When I was growing up we lived on a shady street in the Bronx. Several doctors and dentists had offices on our block and my dad was one of them. He was a GP who practiced on the ground floor of our three-story house and we lived on the two upper floors “over the store”. (See Fluffy, or How I Got My Dog, and The Corpse in the Office)
For many years a dentist named Ben rented space in my dad’s office. Ben was a wonderfully kind and gentle man, and he and his wife Eleanor became my folks’ lifelong friends, and Ben of course became our family dentist.
Then at some point Ben took a larger office down the street in a house with a beautiful chestnut tree in the front yard.
One day when I was 9 or 10 I went down the block to Ben’s office for my dental appointment and he told me I had a cavity – my first! He said he’d give me laughing gas to relax me while he filled it.
Laughing gas sounded like fun and I sat still while his nurse put a mask over my nose. Then Ben told me to lie back in the chair and look out the window at the chestnut tree.
I did, and Ben filled that first cavity.
Ben was my dentist until I moved out of my parents’ house, and over the years I’ve had a few others. All of them have been nice guys and fine dentists – but none gave me laughing gas, or had a beautiful chestnut tree I could see from the dental chair.
And none will ever be as dear to me as Ben.
Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!