I’m just back from the funeral of a 96 year old Montreal physician, a distant relative by marriage. As you can imagine there was a lot of history in the eulogies: (For example, he went to McGill Medical School in the 1930s when few Jews were admitted. He couldn’t get a residency position in Montreal due to his religion and so went to Newark, NJ. Some German passengers from the Hindenburg disaster refused to be treated by a Jew when he came to the scene.)
Lots of uplifting and interesting stuff — but nothing I haven’t heard before.
But the most interesting tidbit I picked up was when a son described how his father deterred him from becoming a smoker. Dad noticed the harmful effects of smoking in his patients and how hard it was for them to quit –an unusual observation for the medical profession back in the 1950s– so he became obsessed with preventing his kids from smoking.
When this son was about 8 his father lit up a large cigar for him and had him smoke it, making sure the kid get to the point where he turned green and was utterly repulsed. When 7th grade came along, the son’s teacher gave everyone in the class a pack of cigarettes and a pack of matches as a present at spring break. The son traded his gift for a chocolate bar and never looked back.