A few weeks ago, freelance writer Debbie Reslock interviewed me about ageist language, particularly people's penchant for calling old folks “honey,” “sweetie,” "dearie," etc.
Reslock's story was published last week at Next Avenue:
”It is clear we need to speak up,” she wrote. “After her experience with the misinformed doctor, Halpin told the nurse supervisor about what had happened and let her know she’d never go to that hospital again. 'Please talk to me before you assume I have dementia and can’t take care of myself,' she adds.
“'Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t call me honey or sweetie,’ says Ronni Bennett, author of the popular blog Time Goes By. Her response is to pleasantly but firmly reply, 'My name is Ms. Bennett. You may call me that.'
“After a few seconds of silence, she says, they usually apologize. 'I like to think they realize how demeaning it is and change their behavior with other elders,' notes Bennett.”
You can read much more at at Next Avenue.ZACHERLE DEAD AT 98
Does anyone here remember Zach? He had a long career beginning as a campy host of late-night horror movie TV shows in the 1950s and played the part brilliantly for the rest of life on radio, in some movies, in music, books, stage shows and more.
Here's some of what The New York Times wrote last week of John Zacherle, sometimes known as Roland in his earliest professional career in Philadelphia:
”...he added grisly theatrics and absurdist humor to the entertainment on offer, which more often than not was less than Oscar quality. He became a popular cult figure, making star appearances at horror conventions across the Northeast.
”Dressed in a long black frock coat decorated with a large medal from the government of Transylvania, Roland introduced, and interrupted, the evening’s film with comic bits involving characters who existed only as props in his crypt-cum-laboratory.
“There was My Dear, his wife, recumbent in a coffin with a stake in her heart, and his son, Gasport, a series of moans within a potato bag suspended from the ceiling. A large blob of gelatin tied up in cheesecloth was Thelma, a high-strung amoeba who cheated at checkers and responded to the command 'Heel!'”
The reason I'm telling you this is that in 1970 and 1971, when I was producing my then-husband's radio talk show on WPLJ-FM in New York City, Zach and I shared an office. He was smart, funny, kind and caring and it was always a hoot when he showed up at the office in full Dracula makeup and regalia.
According to The Times, in a 2015 interview with The Philadelphia Daily News, Zach told the interviewer:
“I can’t imagine how it all happened. I look back on it and say, ‘My God, I’m 96 years old, what the hell have I been doing all these years?’”
Sounds exactly like the Zach I knew so many years ago. Here is a photo taken four years ago – at age 94, he doesn't look much different from what I recall in our shared office.
In honor of Halloween and especially of Zach, here is a video (with a few archival photographs) of what is probably his most well-known silly song - Dinner with Drac which was a big hit in 1958.
With all this, I think it is, possibly, destiny that he died so near Halloween on 27 October.
For the holiday tonight, here is what is still my favorite Halloween photo which I've published before.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE!