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Author Topic: Dr. Roger Mann, At 101 Still The Needle Man  (Read 2560 times)
Henry
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« on: February 01, 2013, 01:13:47 PM »


THE NEEDLE MAN

by William Skiff

From The Transcript, Volume 40 - Number 1 - January 31, 2013


As a young boy growing up on our farm in Cambridge it seemed like I was surrounded by needles. First there was the needle on the front of the family cook stove. Mother had me watch it and tell her when it reached the correct temperature to bake her bread. I think it was 375.

There were those elusive needles for the Victrola that went around the top of a record transferring sound to the speakers. If you dropped one while installing a replacement and it fell into the deep folds of a shag rug it was like looking for that needle in a haystack. Mother never let me get another one until I had found the one in the rug.

In my teen years, the needle on the dash of Dad's car showing the amount of gas left in the tank was important. I didn't want to run out and get stuck up on the Pleasant Valley Road after taking my date home
from a dance. Dad always wanted his car home on time and there was no leeway for problems.

The needle on Mom's sewing machine was a real pain in the neck. It required great eyesight and remarkable concentration when replacing it in her old Singer. It seemed my fingers were always a little bigger than the job called for. But if I wanted that new tie to be ready for the prom, I had to get it installed correctly.

Down in the basement of Cambridge High School there was a giant needle housed in a large round case with a glass face. It indicated the temperature of the water in the school's heating system. As the water became hotter the pressure in the system would build up. The gauge gave the Janitor, Mr. Thomas, an indication when the pressure was getting too high. Mr. Thomas asked us boys to keep an eye on it throughout the day as we went up and down to the bathroom - he said to tell him if it got too near the top. We felt important to be part of the safety system of the school.

Then there was ... The Needle Man, a story with it's own Point.

Dr. Roger Mann was a true Vermont country doctor. He did everything from fixing broken bones and dispensing cough syrup to delivering babies. Whatever you needed in the way of medical attention, Dr. Mann was
your man. He did it anyway, anywhere, any time. Sometimes he slept in his car while trying to make all his rounds. He didn't work eight hours in a town medical clinic; he came to your house to work his magic. Dr. Mann
made house calls. He went to where the problem was, not the other way around.

To me in my youth Dr. Mann was The Needle Man. When he came to treat me it seemed he always gave me a shot. He had this six-inch, dull, old needle that he would pull out of nowhere and jab into my quivering butt. "It will only hurt for a minute Billy," he would I say. Yea right! - If he had only let me take that needle out to dad's shop I and give it a turn or two I on the grindstone I could have made that point a lot sharper.

Do I sound like I was a cry baby? Well, I was - and even after 70 years, when it comes to needles t ... I admit, I still am. One time when I was sick, all it took was Dr. Mann t driving into the yard. I jumped out of bed and started getting dressed to prove to mother that I wasn't ill at all. No such luck: A quick check by the good doctor showed my temperature of 101- and I received the traditional shot for my troubles.

Last year I had the privilege of visiting Dr. Mann once again. It had been many years, but I found him in his old office on Maple Street in Jeffersonville. He was there with his daughter sorting out many of his first edition books in his rare book collection. They are now on shelves that cover his old office walls from floor to ceiling. At the time of my visit Dr. Mann was 101!

I told him it was the first time I had come to see him voluntarily, and this time I wasn't even afraid. He smiled that great comforting smile that said, "Billy don't worry. You are going to be alright."  I still never took
my eyes off his hands: I expected them at any time to reach behind his back and pull out that needle. I figured once a Needle Man always a Needle Man.

All in all, it was wonderful to see him again, that kind man who had cared for my brother, sister and I during all those years while we were growing up. Later he helped my parents as they began navigating their way through old age.

As I sat there with him I had a hard time holding back some tears because I suddenly realized what he had meant to my family and to the Town of Cambridge. I wanted to do something special for him but in the end I told him simply, "thank you, Dr. Mann for all you did for me."  From the expression on his face I think it was enough.  He was always a humble man.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 01:20:47 PM by Henry » Logged

Henry Raymond
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2013, 10:18:50 AM »

Thank you for a thoughtful and beautiful essay about an outstanding person.
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Henry
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2013, 10:48:55 AM »

When I was doing the Births For Fairfax, I ran across a lot of people who were born in Jeffersonville and Dr. Mann was the physician.
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Henry Raymond
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 11:05:23 AM »

Henry --- Thanks for posting -- Gramp and Gram, both went to Dr. Mann ( Raymond & Vera McNall ) ---  I went as a visitor on several occassions,  waiting in the 'lobby' of his office in Jeffersonville.    A remarkable man,  can you imagine his type of care in the 2010's ? 

Mike M -- Class of '77

 

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