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Week of May 4, 2005

If Nursing Homes Could Talk
It wasn't funny...: This letter is in response to the disgusting April 20 feature "If Billboards Could Talk." I am the administrator of the Delmar Gardens facility where both the nurse works and the resident resides.

I have known the nurse for almost twenty years and I consider her and her family close personal friends as well as highly regarded professionals. This nurse began her nursing career in this facility as a nurse assistant. Her love of the nursing profession, as well as her love of the frail elderly, led her to continue her education; she put herself through Saint Louis University and graduated at the top of her class as a registered nurse. She continued her employment with Delmar Gardens, as a charge nurse, nursing supervisor, assistant director of nursing and, most recently, director of nursing.

Also it should be noted she was born in Haiti, is multicultural and speaks fluently several languages, not the foul language you attribute to her. Families, residents and staff of this facility are appalled and disgusted by your portrayal of her.

The resident shown on the billboard took great pride in the opportunity to portray the "Love" she feels for the staff of Delmar Gardens in such a positive public forum. I have personally known and loved this woman for over 40 years. She and her husband were volunteers in the first nursing home I worked for. In the early 1970s they were honored as Missouri Health Care Association State of Missouri Volunteers of the Year. This lovely lady spent her early years transcribing books to talking books for the blind, written word into Braille and countless other volunteer efforts on behalf of the less fortunate.

In 1987, after the death of her beloved husband, she had a heart attack and a stroke. At that time she needed to be cared for and has since lived with us at Delmar Gardens. Despite over fifteen years of chronic illness, she has never had a bedsore, a bruise or broken bone. She remains happy, cheerful and loved.

Abe Lincoln wrote: The true test of a people is how they behave towards the elderly, frail and disabled. Even tyrants and dictators love babies and children. The care of the less fortunate is the true "Gold Mine of a Nation."

Mr. Lincoln's words will never shine on you.

My expectation of your paper at a minimum is a most sincere apology to this nurse and this resident.
Catherine J. Bono, administrator
Delmar Gardens North

...It was demeaning, degrading and disgusting...: I cannot begin to describe how appalled and shocked we are at "If Billboards Could Talk." Not only were the quotes demoralizing and degrading to our director of nursing, Sherer Newton, R.N., but also to the entire nursing profession and to the black community as a whole.

The Delmar Gardens family has been caring for the needs of the elderly population since 1965. We are proud of our dedicated caring staff of professionals, our beautiful facilities and the great strides we have made in caring for the elderly.

What exactly were you trying to accomplish with your demeaning, degrading, disgusting column? Was it an attempt to slam:

A) the nursing profession?

B) the African-American community?

C) the elderly population?

If it was an attempt at entertainment or humor, you completely missed the mark.
Ruth Sirko, vice president of marketing
Delmar Gardens Enterprises

...In fact, it was a piece of $%^#...: I happen to work at the facility where the beautiful elderly woman is a resident, as well as the beautiful black woman, who is our director of nursing. I was extremely offended at your rude comments. You were not only not funny, but these comments truly showed poor taste and judgment.

I only saw this because one of our employees pointed it out to me. I am very glad I don't read your piece of $%^# magazine. I feel you owe a very strong apology to the resident and our director of nursing. Whoever allowed you to print such a horrible piece of garbage should truly be punished for their actions.

Shame on you. I know your magazine is the St. Louis version of the National Enquirer, but this is a little much even for them. Shame on you! What year do you think this is, 1863, that you think you can get away with this?

Not exactly.
Cathy Crawley

...And it was racist and lame: Why is it that you refer to the black nurse as "African American" but the elderly white woman is called a "honky old crone"?

Definition of "crone": An ugly, withered old woman; a hag. Definition of "honky": Used as a disparaging term for a white person.

Besides the fact that it is a lame attempt at being funny, it's highly offensive and racist. Yes, racism works both ways, believe it or not. The author is either racist, an idiot or both.
Name withheld by request
St. Louis

Last week we supplied the correct phone number for Los Catrachos, having bungled it in presenting Rose Martelli's April 20 restaurant review. We failed, however, to notice that we'd also botched the address. So once more, with feeling: Los Catrachos is located at 2744 Cherokee Street. The phone number is 314-773-5151.

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