Cure-alls – Debbie, Carrie et al

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  • Debbie Reynolds in "Singin' in the Rain." Courtesy Warner Brothers.

Ah, that would make America better again, and not just Debbie at 19 — so endearingly perfect in “Singin’ in the Rain” — and don’t we need G-rated movies like that! But at age 84, we needed Reynolds as a voice for elderhood reality, and when there are families, relationships need to be mutually supportive. That’s what mother Debbie had with daughter Carrie, whom the world also enormously mourns. As for Carrie, so achingly young and with so much more to say, especially about seemingly ever more prevalent addictions. Her stories and books need a great revival. And the 212-647-1680 number for 12-Step meeting information needs to be widely known as well.

And don’t forget, there is son Todd Fisher, and a grandchild who will need all the support possible in a world which some scientists now warn of a “loneliness epidemic” as a growing emotional and physical health hazard, not only among the old. Ah, but it’s not a hot topic which earlier authors found, especially James J. Lynch’s 1976 seminal book, “The Broken Heart, the Medical Consequences of Loneliness.” If ever a book needed revival ...

There is the loneliness when after these holidays, close to our heart people return to faraway places and consuming everyday schedules. Too many take it as natural, instead of something that needs some adjusting — a balance. But a general societal loneliness needs all-out attention, most recently said Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Dhruv Khullar in a recent Times article. It too needs the widest possible readership, in faith, civic and political circles as well as medical ones.

Again, I was compelled to write a letter, but not about close people loss or any cause the article notes, but about loneliness due to losing our everyday places – eateries and other neighborhood stores which meet everyday needs, and especially those of senior or disabled New Yorkers. Houses of worship and movie theaters have also closed. If ever there were an epidemic to stem — and most worrisome, it seems to be a world-wide urban tsunami.

But my thankfully fit-to-print letter on December 30 (the only one which shows loneliness is still not a hot topic!) didn’t mention how government priorities on “city travel needs” have also robbed us of essential everyday places. And, yes, I dare to cite the Second Avenue subway as the cause of already so many displaced people and places, including homes. And now its partial completion spikes already unaffordable Upper East Side real estate values.

Again, the total picture has been overlooked, resulting in tunnel vision — literally sometimes. Yes, surely existing riders need more space but how many more riders (dare I say, citizens?) can a livable city afford? Neighborhood streets and walkways are ever more like Midtown’s. A balance is needed and maybe you, dear readers of this community newspaper, will remind elected officials of their first constitutional duty to protect public welfare and promote the common good — to protect or/and restore that most essential balance.

Here’s to civic fitness becoming as popular a New Year goal as the physical kind, with the physically fit helping those who are not, get to civic and other places they need to go - and be seen as well as heard. That’s surely a loneliness Rx. It takes a village — a village — a village.

And a reminder of the Park Avenue Memorial Trees, which honor all those who gave their lives in this nation’s wars. Ah, and so importantly now to remember is how today’s wounded warriors need all the care and whatever else they so inordinately deserve. This most meaningful city holiday/holy-day Memorial Tree tradition is in place through January 17.

New Year blessings!

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