R5 Letters to the Editor, March 2013

No Laughing Matter
In your December issue, in the article on standup comics, one of your subjects is quoted in bold letters: “If you’re an adult and you can’t master the blanket and the phone, you should just kill yourself.”

The facts about suicide threats and actual attempts are anything but funny. A recent study found that one in 25 US teens has attempted suicide. The study goes on to report, “Just over 12 percent of the teens had thought about suicide. Four percent had made a suicide plan and four percent had attempted suicide.” (news.msn.com/us/1-in-25-us-teenagers- has-attempted-suicide-study-finds).

As board members of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (borderlinepersonalitydisorder.com), one of the facts we share with families struggling with this disorder is that 5 percent of those diagnosed will successfully commit suicide. A comical suggestion to “just kill yourself” is no joking matter.
Matt and Ann Costello
NEA.BPD Board Members

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Who Was Elias Johnson?
Here at Kensico Cemetery, we immediately recognized the photograph on the cover of your January 2013 issue, for we have its duplicate in our archives. The gentleman pictured to the left of John D. Rockefeller is Elias M. Johnson, one of the first presidents of Kensico Cemetery and the one who introduced Rockefeller to the game of golf. 

Johnson certainly fit author Nathan Laliberte’s description of the privileged gentry of the Gilded Age: he was a wealthy industrialist who, like Rockefeller and Gould, recognized the potential of Westchester County as a respite from the crowds and clamor of Manhattan. It’s that vision of a pastoral retreat that inspired Johnson and colleagues to establish Kensico Cemetery (the largest rural cemetery in Westchester County) in 1889 along the New York Central Railroad in Valhalla.

Laliberte writes: “Many of the relics of the Gilded Age have also gone the way of scrap.” Yet today, almost 125 years later, Kensico Cemetery continues as a place of quiet beauty for the burial of loved ones and a permanent monument to the entrepreneurial spirit of Elias M. Johnson and the Gilded Age.
Chester S. Day, President
The Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla

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