Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e at 90)
Mr. President, Sir:
When I heard your first State of the Union address I was praying that your choice of subject would include the backbone of your succesful campaign, namely, "Change." A subject that I don't believe any other President has ever laid out so wisely for his new constituency.
I was hoping that you would focus in on the gals and guys managing itty bitty businesses on the Main Streets of America. Yes, sir! The butcher, the baker and the pizza maker. Not to forget the gardener, the furniture stylist, the plumber, the florist and the beauticians down the block just to name a very few. The last time I checked out their number at the reference desk of our public library there were close to 5,000,000. Wow-e-e!
And this number doesn't include their spouses, their kids nor the grandpas and grandmas that are always volunteering to help out during a sudden plus or minus sales crisis. Nor do they include floating part-timers and after-school juniors that share the evening, kitchen table discussions at the end of a normal, twelve hour business day.
I also claim that if there are fiscal injections to be dished out by Washington there couldn't be a better bundle of arms to needle than those of these little guys and dolls. Arms of citizens who vote, care and talk up their government's needs at the barber and beauty parlor. Arms of little business America that couldn't be more responsive to a national call. Arms of American guys and dolls that think as individuals and vote in an American caring way.
So I say again, if there are going to be tax exemptions or loans distributed by Washington there couldn't be a better slice of American business to choose from. A segment that would reflect the highest quality, endurance and experience of individual, local business.
And the hard-earned bucks sent them by D.C. wouldn't end up as pinnacle management, corporate bonuses earmarked as non-taxable.
Another thought, Mr.President:
I further feel that this group represents a major slice of every-day, on-the-job working citizens "in touch" with Washington. They are their own "in touch" grass root lobbyists. They can evaluate our country's needs because their feet are on the ground and don't flap with imaginary wings.
And they have "kids." Kids reared in business. The business of buying and selling; the business of warehousing; the business of home deliveries and the experiences of small people that are ten foot tall.
Colleges kids? You can bet on it. They're the gut percentage of our hardworking state colleges. Young ones who listen; are swamped with business instincts and anxious to get into the Washington flow of political life. Find them because when they're talking about a shopping price they're talking about Wal-Mart and not Wall Street. And when they're searching out vegetable prices they're quoting the local organic farm and not a ticker tape.
Yes! They're also searching for a political messiah.
One more point, Sir.
There is need for educational opportunities that are flexibly designed for the up/down temp working segment. Easy to find; easy to participate in and low-cost enough to afford. Such an effort would not only serve the education hunger of young Americans but would also serve the older citizen who is willing, wondering, wandering and lost in the up/down employment maze.
So-o-o, Mr.President, with respect, I suggest:
A 4R Beginners Educational Program on Main Street for sidewalk pushcart pushers, for school dropouts, and yes! green-card immigrants longing to be taught. Senior-citizen teachers who just don't want to retire would relish saying "yes!"
Yes! To old time 4-R's: Reading, 'Riting, 'Rithmatic with a shmear of Retail Thinking.
Thanks for listening, Sir. I appreciate your taking the time.
Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90
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About Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e!)
Retailer, author, columnist, lecturer, composer and lyricist.
Came to US with immigrant parents in 1924 at the age of three.
Graduated high school at 16.
Managed a small bedding retail and manufacturing company at 18 in 1939.
Hired as Assistant to the VP of Purchasing (Sweets Corp. of America... approximately 500 employees) in 1940 at 19.
Drafted into US Army Signal Corp - Communications Personnel Div., Fort Monmouth.Tested and selected for Army Specialized Training Program, Rutgers University. Qualified for O.C.S. - Officer Candidate School and graduated as Second Lieutenant, Inventory/ Personnel Division in 1944 at 23.
Married his sweetheart, Anita, and he gives thanks to the Almighty that they are still sweethearts... after 73 years.
Rejoined Sweets Corp as Director of Personnel in 1945 at 24.
Joined his suddenly widowed sister as President of a small retail/ manufacturing company in 1946. Stayed on for 46 years managing the custom designing of over 20,000 childrens rooms and master bedroom beds.
Attended Hofstra University (evening program), and graduated in 1968 at age 47. Two of his kids followed right along at two other college campuses.
Applied for 30 day temporary columnist opening offered by the Reed Business Newspapers in NC and stayed on for 27 years. His retail columns were distributed everywhere from Brooklyn to Bangladesh, to Belgium to Beijing.
Traveled the US and visited with 3rd/ 4th generation retail owners.
He was admitted to the Writers Hall of Fame for, "Conspicuous Excellence In reports and appraisals of the furniture industry."
Retired from retail management at age 70.
BOOKS: (1) At age 72: published first book "Where's The Green Pea?" vegetable character stories including his original music and CD.
Designed programs for primary and pre-K schools and presented them with his Anita. (2) At age 76: Gee! I Wish I Had A Bedroom All My Own," lectured in middle schools (teenage), with tech info for parents, teachers and students in Home
Science. (3) At age 80: Tzedakah - Caring And Sharing classic book with original music CD and illustrations for high school chorales and drama groups.
At 89 -- published Retail Life: How To Get In, Stay Alive a-n-d Love It! in online and printed version for business schools, industry, and entrepreneurs. Includes how-to educational section for "Wise Women Who Love A Challenge" and "Oldtimer Retailers Who've Missed Some Basic Goodies In Business Promotion. Also provides business professors and career students seeking everyday practical trade experiences and business thinking.
Invited to address Levitz Furniture retail salespersons, Furniture Designer Associate members,
IHFRA sales associations, High Point University students and F.I.T. retailer evening sessions. Also accepted as an ASID associate member.
At 90 plus... is a musical playwright, composer and lyricist with original music and thinking for very young and very old America.