Author Archives: annecwoodlen

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2

The Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song


Pandora is playing “(Hey, Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” sung by BJ Thomas. It is a hot summer day and we are having a drink in a little bar out in the middle of nowhere in … Continue reading

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To My Friend, a Physician


I don’t know how to approach you, what to say, what not to say. I want to be friendly, cheerful, optimistic. I want to be a valued asset in your life, even though I feel that I have absolutely nothing … Continue reading

Posted in chronic fatigue, Depression, disability, drugs, Government Services, homeopathic, Medicaid, Medical care, Pharmaceuticals, physician | Leave a comment

Arresting Annie?


So I went out my apartment door around 9:15 a.m. on Saturday morning and saw a medium-sized carton sitting in front of my neighbor’s door. My neighbor hasn’t been in residence for months so I went over to take a … Continue reading

Posted in disability, drugs, HUD-subsidized housing, Pharmaceuticals, Poverty, Power, Powerlessness | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dana, Bed Bugs and Related Management


Dana Natale, manager, McCarthy Manor Ms Natale was an exemplary manager. Her job put her in the middle between HUD, with its enormous load of regulations and ever-increasing number of forms to be filled out, and 176 tenants, almost all … Continue reading

Posted in disability, Government Services, Housing, HUD-subsidized housing, Poverty, Power, Powerlessness | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Centro and the Smoke Alarm


This morning I learned that in November 2013 a palliative-care nurse practitioner testified at a hearing that with my glucose level as high as it was, I would be dead within six months. Here I still am. I’ve been counted … Continue reading

Posted in Call-a-Bus, Centro, chronic fatigue, disability, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

$71? You’ve Got to be Kidding.


It is 7:25 a.m. and the sun is peering bleakly through a haze. The temperature is eight but feels like -12. It is predicted to go up to a blazing 11 degrees this afternoon. “Niagara Falls freezes over” is today’s … Continue reading

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A Day in the Life of an Activist


It is 7:23 a.m. and the sun is rising over Syracuse; the temperature is zero. I always find zero a particularly dispiriting temperature, rather like a flat line on an EKG: everything has come to a halt; life is over. … Continue reading

Posted in activism, Call-a-Bus, Centro, disability rights, Government Services, Housing, HUD-subsidized housing, Poverty, Power, power wheelchairs, Powerlessness, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment