Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dr Bernard Levin - Confirming My Conviction

On Friday November 19th my professor and mentor Dr. Bernard Levin, was an inductee at the Ostrow School of Dentistry, Hall of Fame. This posthumous award, given to a non USC dental graduate, was made because of the extraordinary contributions he made to the art and science of dentistry, through scholarly research, teaching, professional leadership and development of teaching techniques that advance dental science.

I met Professor Levin as his clinical dresser, an attending house Surgeon, in 1973 when he was on sabbatical and teaching at Guy’s Hospital, London. It was Bernie and Mr Prieskel, the Prosthodontic Consultant in the dental school, who inspired me to go back to the United States to study. It was Bernie who was my sponsor into USC, and my mentor when I did my research into the “Alignment of Precision Attachments”. He edited my papers and advised me on the content. It was Bernie who sponsored me into the Pacific Coast Society for Prosthodontics.

I have always thought the world of Doctor Levin, but it was a complete confirmation of my conviction that he was without doubt one of the best wet finger dentists and teachers by whom I had ever had the pleasure to be taught. His wife Kinuyo was there in his stead to receive his accolade, and she can be seen here with Bernie's sister in a picture taken by Dr Calvin Lau. It was an honor for me to be there with my colleague Simon Gamer, and see the fine new dean, Dr Avishai Sadan, bestow the awards.

Getting Back on Track - Memory Lapse

Inspired by Billy Cullins

You can’t be tying a string around your finger
Every time you have to remember
Why it is you went into the kitchen,
Or what is was you came into the garage for anyway.

You stand in front of the fridge,
In a room cluttered with thousands of memory joggers-
A block of carving knives, that lasting gift from your wedding,
The painted rose on a plate from a grateful patient,
A colonial tea canister from Williamsburg
With a key to stop its contents being purloined,
And the gallery of photographs held by magnets on the door,

And it is as if you were gazing at some rebuilt city,
Which has been completely redesigned
After an atomic bomb has wiped
All the definitive land marks off the map,
Wondering why you are there,
And what pressing task,
Which was screaming for attention,
Caused you to sleepwalk,
And if the tell tale signs of senility
Are already devastating your mind.

Then picking your way back to the bathroom
You peer into the mirror
Straining for the clue,
And with an Archimedean exaltation,
Discover the switch of memory
And reluctantly admitting your humanity,
Put your day back on track once more.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Frances Cecelia McLeod turns 95

Mother of Mine

For Frances Cecelia McLeod 95 years old on November 15th 2010

Long before the eye-light twinkled
Mother of mine, Mother of mine
E’re his forehead for me wrinkled
Mother of mine.
You by God’s hand were selected
So we were raised up and protected
And guided in this early time,
Mother of mine!

When the twinkle dimmed and faded,
Mother of mine, Mother of mine,
And our lives grew grim and jaded,
Mother of mine.
You buoyed us up with your intention
Of disappointments made no mention
Filled our hearts with song and rhyme
Mother of mine!

So your life has not been wasted
Mother of mine, Mother of mine,
Sweet has been the life we tasted
Mother of mine!
And the time that still remains
As the hour glass slowly drains,
Is a gift that is sublime,
Oh mother of mine!