Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e at 90
March 8, 2012
Dear President Obama, Sir:
Months ago I called you, wrote you, pleaded with your Chicago assistants, and hoped to hear your response to a 90-year-old man's suggestions.
With due respect, I'm trying again, Sir, with some new additions tagged on for your current, tough life's, zig/zag road.
Surprise. I ask for nothing. I'm suggesting. Please, take a brief look for yourself. November's a-coming, again.
When I heard your first State of the Union address I was praying that your choice of subjects would include the backbone of your successful campaign. Namely, "Change." A subject that I don't believe any other President has ever laid out so wisely for his new constituency.
I was hoping that you would focus in on the gals and guys managing itty-bitty businesses on the Main Streets of America, Yes, sir! The butcher, the baker and the pizza maker. Not to forget the people who I’ve spent my life with -- the furniture retailer, the start-up furniture manufacturer, and the interior designer!
The last time I checked out their number at the reference desk of our public library there were close to 5,000,000 doors. Wow-e-e!
And the number does not include their spouses, their kids nor the grandmas and grandpas that are always volunteering to help out during a popping crisis of good or bad business. Nor do they include floating part-timers and after-school collegiates that share the evening kitchen table discussions at the end of a twelve-hour business day.
I believe that if there are fiscal injections to be dished out by Washington there couldn't be a better bundle of arms to needle than those of these "little" guys and dolls. Arms of citizens who vote, care, and talk up their government. These are the people who support their communities and their local governments all across America.
So I say again, if there are going to be tax exemptions or loans distributed by Washington there couldn't be a better segment of American business to choose from.
And you could be pretty sure that the hard-earned taxpayer bucks sent back from DC wouldn't end up as corporate bonuses.
Another down-to-earth thought, Mr. President:
I further feel that this group could be a major slice of every-day, on-the-job working citizenship that is "in touch" with Washington. They could be a natural constituency for you, in "natural touch" with Main Street business America. They should be asked questions and listened to because they have their shoes on the ground with working mud splash.
And don't forget their "kids." Kids who are born to "the business." The business of buying and selling; the business of warehouse storage; the business of truck-home deliveries and the business of small people that are ten feet tall. Real business that are not represented by NY "paper" stock markets.
College kids? You can bet on them. They're the gut percentage of our state colleges. Young ones who are listening, swamped with natural instincts and anxious to get into the "real" Washington flow of political life. Find them. They're waiting for a "real" political messiah that they can hook-up onto.
They're the stuff that your friend, Warren Buffet, is made of. Of course, they're not billionaires but their heads and hearts are in the right place. And Mr. Buffet didn't start out on the pinnacle. He's a citizen Mensch.
One more point, Sir,
There is a need for educational opportunities that are very flexible for the temp-working segment. They need easy to reach classes; easy to participate with understanding teachers; and low-cost enough to afford. Such an effort from DC would not only serve the education hunger of young, drop-out Americans but would also serve the older slice of America which is wandering, wondering and in the need for employment income.
So-o-o. Mr. President, with respect, I also suggest: A 4R Educational Program on Main Street designed specifically for sidewalk, pushcart-pushers and working part-timers. For school dropouts and even for green-card immigrants longing to rub shoulders and share desks with volunteering, caring! Senior citizens who want to pass their learning strength on to young Americans and not to hospitals.
Yes! Basic old time 3-R's: Reading, 'Riling, 'Rithmatic with a shmear of honest Retail Thinking. That's it. Sir.
Thanks for listening, Sir.
Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90
PS: Best regards to Mrs. Obama
Questions? Comments? e-mail Grandpa Mike-e-e! at email@example.com
About Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90) Columnist, Retailer, Author, Composer-Lyricist, Playwright.
- Emigrated to U.S. with parents at age 3; Graduated high school at 16; Managed a retail/manufacturer at 18.
- Joined Tootsie Rolls/Sweets Corp. of America at 19 as Assistant to V.P. Purchasing.
- Joined US Army Signal Corp-Communications; Selected for (ASTP) Army Specialized Training Program, Rutgers U. Qualified for Officer Candidate School and graduated as Second Lieutenant, Personnel Division in 1944 at 23.
- Married his sweetheart, Anita, and gives thanks to the Almighty that they are still sweethearts… after 74 years.
- Rejoined Tootsie Rolls Corp as Director of Personnel at 24 (500 employees).
- Joined widowed sister, as President of retail/manufacturing company in 1946. Stayed on for 46 years managing and custom designing over 20,000 children's rooms.
- Graduated Hofstra U (evenings) in 1968 at age 47... before all his three kids, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren graduated with their degrees.
- Answered 30 day, temporary columnist advertisement by Reed Business Newspapers (Furniture Today) and stayed on for 27 years. Columns were sold from Bangladesh to Belgium to Beijing to Brooklyn. Admitted to the Writers Hall of Fame for "Conspicuous Excellence In reports and appraisals of the Furniture Industry." Visited with 3rd/4th generation retail owners throughout the US. Retired from retail after 55 years of management.
- At age 72: Published his first hardcover book: "Where's The Green Pea?" with vegetable characters in color, original music and lyrics on cassette. Designed programs for primary and pre-K schools and presented them with Grandma Anita, his partner.
- At age 76: Published hardcover book/ with color: "Gee! I Wish I Had A Bedroom That Was All My Own" presented at middle schools with tech info for parents planning a student bedroom. Included outlines for teachers and students in Home Sciences.
- At age 80: Published hardcover book with color of unique art: "Tzedakah Of Caring and Sharing". A classic original with music for high school chorales. Ossining HS drama staged it and lona College sponsored a presentation as "American Fruit Salad".
- At age 88: Published on-line book "Retail Life: How To Get In, Stay Alive and L-o-v-e it" for college students, with versions for industry, business schools and entrepreneurs. Includes section for "Wise Women Who Love A Career Challenge", business professors and career students seeking everyday practical trade experience and business thinking .
- Invited to address retail salespersons, customers, Furniture Designer Associates ; I.H.F.R.A. sales associations, High Point U. students and F.I.T. retailer sessions.
- At Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90: Writes a weekly column for entrepreneurs, sales representatives and furniture management personnel in Furniture World - a trade publication for 140 years.
- Grandpa can't play an instrument nor read music. But you can see and hear his You Tube music video starring him with his granddaughter Becca at: http://bitly.coni/qALkrX.
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