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Good Rx V: Grinding out an American Dream

Good Rx V: Grinding out an American Dream

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Good Rx V: Grinding out an American Dream

Longueur:
252 pages
4 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Feb 23, 2012
ISBN:
9781468537048
Format:
Livre

Description

A wonderful look at the stories of a family trying to make it in the United States. It chronicles a Dominican man who immigrates to America during the post-World War II era, and subsequently shares most of the twentieth century's second half working to achieve his family's American Dream. In the words of the author, "This story is one of perseverance, which exemplifies the American dream, and love, which is the magic behind spirituality. It can be recognized in many families who have had forefathers that sacrificed much to bear the fruits they enjoy today. It is a tale that needs to be told to remind us of where we come from." The story is set to the backdrop of events of American Major League Baseball, a major reason for the connection of generations and cultures. It recounts the history of Baseball in the United States for the last half of the twentieth century, in a way that reflects the principles of that period. The writer takes the reader though his observations of those Baseball seasons, and how they helped shape his perspective on family and teamwork. Filled with personal anecdotal stories, poingant stories, and opinions, the story attempts to make
the reader laugh, cry, and think.
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Feb 23, 2012
ISBN:
9781468537048
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Benjamin Benoit, is a Certified Geriatric Consultant Pharmacist living in New Port Richey, Florida. He has practiced Pharmacy professionally since graduating Pharmacy School in 1987 at St. John's University in New York. Mr. Benoit has practiced Pharmacy in retail setting, hospital, and Long Term Care Pharmacy. He currently owns a Pharmacy in Trinity, Florida. The son of two Dominican immigrants to America, Mr. Benoit feels strongly about making hard work popular again, by telling the world of the journey his parents went through to see their son become a Pharmacist. Born in 1963, Benjamin grew up in the affluent suburban city of Forest Hills, New York. After graduating with a BS in Pharmacy and taking on several positions in Pharmacy over the next two decades, Mr. Benoit realized his father's dream of opening up a Pharmacy of his own in 2007. Since opening his own store in 2007, Benjamin has tried to earn back the respect for Pharmacy by taking the time to talk with his customers about their health problems. He has used his vast experience in Pharmacy to communicate messages of well being to his customers. This is a commodity that healthcare providers can no longer afford because of slimmer profit margins making healthcare providers take on more patients. He has also created a nostalgic ambiance in his Pharmacy by going back to its roots of mixing medications from scratch. In doing so, Mr. Benoit has filled a basic need for society by preparing products that are not commercially available, such as children's liquid medications, transdermal creams to limit system effects, or hormonal lozengers for sublingual absorption. While experiencing the difficulties of opening up a new business, Mr. Benoit was attacked in his Pharmacy in 2009, but was lucky enough to survive by fighting back the attackers, and managing to wrestle away the shot gun that was pointed at him. He currently sits as a board member of Trinity Medical Academy, and over sees the pharmacy technician diploma program offered there.

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Good Rx V - Benjamin Benoit

1-800-839-8640

© 2012 Benjamin Benoit. All rights reserved

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.

Published by AuthorHouse 2/17/2012

ISBN: 978-1-4685-3702-4 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4685-3703-1 (hc)

ISBN: 978-1-4685-3704-8 (e)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2011963743

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models,

and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

CONTENTS

Preface

Chapter I: Origins (1800s)

Chapter II: The Depression Years

(1929–1941)

Chapter III: The World War Years

(1939–1945)

Chapter IV: Young Adulthood (1946–1949)

Chapter V: Penicillin Saves a Life

(1950–1951)

Chapter VI: Coming to America (1952–1954)

Chapter VII: Next year finally comes to Brooklyn (1955–1956)

Chapter VIII: Diversification Expanding Horizons (1957–1959)

Chapter IX: Camelot (1960–1962)

Chapter X: A Baby Boy (1963–1965)

Chapter XI: La Casita in Forest Hills

(1966–1968)

Chapter XII: The Boy Becomes Aware (1969–1970)

Chapter XIII: Growing up Decadent in the Seventies (1971–1976)

Chapter XIV: The Family Gets Smaller (1976–1978)

Chapter XV: The A&B Factory (1979–1980)

Chapter XVI: Neon Pink Movies,

Synthetic Music, Big Hair, and Reaganomics

(1980–1989)

Chapter XVII: The First Gulf War

(1990–1991)

Chapter XVIII: Construction (1992–1993)

Chapter IXX: Rekindled Spirit;

Reconnecting with the Past (1994–2000)

Chapter XX: A Brave New World

(2001–2006)

Chapter XXI: Building Commences Again

(2007–2009)

Chapter XXII: Fighting Back (2008–2010)

Conclusion

About the Author

Preface

I am a pharmacist, the second most trustworthy profession. Much of what you are about to hear is true, to the best of my knowledge. There are parts of this story which might have questionable accuracy because they rely upon other people in my family, who have told me the stories. I was not alive for those parts, and I may have romanticized and embellished how they actually occurred. I make that disclaimer because parts of the story seem too unbelievable to be true, and there are some who have accused my family and me of being liars; this addresses those people’s skepticism. Even if those parts aren’t true, they make for a wonderful tale nonetheless. This story is one of perseverance, which exemplifies the American dream, and love, which is the magic behind spirituality. This story might be recognized by many families with forefathers who sacrificed much so that their descendants could enjoy the fruits of their labor today. It is a tale that needs to be told to remind us of where we come from.

Some may question who my family is and why the reader should be interested in this story. To an extent I would agree, but I think if you invest the time in reading this, you’ll come away with a smile on your face, at least. Although my family’s name is not a household word, there are connections to Christopher Columbus and Napoleon Bonaparte. There are artifacts from Columbus’s settlement on the Benoit property in the Dominican Republic. The ruins of a church, built during Columbus’ time, are on the property. My father used to tell me of the property’s historic value. I only recently confirmed it by reading a genealogical journal in the Dominican Republic named Raices. Edwin Espinal Hernandez wrote an article in a 1993 edition that described my family history, titled: "Los Benoit: Familia de Solera de Jacagua. In the article, the author mentions the connection between Napoleon and my great-great grandfather, Alexander Benoit. This article also mentions Alexander’s son-in-law, Ricardo Ovies, whose name I found referenced in a turn-of-the-century book titled The Relics of Columbus." This was a book on the World’s 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The book references Ricardo Ovies as a provider of artifacts for the Exposition (p. 76). This validated the claims my family has made about the church ruins on the property. I suppose it is a fortuitous coincidence that this reference appears on page 76. The number is a symbol of the American Revolution.

The name Benoit is a French derivation of the Yiddish name Benjamin, which means Son of the Right Hand. It is such a good name that I was named it twice, believe it or not. Those readers in disbelief should know that it could have been worse. I could have been named Ricky Ricardo. To all the Richards of the world whom I have offended, please accept my apologies in advance. I have potentially offended many people in my book, including some members of my own family. Please take comfort in knowing that you have taken one for the team and that you’re not alone. I also poke fun at myself, so don’t feel too badly.

I hope the title of this story has attracted the reader in a subliminal way. When I came up with my pharmacy company’s corporate name, I used the definition and translation of my name as the basis to form GOOD RX. Instead of using Benoit RX, I thought the name GOOD RX directly conjures up the notion of something good associated with the company. It is a phrase that does not have to be translated to convey an attractive marketing point. The point is that pharmacists are the second most trusted professionals, next to the clergy, and clergy have not had very good publicity recently, so we may have moved up to No. 1. Good also represents what my family tries to be, even though we may not be angelic, as this story will imply.

The subtitle of this project seemed to fit because the sight of a pharmacist using a mortar and pestle epitomizes the grinding hard work that was necessary to achieve my family’s American Dream. This was a dream that was five generations in the making. Hence the Roman numeral V distinguishes GOOD RX V as a symbol of trustworthy hard work.

It is important to note that the dream my great-great grandfather, Alexander Benoit, had was, in essence, an American Dream, despite the perception that it wasn’t American. I define an American Dream simply as the hope for a better future. Back in the 1800s, Alexander’s dream was to provide for future generations of Benoits. In 1931, James Truslow Adams, a freelance writer from New York, coined the phrase the American Dream in his book The Epic of America. In the book, he defined it as that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone with opportunity, for each according to ability or achievement. My point is that the concept is often misinterpreted to be exclusively related to coming to America and making it. Although the idea is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, including Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, other people who have not come to America are certainly capable of conceiving the same dream. It just so happens that the dream is usually realized in the United States. Proof is that there are many immigrants who have come to the United States because of that dream, and there are so many people who currently want to come to the United States because they feel America is the best place to make the dream come true. Thus, my family’s American dream was a hope for a better future, and it was realized in America.

As the term American Dream is currently being misused by a generation of Americans who are greedy and have a sense of entitlement, I thought it was my duty to reeducate and, I hope, recondition them and other people around the world who try to emulate the ugly side of them. My hope is that this story will achieve that lofty goal. I am also hopeful that it lays the groundwork for future writing, specifically about health care. There has recently been debate over health care in the United States, and it is my firm belief that health care in the United States could be improved if we went back to square one. I feel that this sense of entitlement has caused Americans not to value their health. A case in point is a patient who argues that his blood pressure medication has gone up 3 percent in price, but in the same breath asks for a carton of cigarettes, or a six-pack of beer, which have steadily risen in price without provoking complaints. There is also greed on the pharmaceutical side of things, because the prices for medications are so astronomical. I have the perspective, as the middleman, to see the greed on both sides. The other component of this greed—and the part that clouds the issues—is that insurance companies hide the true costs of health care by providing health care services for a nominal copay. What many Americans don’t see is that the reimbursement that many insurance companies give the health care provider is averaging too low for the provider to operate normally. The end result is that Americans are then forced to have a diluted form of health care because the health care provider is forced to see too many patients to make ends meet. The specifics of these thoughts are food for another book. The reality of my writing another book largely depends on the success of this one. In the meantime, enjoy this book.

Church remnants circa 1994

Alexander Benoit & Marie Sicard

Chapter I: Origins (1800s)

In the early 1800s, amidst Napoleon’s failed Russian campaign, a man named Alexander Benoit, who spoke seven languages, decided to seek a better source for raw materials to tan leather. My great-great grandfather, Alexander, came from Strasbourg, a city in Europe on the French/German border known for tanning leather. The family name has always been Benoit; when Alexander moved to the Dominican Republic, he was simply known as Monsieur Benito, the Italian translation of Benoit. Italian was the native tongue of the Corsican Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon’s father Charles was an associate of Alexander’s father, also named Charles. When Napoleon ascended to power as Emperor of France, Charles Benoit recommended his son Alexander to Napoleon during a banquet the two attended. Napoleon took the advice of his father’s old associate and utilized Alexander as an interpreter of the Russian language during the disastrous war with Russia. Monsieur Benito is what Napoleon called him, and the name stuck as he later traveled to the Dominican Republic.

As an older man, Alexander married a young wife, and I have seen pictures of the married couple, validating the claims of a great age disparity. There is a story that illustrates his propensity to correct others’ mistaken perceptions of him—a personality trait that recurred in other relatives in many subsequent generations. As the story is told to me, it seems that the locales were snickering in their native tongue about his inability to keep up with his young wife. Spanish was not Monsieur Benoit’s first language, and thus, in a country of Spanish speakers, he was considered an outsider and was subject to the prejudices that often confront foreigners. As Monsieur Benoit was walking with his new bride, some disparaging remarks were made by some locals about the old man and his young wife. The locals spoke in their native tongue, thinking that the old man wouldn’t understand. Using their language, Monsieur Benoit turned the tables on them and explained to them that he did not appreciate their comments. Shocked, those locals did not bother him again.

He settled on land in Santiago, Dominican Republic, called Jacagua. This pueblo, best known for remnants of an old church built during Columbus’s settlment of the New World, had fertile land for agriculture. The remnants of the church, destroyed by an earthquake, happen to be on the Benoit property. The remains are vestiges of the first settlement of the new world. Its masonry, bricks, cruciform pilasters, buttresses, and fragments of vaults can still be seen today on the property.

Monsieur Benoit had eleven children, one of whom was my great grandfather Carlos Domingo Benoit. Before his death in 1900, Carlos in turn had seven children. One of those grandchildren to Alexander was my grandfather Anselmo Benoit. The family that he and my grandmother Maria Mercado created on this hallowed ground is where this story begins.

Grandparents farm in better times

Chapter II: The Depression Years

(1929–1941)

During my grandparents’ childbearing years, the world went into an economic tailspin. Personal income, tax revenue, profits, and prices dropped, while international trade dropped by more than 50 percent. The Latin American countries, such as the Dominican Republic, depended heavily on the investment of the United States in such farming products as sugar cane. When the United States wasn’t spending on those products, the Latin American countries felt the squeeze as well as the rest of the world. Crop prices were said to have fallen 60 percent. This led to diminished demand, and since there were few alternate job sources, people fell into despair because they could not earn a living. Germany was busy blaming Jewish immigrants for the economic woes of the world. With the onset of the Depression, Nazi support grew in Germany, and in 1933 Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany.

The Dominican Republic in 1936 was far away from the United States’ recovery plan for an economically depressed world. My father said he had a German tutor when he was young, so I estimate that the tutor’s interaction with my grandparent’s children had to be about this time. My father was eight years old in 1936. The tutor was probably a refugee, as a result of the climate warming up for war in Germany. On my grandfather’s farm, roosters crowed at the crack of dawn, signaling that it was time for the cows to be milked. The boys were taught, at a young age, how to milk a cow. Horses carried the farmhands. Chickens were allowed to roam the grounds, as payment for the eggs they laid. Donkeys carried produce from the area where they were grown and plucked to the area where these products were repackaged and stored to be shipped to local groceries. Although the grounds were set back a suitable distance from the road, the grounds were surrounded only by barbed wire fencing, allowing easy viewing from outside the property. Dogs guarded this area from possible thieves. Most of the work was done early, before the sun was at its hottest.

My uncle Juanito, the last of ten children born to Anselmo and Maria Benoit, was a newborn in 1936. Three years later, on a bright day in 1939, a family portrait was scheduled that would capture each child’s personality. It was this picture that inspired the story I am telling. I have only recently retrieved a copy of the picture, and perhaps it is not exactly what I remembered it to be. The following description is based more on what I remembered than on the actual character of the photograph. Or maybe there was another picture, taken at the same time, that I remember seeing as a child. I have inserted the aforementioned picture on a subsequent page, to serve as a reference for the characters I will describe. The picture was taken after the occurrence of the story I am about to tell.

My uncle Socrates always seemed to appear stoic and scholarly. My uncle Servio had the look of a troublemaker, reminding me of my middle child. That propensity for trouble is what made him the uncle destined to have the most fun. My aunt Safronia I thought was kneeling, but she was sitting on the ground with her head tilted into my grandfather’s knee, expressing the subservient tendencies

Benoit-1939

that would plague her as an adult. Her brother Santiago, who was the second youngest, and who would be thrown into the servant role, clung to my grandmother to make sure Juanito, the baby sitting on my grandfather’s knee, would not steal his thunder. Trying to play junior psychologist, I would have to say that this might have contributed to the inferiority complex from which he suffered through his entire life. Standing in the middle of my grandparents was my Aunt Tuta, who was cool and confident. She was the oldest of the ten children, so she could be bossy. Then there are my Aunts Sara and Nina. The two of them took my grandmother’s gift for gab. They were spicy like my grandmother. If there was a discussion going on at the house, you could be sure that those two were in the middle of the debate. Nina was more of a jolly talker, where as Sara, was more of a reactionary speaker. The male whose sense of humor was equal to my Aunt Nina’s was my Tio Pepe. His smile could have lit up the picture, although his demeanor was calm. Finally, there was my father, Salomon, sticking his chest out to keep up with his brother Pepe.

Salomon Benoit was prideful. He was right in the middle of the pack, both in age and in temperament. He would fly off the handle when he thought anyone was wronging him. But he could also show a large capacity for imparting wisdom with discipline. I imagine that on the day of the photo shoot, everyone was pressed to get properly prepared, because in the actual picture, the children appear stressed. I was told that my uncle Servio fought my father about something a ten-year-old fights an eleven-year-old for—despite the warning of my grandfather to knock it off. I see the dynamics of my own three children, and then I multiply this by three and add one to understand that the volume of that home was like the television presentation of an opera turned up to the highest volume level. Fortunately for television viewers, they can turn down the volume. My grandparents did not have that luxury.

In this organized chaos, my uncle Servio evidently told the younger Santiago that their brother Salomon’s allotted piece of dulce de leche was not going to be claimed, because he had not finished his chores that morning. Servio coaxed Santiago into going to fetch the unclaimed treat for the both of them. As Santiago snuck away to obtain the coveted prize, my grandparents were delegating responsibilities to the older children to help get the others cleaned up and ready for the impending photo shoot. The duty of preparing Santiago was given to my Tio Pepe, but the young boy’s whereabouts were now in question. Knowing that time was of the essence, Tio Pepe recruited my father Salomon to help him find the younger boy. They both searched high and low, to no avail. Meanwhile, Servio met the young Santiago behind the bathhouse with the sweet delight. There the two of them were feasting on my father’s candy. Neither of the two seemed to have any remorse. Not Servio, because he never thought anyone would catch him, and not Santiago, who was too young to know any better. The wax paper that wrapped the candy was thrown on the floor.

By this time, my grandfather, feeling the pressure of a deadline, yelled at my father to get ready. My father, being obedient, told Pepe that he would have to continue the search for Santiago on his own. As fate would have it, my father went to the bathhouse, only to find the youths content and with a last piece of candy in Santiago’s hand. Pepe is looking for you, shouted Salomon. Then he noticed the wrapper on the floor and the last piece in Santiago’s hand. My father always said he could have been a great detective, and at this point put that ability front and center. He turned to Santiago, who swallowed quickly, and asked him, Where did you get that piece of dulce de leche? Santiago, being too honest to cover up for the two boys caught in the act, ruefully said to Salomon, Servio told me that you did not do your chores. Santiago went on to tell Salomon, Papa said we could take your share of the candy as punishment, according to Servio. At this discovery, my father turned his steaming anger toward Servio, whom he asked, You did what? A battle between the two of them ensued. Santiago

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