Clinton Township Newsletter

August 2017 Issue of the Clinton Township Newsletter

Clinton Township Newsletter, Clinton New Jersey, May 2013 Issue

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– Julie Fl�nn A recent midnight trip to the Emergency Room at HMC by the Clinton Rescue Squad was efficient and professional and made me want to kiss and hug those squad members. However, at the ER I was diagnosed with "back pain and alcohol withdrawal"!!! ALCOHOL WITHDRAWAL!!! Because, I guess, I was shaking uncontrollably and I must have mentioned that I'd had a glass of (ONE) white Zinfandel before dinner that night. (ONE!) If you were almost 90 years old and were screaming in pain and a bunch of folks carried you away on a stretcher, wouldn't you shake a little? Let's be clear. I was not suffering from alcohol withdrawal and I have no intention of withdrawing from my nightly wine or Scotch before dinner as long as I can reach the bottles in the cabinet. I take alcohol addiction very seriously. A member of my family is a recovering alcoholic and it is no joke at all. But I was clearly not a member of that community. That said, I found some humor in the whole event. (And, fodder for a column as well.) I try to find humor in even the most dismal circumstances. I was only 41 years old when my first husband died of lung cancer. After a period of intense grief I surveyed my future life prospects and decided to go for a writing career at Bell Labs. It lasted a fulfilling 25 years and probably would never have happened if Gil had lived. Few women had careers back in the 1960's. My friends told me sadly what a shame that Gil's and my dream of moving to "the country" would now not be possible. Well, I found a piece of land and built a comfortable Cape Cod house where I continue to live and count my blessings to be part of the Hunterdon County landscape. When a bilateral mastectomy occurred in 1980 I lost two of my favorite "assets". After a short period of mourning their loss I accepted and even embraced my reconstructed "girls" and never looked better in a leotard. Plus, jogging was infinitely more comfortable. Once I retired I devoted one day a week to working in the Medical Center with cancer patients. It was, and continues to be, a joy. I know that I "get" more than I "give" every single Tuesday. Fred"s death was another major blow in my life. After over 40 years of marriage I was to be alone again. The experiences I had with settling his estate and dealing with a wicked step-daughter led me to write "What Do I Do Now?"... and it is still selling! I have made so many friends because of the book and because of volunteering and because of this column! Not to say all losses end up with a happy ending. Sometimes you have to dig all the way to China to find a buried treasure. But my belief is that we learn something from every tragedy we encounter and it enables us to live better future lives. I'll climb off the soapbox for now, but it's true. This past June marked my fifth (or is it sixth?) year of chaperoning North Hunterdon's Project Graduation. Project Graduation is an all-night, once in a lifetime fun, alcohol/drug free, non-stop night at The FunPlex in Mt. Laurel, NJ. There are indoor and outdoor rides, games, sports, music, food, gifts and prizes – all coordinated by North's PTSA. Adult chaperones from North families join the FunPlex staff for twenty-minute shifts at designated stations, but then have breaks to enjoy the rides, games, sports, or food/beverage buffets. One year during one of my breaks, I bowled against several of the bus drivers and – (brag alert) scored 4-5 strikes in a row – at 3:00 am. It turns out that my best bowling is done in the wee hours of the morning. The kids are usually beyond exhausted by 4:00 am, and are ready to go home. Some are cranky at this point too. But, you know what? They're alive and cranky. And that's the point of this program (not the cranky part). According to the website, "Each year, automobile accidents take the lives of nearly 3,000 teens in the 16-to- 19 age group, and a quarter of a million more are sent to hospital emergency rooms with serious injuries. 'Death by car' is the No. 1 mortality risk for adolescents, and alcohol consumption is implicated in about 33 percent of these fatal accidents. But as bad as these statistics are, things get worse when graduation arrives (this event coincides closely with prom night, another occasion known for its booze-soaked revelry). The percentage of automobile fatalities that involve alcohol jumps from 33 percent to 40 percent on graduation night, which is a testament to how drinking and driving spikes when kids are in the mood to party. One-third of those under the age of 21 who die in accidents lose their lives during graduation season and, not surprisingly, the vast majority of these doomed souls expire in car crashes." * While Project Graduation is a lot of fun, and we always have the majority of the class participating, make no mistake – the most important part of the program is preserving lives. I volunteer in memory of all of those kids that I knew as a teen whose lives were lost way back in high school. I do it for our community too, because one life lost is one life too many. This year we had over 264 seniors participate and, as always, very few die- hard parents willing to chaperone. "But I can't stay up that late!" is always the excuse. Trust me on this, if I can stay up that late, you can too. Could you stay up in order to save a life or two? If we lose this program, our kids' lives could be put in further jeopardy. The PTSA needs just fourteen overnight chaperones in order to be able to go to Project Graduation in June of 2018. Will you be the one to say "yes" to the Class of 2018? – Stay safe, and enjoy the rest of your summer! * "To see the Summer Sky Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie – True Poems flee –" ~ Emily Dickinson Since 1982

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