CPM Winter 2020 - 4
daup h i n cm s .org
From the Editor
discussed the importance of teaching in
the last editor's message. Now, I want to
talk about being a mentor. We all can
recall someone that made an impact
on our lives and careers; a teacher, coach or
medical attending that we wanted to emulate.
I have definitely had a few, but one stands
out far more than all the rest. And, he didn't
graduate from high school.
Joseph F. Answine, MD, FASA
Central PA Medicine Editor-in-Chief
Dauphin County Medical Society
777 East Park Drive, PO Box 8820
Harrisburg, PA 17105
Caricature of Bill presented to him
at his retirement
Winter 2020 Central PA Medicine
He grew up in a small town in southwestern
Pennsylvania during the depression, and while
in the 10th grade, felt a job was more beneficial
to him and his family than an education. He
left high school even though he was at the top
of his class to be a coal-truck driver. After a time
in the Navy, he resumed his trade. Eventually,
he found his calling as a "blaster." Yes, he blew
stuff up; mostly rocks to allow others to harvest
coal from the ground.
us "government cheese," Velveeta for the most
part. It, by the way, made great grilled cheese
Another story was when I was in "premed"
at Washington and Jefferson College. I was
at my grandfather's shop and Orie, an elderly
local, was sitting talking with Gramps. Orie was
complaining about his foot and was wearing a
snow boot because of the pain. My grandfather
called me aside and asked me to examine the
foot. I told him that I'm just in college and
have very little medical knowledge. Gramps
said, "Look at it anyway. Orie has no money or
a doctor. You are the best he has." Thankfully,
it was a small ulcer that we healed with a little
antimicrobial ointment and a clean bandage.
One last and funny story was after I wrecked
my car in medical school. He came all the way
from my home near Pittsburgh to examine
This gentleman, Bill Molnar, affectionately the damage. I was surrounded by my friends
nicknamed "Moon," was my grandfather. when he asked how I could possibly get into
His words, his teachings, have carried me an accident. I was embarrassed and mad, so I
throughout my life; most by short stories and said, "Gramps, you wrecked your car before."
his interactions with the people around him. Without blinking an eye, he said, "I was drunk!
One of my favorite stories occurred at What's your excuse?" My friends to this day
Christmastime in the mid-1970s when I have not let me live that down.
was a preteen. His "shop" was near the river,
He died in October of 2000. I was 37 years
away from most of the small population of old, so I had ample time to collect his wisdom.
the town. People that could afford it didn't By the way, his funeral was a well attended
want a dynamite company near their homes. catholic mass. That was impressive since he
However, there were houses there, those of rarely attended church, and no one was sure if
low-income minorities. My grandfather was, he actually was catholic. He, however, always
for the most part, an incredibly intelligent handed money to the priest when he would
"Archie Bunker" with mildly racist comments see him on the street. The pastor would return
and mildly controversial jokes. One day, he the favor by blessing him. I once asked my
was surrounded by his employees having some Gramps why he gave money to the church
Christmas cheer, telling stories with laughter when he didn't attend mass. He looked at me
abound. Eventually, he sent his employees and said, "Someone's got to bury you, boy!"
home and then turned to me. "Ok boy (his And, that they did!
common name for me), go out to the car and
My Gramps taught me to care for others
unload what's in the back." What was in the but not to make a big deal of it. Do it for the
back were Christmas hams. "Pass them out to sake of doing it.
the families here. They don't have much. It's
Christmas!" "Why did you wait until now
Gramps?" I asked. "Because they are proud.
They don't want to be seen taking hand outs."
We passed out the food. In return, some gave
CPM Winter 2020
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