New Year Reflection
Who could have guessed what 2021 would bring. Effective vaccines, new Covid variants, and renewed waves of concern about the likely permanence of the pandemic. But, on to more mundane matters.
As usual, there is much to say though I will spare you the details on health matters. But, I do have one story to tell. On a recent hospital visit, an interesting exchange occurred. When nurses and CNAs enter your room, they ask you for your name and your date of birth, in my case 11-8-28. Then they come over and look at me closely, exclaiming: “But, you look so young.” How flattering. Of course, they are only a quarter to a third my age. A few weeks later I had to return, in the interim allowing my beard to grow. When I told the nurses and CNAs the story related above, one remarked “but, you still look like you are only 70.” Wow, what compliments. So, I now sport a three-month-old white beard, not quite long enough to help meet the Santa Claus labor shortage this year. Maybe next year.
I continue to occupy myself with my writing projects. One is my dementia project, about Sally and her decade-long siege of dementia. I continue searching for an agent and/or publisher. Another project is an almost-completed manuscript describing my approach to teaching economics; one chapter remains to be completed, and some additional editing is required. Finally, I continue my slow progress in completing a memoir on my Korean War military experiences. Recently, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum here in Madison asked me to participate in its Oral History Project. I did and discovered that I remembered enough to fill eight hours of interview time.
I also keep busy chairing the Financial Advisory Committee here at Oakwood Village where I live. The committee is trying to assess Oakwood’s financial situation. When the new CEO arrived two years ago, he told us Oakwood was in serious financial trouble. Our evidence indicates he was completely wrong. Oakwood is far healthier than any of us believed. We have made no progress in exposing his erroneous judgment because the Board of Directors has full confidence in the CEO despite our findings.
Our daughters both live here in Madison, having returned from Albuquerque and northern Illinois a half-dozen years ago. Ellen and Harvey and their youngest daughter (who works remotely) have spent most of the past two years at their second home on Washington Island, off the tip of Door County. All four of their children spent the holidays with them. Our daughter Martha recently experienced a serious bike accident, flying over her handlebars and fracturing her elbow, now repaired with screws and a metal plate. Only a couple of weeks later she broke her leg, a likely after effect of her earlier bike accident. She now has screws and a metal plate in her leg, making her a metallic woman..
In the interest of not upsetting you, I will spare you my comments on the condition of the city, the state, the nation, the world, and mankind.
With best wishes,
W. Lee Hansen
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About the Author
At age 92 I decided to showcase my recent and current writings on a variety of topics outside of my career interests as an economist. My wife Sally’s dementia, my experiences of war, and my interests in improving higher education all compel me to write.
For most of the last decade I maintained a low profile, necessitated by my wife Sally's suffering from a decade-long siege of vascular dementia. After she passed away several years ago I wrote about our experience, in the belief that this would be helpful to the many others who suffer from dementia and their family caregivers. I am currently seeking a publisher for my book manuscript: The Forgotten: Dementia and the Right to Die.
Over the past few years I began working on several other writing projects that are described more fully elsewhere in my blog. These include a nearly-completed book manuscript on my "expected proficiencies approach to the college major'' as a vehicle for reinvigorating liberal education. I continue to write on the shortcomings of UW-Madison's affirmative action policies and programs that over the years have been renamed "diversity and inclusion" policies and programs.
Within two weeks of my graduation from UW-Madison in June 1950, the Korean War broke out. I was drafted and expected to be sent to Korea to join our fighting forces there. But instead I was sent to Turkey for 18 months. How lucky I was. I am also writing a memoir of my Korean War military experience when I served as an U.S. Army adviser in our military aid program in Turkey.
Until I began branching out beyond economics, I failed to realize what a profound effect the Great Depression and World War II had on me as I grew up. I have already captured some of these recollections, with more of them to follow.
With that introduction, I turn you over to my blog entries as well as my other writing projects described more fully elsewhere in my blog. Best wishes ~ W. Lee Hansen
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Award-winning author W. Lee Hansen, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Full bio.