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July 27, 1977 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-07-27

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U.S. retirees in Poland: Life of Reilski

Pacific News Service
"Sure, there are long lines at
the market. But I'd rather wait
in line for meat with money in
my pocket here in Poland than
be back in the States where
there's plenty of meat, no
lines . . and no money for
buying," says 73-year-old Casi-
mer Nowacki, one of some 10,000
retirement-aged Americans now
living in Poland.
"And medical care. Recently
I had a tumor. The doctor gave

me all sorts of tests and said it
had to be removed. So I went to
the hospital-surgery and three
days recovery. So what was the
bill? For everything, 62 zloty
($1.31) a day. You can't even
call a doctor on the phone in
the States for that amount,"
adds Nowacki, who spent 65
years in America before return-
ing to Poland.
NOWACKI'S LOVE affair with
Poland is not unlike that of a
growing number of "reverse

The Michigan Daily
Editfed and managed by Students of the
University of Michigan
Wednesday, July 27, 1977
News Phone: 764-0552
Heed UDs warning;e
nix CDBG funds for park
TrlE DEPARTMENT of Housing and Urban Develop-
ments' (HUD) caution to the city, concerning the
possible misuse of Community Development Block Grant
(CDBG) runds, is proof that City Council ought to re-
consider its priorities for the use of these important
federal, funds.
The CDBG funds are given to the city by the federal
government for use as the city deems important. In ac-
cepting the funds, the city pledges itself to give the
highest priority to activities that primarily benefit low
income persons or eliminate slums or blight.'
We can't argue that the development of a structural
park in downtown Ann Arbor is not a nice idea. The
upside down horseshoe and the grassy knoll would add
a pleasant landscaping diversion to the area.
But can the members of Council, who voted to over-
ride Mayor Wheeler's veto of the project explain how a
park improves the safety and welfare, the housing, or
the community services for the low income citizens of
the area.
a low income family on the waiting list for funds
to rehabilitate their home who have been told that funds
are not available because the CDBG source has been
Or what of the waiting list of low income families
and senior citizens seeking public housing in Anri Arbor,
some of whsom have been on the list since 1973. A new
park certainly wouldn't improve their lot.

emigres"-first and second gen-
eration Polish - Americans w h o
return to their native country to
live the gnd life, sually on
U.S. Social Security checks.
"There may not be the num-
bers coming in we had five
years ago, but the total con-
tinues to grow." savs Richard
Milton, U.S. Embassy consul in
Today Poland ranks fnurth-
after Mexico, Israel and Italy-
in the n'tmber of Social Security
c h e c k s received by resident
American nensioners.
Some 6,00 Social Security
checks are distributed monthly
in Wartaw and at consular of-
fices in other cities. They con-
stitute the lion's share of the
estimated $45 million in hard
currency that Polish-Americans
annually pump into the Polish
"THERE'S NO doubt that
many of these people can live
better here on their pensions
than they could in the States,"
admits Milton.
"Many have close family ties
as well. They really aren't af-
fected by the politics and as re-
tired people they have the time
needed to wait in the inevitable
The majority of the Polish-
Americans here are working
class people of modest means
receiving between $111 and $400.
a month in Social Security.
Americans coming to Poland
are able to purchase modern
apartments for between $4-5,000,
are given access to the nearly
free health care system and re-
ceive a variety of other bene-
fits, including inexpensive travel
on Polish ships throughout the
To encourage continued im-
migration, the government is
even building a sort of retire-
ment village for returning Poles,
to be completed by 1910.

Americans here are almost
unanimous in extolling the vir-
tues of retirement in Poland.
"WE HAVE a good life here,
better than in America," says
Mrs. Wincent Mietowski, who
arrived from Gary, Ind., a year-
and-a-half ago.
Senri'v-frrm high medical,
sd and livina costs, and also
from (rime-r -ks high asa
,r-on for co'in. and staying.
"Trohlns" asks a former.
tsloninn. "ThIra's trouble. in
Amarirne cities. There are trou-
bles in Tehanon and Ireland and
the Virnin Tslands. But there's
no troahe here. Old people are
safn. Tn vet resnected here."
TW'SPTTS( TTIE a'steritv, food
sip-rtas, anda communist gov-k
ernment, Americans find life
here decidedly more "Western"
than in most East Bloc -coun-
tries. American periodicals are
plentiful, travel outside Poland
is easy and the Catholic Church
continues to thrive.
Says a woman from Hartford,
Conn., "When I first came here
to visit in 1967, I was afraid I'd
be put in jail or something. All
we had heard for years was
how bad it was under the com-
jnunists, especially from the Po-
lish-American Congress (a con-
servative pressure group). But
then I saw it wasn't so bad and
I decided to come back and
For those with additional in-
comes life can be very comfor-
table. U.S. Army Col. Stanley
Alexander (Ret.), fiormerly of
New Orleans and Buffalo, came
to Poland several years ago. He
has acquired a beautiful, mod-
ern apartment with a pano-
ramic view of Warsaw; a young,
attractive wife; a summer home
on the Baltic and a reputation
as a lavish entertainer.

doing research on American re-
tirees, says she has found no
resentment of Americans among
native Poles, but rather curios-
ity, coupled with a vague feeling
that "it is strange that Ameri-
cans - universally regarded as
rich--feel they have to come to
Poland to be comfortable in re-
The number of aged retirees
has puit some strains on the
government's free health care
system, and has created prob-
lems for the U.S. consular staff.
A U.S. official in Poznan says
that "senility is becoming a
problem we have to deal with
more and more."
But, ironically, the most press-
ing problem today comes from
the U.S. government, which is
phasing out a system which, in
effect, subsidized the amount of
zlotys retirees received in ex-
change for their Social Security
Until a few years ago, U.S.
pensioners received 60 zlotys to
the dollar when they exchanged
their checks. Today they get 45
to one, and by Jan. 1, 1978, the
rate will drop to33 tO one.
THE HIGHER exchange rate
was due to a surplus of zlotys
acquired by the U.S. from a
Food for Peace program in the
1950s. Now, that surplus has
been used up and Americans
will be paid the same rate as
pensioners from other countries.
For those receiving the mini-
mum Social Security payment,
the lower rate will pose a prob-
lem. But for most, the lure of
homeland remains strong.
Says Taddeus Ryback of De-
troit, who recently visited War-
saw, "It is hard to explain, but
I sometimes feel I must return
to Poland. The older I get, the
stronger the feeling. It is the
land of my fathers; it is my
home even as the United States
is my home."

Health Serice .Handbook


& ,

QUESTION: What c a u s e s
moles? Are they dangerous? In
the past 6 months or so I've got-
ten a whole lot of new moles.
Are they anything to worry
ANSWER: Dr. Paul Seifert,
being a leading authority on
moles and other such creatures,
was tempted to answer that
what causes moles is Daddy and
Mommy moles. However, real-
izing, at the last moment, the
medical nature of the queston,
he presents the following learn-
ed answer:
A "mole" or "birthmark" is
the commonest b e n i g n tumor
in human beings. The average
person has approximately 20 of
these lesions scattered over the
body surface. Moles are present
at birth but may not beaome
apparent until later in life often
in response to certain stimuli
such as sun exposure, preg-
nancy or exposure to drugs such
as estrogens found in birth con-
trol pills.
The concern generated by
these lesions comes of the fact
that although the potential for
any given mole becoming ma-,
lignan is very low, approxi-
mately 50 per cent of malignant
melanomas (a very dangerous
and aggressive skin cancer) do
appear to arise from pre-exist-
ing m o1 e s. Consequently, it is
important for everyone to be
aware of the changes in moles
that c o u 1 d represent danger.
These include:
" Increase in size or pigmen-

! Itching or pain
* Irritation or discomfort in-
dtced by shoesecollars, bra
straps, shaving, etc.
* Bleeding, crusting infection
of ulceration
* Elevation and enlargement
of a flat lesion
0 Development of "s a t e 1-
1 i t e s," i.e., small pigmented
lesions appearing adjacent to a
previously present mole
In general, moles are more
likely to become malignant in
blond individuals. Also, moles in
certain locations such as on the
feet, genitals or beneath the
nails, are particularly danger-
In light of the information out-
lined above, the most important
point to be made is that although
a cancerophobic attitude (fear of
cancer) about moles is not jus-
tified, a realistic approach to
questionable lesions is manda-
tory. Excision of all of a per-
son's moles is neither practical
nor necessary. Excisional biopsy
(complete removal of the lesion
with microscopic analysis of the
removed tissue by a pathologist)
of suspicious moles, on the
other hand, may be life saving.
When in doubt, see a physician.
Moles and' melanomas will not
go away by themselves but an-
xiety about them will with a
simple outpatient surgical pro-
cedure done promply when in-
-QUESTION: I have no time to
prepare nourishing breakfasts or,
lunch, so .I usually go without.
As a result. I often find myself

my studies and my health?
ANSWER: Never put yourself
is a compromising position!
Both good health and good
grades are practically within
your grasp with these words of
wisdom from Ms. Irene Hieber,
our Health Serive nutritionist.
"Your dizziness and weakened
condition are likely due to the
fact that your cells are not get-
ting the glucose required to fur-
nish you with energy. Further-
more, protein is essential to pro-
vide you with the amino acids
necessary for rebuilding cells
which are constantly in need of
There are some liquid meals
which w o u I d provide nourish-
ment quickly like eggnog, sego,
etc. You could also eat fruit and
cheese, cereal with milk, or
roasted n u t s, sunflower seeds
and soybeans with yogurt, all of
which n e e d little preparation.
Peanut butter or cheese sand-
wiches can be made in advance
and carried in your back pack.
(If you do not own a back pack,
please do not feel constrained to
purchase one. We condone any
convenient toting approach you
may desire.) Many of the foods
suggested can be easily eaten
between your earliest classes or
perhaps during a break. It is
better to eat on the run than not
to be nourished at all."
Why not try some of these
suggestions and let our nutri-
tionist know how you're doing?
Send any questions on health
related concerns to:

Y .00

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