In And Around Hannibal: September 29, 2012

by Rita Hooper 

This week, an era came to an end in Hannibal. After 53 years, Dr. Arena has closed his office door for the last time.

Doc Arena moved to Hannibal in November of 1959 and has faithfully maintained his medical practice to those of us in the Hannibal area. When he first came to town he did everything, even delivering babies!

Though born in Brooklyn, he and his family moved to Fulton when he was a young lad of five. After graduating high school in Fulton, and a year stint in the army, he went to NYU on his path to becoming a medical doctor.

In 1956, he graduated from the Rome Faculty of Medicine in Italy where he obtained his medical degree. He did his internship and residency at Rochester General Hosital in Rochester. He went back to NYU and did a post-graduate year of study at their College of Medicine. He’s moved his office three times while remaining in Hannibal. He was on the attending staff at Lee Memorial and the courtesy staff at Oswego Hospital. He has watched as medicine went from yellow pad to computer, the hospital to an urgent care center and to the hospital, staffed by hospitalists.

Aside from his dedication to his patients, he will probably be most remembered for the displeasure he would display to patients who did not do what he told them to do.

Willis Cook used to delight in telling me the story of walking into Doc’s office and putting the phone in the waste paper basket – when Doc looked at him qith questioning eyes, Willis simply said – “I thought I’d save you the trouble.”

I remember when I called him one night probably after 10, when my infant was running a high temp – he bellowed at me “how do you know he has a temp?” I was new to town but had heard of Doc by his reputation so I bellowed back, “cause I took it.”

I never told him I lied and hadn’t really taken his temp but a mother knows things like that. After that, we treated each other with mutual respect. I appreciated that he would take calls after hours and if you called his office, he’d often answer the phone himself. Doc was never hesitant to make referrals.

As a patient at the hospital, you knew he would see you at least once and usually twice a day. He kept his distance but many in this town thought of him as family. Curmudgen would be a good word to describe him… I bet every one if his patients has stories to tell.

On behalf of a grateful community Doc Arena, we wish you well in your next adventure! You will be missed!

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Received a note this week from Town Supervisor Ron Greenleaf. If you are interested in serving on a new committee to seek and promote new businesses and to bring new families to town, Ron and members of the town board would like to hear from you.

He also mentioned that several folks had approached him regarding bringing natural gas to Hannibal. If this is of interest to you, please let Ron know so that they can determine the interest and where the people are that would like it, before they approach National Grid.

The Hannibal Fire Company’s will be hosting their breakfast buffet Sunday beginning at 8 a.m. at the fire house on Oswego Street. Menu includes pancakes, French toast, bacon, sausage, eggs, home fries, toast, sausage gravy and biscuit.

The Senior Meals Program will be meeting this Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon for lunch. The menu includes Italian sausage on a roll with onions and peppers, baked beans, corn, cookie on Monday; tuna salad sandwich, homemade cream soup, juice, cookie on Wednesday; and ham steak, scalloped potatoes, green beans and fruit on Friday. For reservations call Rosemary at 564-5471. They meet at the Senior Center, in the same building as the Library.

Rosemary is busy preparing for the Hawaiian Candlelight Dinner Oct. 10 from 5 – 7 p.m. to be held at the fire department with a great menu, entertainment, and door prizes. This year’s theme is a Hawaiian one. Give Rosemary a call now and reserve your spot.

The Hannibal Jammers will be meeting this Monday at 7 p.m. at the American Legion on Rochester Street.

Home and School will meet Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the Kenney Middle School.

TOPS will meet at Our Lady of the Rosary Wednesday at 5:45 p.m.

The Hannibal Methodist Church hosts a free chili and soup lunch Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. Good food and good people to talk with. Take-outs available.

In other news, the Hannibal Historical Society celebrated the 33rd anniversary of the approval of its Constitution Sept. 24. The Constitution has had only two revisions in 33 years and is once again in need of an update. Jack Pope has agreed to chair the Constitution Committee, and is looking for help. If you are interested in viewing a small piece of Hannibal History and helping us bring it up to date, call Jack at 564-3079.

Hannibal Sports Schedule

• Homecoming Friday: Varsity soccer vs. Cazenovia

• Homecoming Saturday: Varsity football game and chicken barbecue at 1 p.m.

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