almost nothing about this year's presidential election conforms to conventional analysis
05/14/12 Lugar grew into an elder statesman, which is why he'll be leaving the Senate
05/07/12 50 years later, MacArthur's farewell to arms continues to inspire
04/30/12 The likability factor: We're going to find out how important it is in these troubled times
04/23/12 Romney's four battles: With the nomination essentially in hand, he must turn to new challenges
04/16/12 For GOPers, expect the frustration to build, not abate
04/09/12 The political battles you cannot see
04/02/12 Romney's roadmap: Doing better in Democratic states may complicate his fall campaign
03/26/12 Romney struggles with same GOP forces his father faced long ago
03/19/12 The writer and the president
03/12/12 Romney could learn from his rivals after Super Tuesday
03/05/12 The GOP race continues, and Republicans continue to grouse about their choices
02/27/12 The turnout threat: when voters vamoose
02/20/12 The Winter's Tale: Republicans are engaged in a 'problem play,' full of psychological, and real, drama
02/13/12 Which Ike to like?
02/08/12 A tale of two elections: Voters today are making their most profound choice since 1912
01/30/12 Whither the GOP establishment?
01/23/12 The Democratic coalition is breaking up
01/09/12 The verdict that wasn't
01/02/12 These are the keys to who will persist
12/19/11 Another Gingrich rebellion
12/12/11 A defining fight for the GOP
12/05/11 A distinct lack of enthusiasm
11/28/11 For GOPers, the winds are beginning to pick up, the horizon is darkening
11/21/11 Today's polarized politics . . . blame FDR and the political scientists
11/11/11The sporting life
11/07/11 Ron Paul, true believer
10/31/11 Why Cain isn't able
10/10/11 GOP starting over
10/03/11 The Forgotten War of 1812
09/26/11 The way we live now
09/19/11 The crisis this time
09/11/11 But what will it mean?
09/05/11 A horse race column: Who might win the GOP nomination and how it might unfold
08/29/11 The vacuum calls
08/22/11 Passion and politics: How Barack Obama and Mitt Romney got crowded into the same dangerous corner
08/15/11 Eleanor's little village
08/08/11 The agony of August
08/01/11 The politics of the impossible: What a country this might be if the political class served the broad interests of the majority
07/25/11 Pennant fever grips 'Burgh
07/18/11 Exemplar of an era
07/11/11 On summer
07/04/11 The soul of the party
06/27/11 What the Secretary said
06/20/11 Romney has big advantages over his rivals, but they will be coming after him
06/06/11 One question each
05/30/11 The 14-week challenge
05/23/11 Delay tactics
05/16/11 Republicans are waiting
05/09/11 Bin Laden is dead. What does it mean?
05/02/11 From nobodies to nominees
04/25/11 The founders left slavery for future generations to settle, and we still haven't fully come to terms with it
04/18/11 From audacious to cautious
04/11/11 Dreaming of space
12/12/10 The GOP takes control
12/06/10 DECEMBER 7
11/29/10 GOP presidential hopefuls already are lining up local supporters in what is now a red state
11/22/10 Burning down the House
11/15/10 Institutions of higher learning are finally beginning to teach important lifeskills
11/04/10 The war has just begun
11/01/10 Echoes of a speech 40 years ago this week still resonate today
10/25/10 50 years ago America chose between two men who were dramatically different --- and eerily similar





© 2011, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Distributed by Universal Uclick, as agent for UFS.

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