More bad news on the local personal security front last week. Seems a CD chock full of Social Security Numbers and other personal data was swiped and no one knows for sure how or where the information will surface or if it ultimately fell into the wrong hands to be used for criminal purposes. For all we know someone could be downloading the hot data right now onto some nefarious website or applying for bogus loans or arranging for ersatz credit cards.
This instance, while far from isolated, is another reminder that our dependence on all things electronic and interconnected has rough, jagged edges. Admittedly it is a stretch to equate written correspondence as somehow safer than the brittle security of the Internet. But one thing we know to be true; whatever goes on the web can be fair game for someone who doesn’t play fair.
Maybe I am nutty – that is a rhetorical question that does not demand an answer – but I keep falling back on the idea that there is not always a need to go electronic in our communications. That’s why much of the time my best security device is a 44 cent stamp.
Here is the May 24 letter to Ellen and Reid
May 24, 2010
Ellen/Reid: We’ve had better days than these but somehow we will manage to get through it all. It is just the way of the world. Your grandfather’s most recent setback would have been a death knell had the intestinal blockage not been removed. As it turns out, the blockage was caused by a hernia which was constricting his intestine. Not quite sure how that occurred but it did. It is of a mild relief that it was not related to his cancer but still, it won’t further his cause. He is exhausted and in need of rest.
This happens just when we thought we’d found the ideal place for the pair of them. To stay together was their wish but we could not of known the emergency surgery lay ahead. That has thrown a wrench in the works. How the place works is that you sign up for a specified level of care; i.e. your grandfather stipulated he would handle your grandmother’s medications and most of the other duties. But with him out of commission, there is no one to give your grandmother her pills, no one to take her to the dining area, and no one to literally watch over her. They would have ridden things out in their little apartment and that would have been great. Hospice would have come in to assist your grandfather when that time arrived. Honestly, I’m not sure what we would have done if they were still at home.
But they found your grandmother roaming outside the building yesterday, and what that means is that she can likely not stay there anymore. The cost to provide what is essentially 24 hour babysitting is exorbitant and well beyond their budget. So now we’re up in the air and all of this is upsetting, particularly to your uncle who is incensed that planning for such eventualities didn’t occur long ago. We didn’t have benefit of a crystal ball to foresee events. Who knew your grandpa would go into surgery and turn this latest plan upside down?
The move itself went okay. Your grandfather was upset at the rapidity of things but your uncle really pushed the envelope very, very hard. A bull in a china shop. But fortunately he did or we’d be in worse straits than we are now. Watching your grandparents go up and down stairs in a dimly lit house was agonizing; you saw that for yourselves a few weeks ago. I’m thinking of taking a leave of absence to go up there to attend to things, in part because your grandmother needs it and to ease the burden on your uncle who is closest to the action. Not certain how all of that will plan out but I’m looking into it today. I am still scheduled to be there June 4 – 10. The family room and kitchen and their bedroom has all been moved. As a practical matter, what remains is to simply start organizing the remaining items; tools, kitchenware, clothing, furniture, and other odds and ends. We haven’t even talked about readying the property for sale.
Before all of this came down I began to ask your grandfather again about our family past. I’ve included a recent newspaper clipping recounting his story from November 21, 1944 when his B-17 made a forced landing in Belgium. He was glad to talk about it. We also talked about his forebears; looks like his side of the family had its roots in North Carolina and we fought on the losing side of the Civil War. That’s why they ended up in Clark, Missouri as they pushed Westward after the great conflict. Reid, your grandfather thinks Gen. Omar Bradley is a first cousin of your great grandfather, Ed Bradley because they were both from the same neck of the rural woods in Missouri. We talked too, about how grandpa worked for a little paper in Ida Grove, Iowa before jumping to the Sundance Times and Crook County News in Wyoming. His pay in Ida Grove: $30 a month.
I’ll go for now, but keep your phones on for the latest updates. If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll answer them as best I can. We’ll get through this even if it’s not easy.