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Dear FRONTLINE,

Your film really caught me off guard. TV was on, there was Hy. Hy was so much like my father. I cared for him for 28 years as a stroke/Altz patient in my home. My father was George Burns, great on delivery, and humor in everything! Watching your father reminded me of those times, my father, with the big cigar, the LOUD Hawaiian shirt, shorts with nobby knees. Always on. I didn't know how special he was until the comedy stopped. Hy reminded me of all the whacky good times. I saw my father through Hospice in my home so he even died, sense of humor in tact. Thank you for the gift of this film. I shall cherish the moments.

Linda LaFleur
corvallis, oregon


Dear FRONTLINE,

My mother died in December of 1998. She was experiencing Alzheimer's at the time. P0P moved me to remember what my mother was like. The film resonated because just as with Hy my mother's sense of humor remained intact as did her love of people. This was a moving tribute.

rita kunofsky
new york, ny


Dear FRONTLINE,

dear joel & sasha, Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us. I also cherish my parents...my father was a janitor for 35 years & he still takes care of our family.

angela rabuano
truro, ma


Dear FRONTLINE,

I want to thank you Mr. Meyerowitz for sharing your love for your father and his life through "Pop". I am 29 years old and when I watched the story of your father, I saw a lot of similarities in his personality to that of my grandfather. They both possess a grand sense of humor, an incredible charm and respect for people and a wife they loved very deeply. Throughout the program, I often laughed to myself, shook my head and said "that is something my Gramps would do or say". Unfortunately they also shared the disease Alzheimers. My grandparents had been married 67 years and I cannot remember a single day that she did not give him all the dignity he deserved while struggling with this disease. We lost my Gramps in September shortly followed 10 days later by my Gram. I want to thank you for sharing your father and giving him the dignity he deserves in such a real tribute to his life.

Deana Stranz
atlanta, ga


Dear FRONTLINE,

Traveling with this trio was like watching a film of my trip on the Natchez Trace with my mother several years ago, a trip she planned as she was entering her Alzheimer's years. I especially appreciated the scenes of the younger, vibrant father. It puts the image of the current person in perspective and makes him more real. Thanks.

Christine Canning
san antonio, texas


Dear FRONTLINE,

I really admire the patience you had with your father. You treated him with great respect. I lost my mother about two weeks ago to Alzheimer's disease. She had been showing constant symptoms for about two years. My brother and I cared for her at home until she broke her hip six months ago. After that, we felt we weren't capable of caring for her at home, and sadly, put her into a nursing home. This is a very heartbreaking disease. I hope everyone who has a relative or friend with Alzheimer's will try to be understanding and patient with that person. No one but the person with the disease knows how much he or she is suffering. You did a great job.

Betty

Betty Sutton
mt. olive, nc


Dear FRONTLINE,

Dear Mr. Meyerowitz,

In 1983, while I was a college student, I saw the "Cape Light" exhibition (in Boston, I think) and subsequently purchased the book. I have, over the years, spent hours revisiting and studying those lovely, shimmering photographs, and I am keenly aware that I can attribute much of my evolution as a photographer (mostly of Mississippi Delta landscapes) to the "lessons" that I learned from "Cape Light" vis-a-vis color and subject composition.

Fast forward to 1999. It's 1:00 a.m. and I'm unable to sleep, so I head to the living room, turn on the TV, and find myself watching PBS's re-broadcast of "Pop." What a sweet, loving, life-affirming (and somewhat melancholy) film .... My dad (whom I also call Pop) is still in good health, and we still see each other often (I live less than two miles from the house in which I grew up) and have a vibrant, lively relationship ... and yet I already find myself worrying about what the future holds for him and my mother as they grow older.

I think that kids who grow up, move off to college, and then forever leave behind their parents and their hometown have it easy, because they never fully discovery the pleasure of re-connecting with their parents after they become adults. Well, I know the joy of getting to know my parents, and part of me is already sad that I know that a time will come when they won't be here.

In any event, it was a privilege to have the chance to see "Pop," and I can only imagine that your father would be proud of you for the many messages offered by the film. I hope that I will not have to wait sixteen more years to be touched by another of your marvelous works ....

Steve Brandon
clarksdale, ms


Dear FRONTLINE,

I really want to thank you for your wonderful film. My mother passed away from breast cancer in February of 1996, and in October of 1996 I relocated to Ohio from California to help my roommate take care of his mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 6 months after we arrived (after we finally took her to the proper doctors). My roommate wanted to take care of his mother, and he could not afford to move and I could not afford to stay (we are both on Social Security Disability). With two disabled people taking care of a woman that has about the same level of Alzheimer's as your father did in the film... so it really helped us know that we have been doing things correctly... It has been a hard road being disabled (I am an incomplete paraplegic and my roommate has Cerebral Palsy), and being the only caregivers for a person with Alzheimer's but we do not regret it one little bit. Sometimes it is hard to see things when we are right in the middle of things... but looking at your film really allowed us to have a view of a perspective outside of where we are right now. Thank you very much for all the hard work you did in presenting what I am sure was a hard and personal subject for you.

God bless you,

John Benjamin Tatum

http://home.att.net/~JBT-DMC/index.html

John Benjamin Tatum
mansfield, ohio


Dear FRONTLINE,

Bravo! Thank you for sharing your family's story with us and for bringing publicity about this dreaded disease to the public's attention.

Your film should be required viewing for the doctors and politicians who don't seem to realize that if a cure is not found soon a national emergency will occur when the baby boom generation becomes afflicted with this illness.

Jay Schwartz
bronx, ny


Dear FRONTLINE,

Unlike most viewers, I was quite put off by the film which I felt would have been more aptly called "The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions". Although the filmmaker may have indeed really "seen" his father years before, he certainly wasn't seeing him, or his mother for that matter, at all at the time the film was made. I winced at all the questions to his father about what he remembered. It was so unfeeling and cruel, and clearly made tha father repeatedly uncomfortable. Or the son's inability to accept his father's desire to look on the ground for coins. Also, how did he not call his mother the first night? Of course she was angry and upset! I am hard put to think of a more hurtful thing to do to a woman who has spent every day, all day, caring for the man she loves and is worried about how he is doing. In my opinion, the filmaker projected his own views onto the situation---what he thought his parents should want. Of course his mother would want a break! No thought that she might be lonely --- I doubt he even considered what she would now spend her days doing. Of course his father would want to get away or see the old neighborhood (which he probably had forgotten -- a fact which would have to cause him pain). The whole thing "looked" caring, but was its exact opposite in my view. I know the filmaker meant well, but I found the result quite painful to his parents and quite painful to watch. Clearly the filmmaker felt otherwise.

Lynne Miller
philadelphia, pa


Dear FRONTLINE,

I enjoyed your excellent documentary, POP. What a wonderful tribute to your dad! My father, widowed now for 6 years, has also been diagnosed with probable Alzheimer's. At 89, he is still fairly independent, getting some help from me with paperwork, bills, doctor visits, etc. He and I have become closer during these years, and I have become more tolerant and patient. In bad situations, one can often find some good or learn a useful lesson. Your film portrayed your dad's difficulties with great sensitivity, humanity, and humor. I'm happy that you were able to take Dad on this important journey back to his early life; it seemed to "close the circle" for three generations in a very lovely way.

I look forward to seeing more of your high-quality documentary films in the future; I think we need them.

Jean Desmond
arlington, va


Dear FRONTLINE,

I watched your film, "Pop," last night on PBS with my two daughters, ages 11 and 12. (Their great-grandmother probably has Alzheimer's. We visit her often at the nursing home where she lives.) I fully expected the girls to watch a few minutes of "Pop" before drifting off to pursue other kid interests. As it turned out, none of us left the room. We were all fascinated by your story, enjoyed the moments of common experiences, and were touched by the loving bonds between father and son and grandson. We also laughed a lot. It was an hour well-spent. We liked your film very much, and thank you for the gift you made all of us by making it.

Sincerely, Kath Hale.

Kath Hale
sherwood, ar


Dear FRONTLINE,

I came upon your documentary by accident, but I am so glad I watched it. It was brilliant. What a truly wonderful tribute to such an extraordinary man. I was genuinely touched by what a wonderful human being your father was. He brought to mind the old cliche, "They don't make 'em like that anymore." Thank you for providing us with a glimpse of your terrific dad.

Robert Cordeiro
bellmore, new york


Dear FRONTLINE,

This was a wonderful tribute to LIFE in general! My grandmother was a victim of Alzheimer's, and although sad to watch, there was a certain joy and simplicity from her condition. I had forgotten about that part of her. SO, when I watch POP, I was seeing parts of my grandmother all over again, and I felt as though I had had a special reunion with her. You could see POP trying to pull thoughts from the bowels of his soul--trying to do right and be right. He was a very noble man. Also, seeing the clips of Joel's childhood--brought back very fond memories of my own NYC childhood.

WHat a pleasant way to spend an evening in front of the TV. Thank you so much.

Charlene Nolan
drexel hill, pa


Dear FRONTLINE,

I've always enjoyed Frontline, this time it touched me deeply. It brought to life the memories of my Step Grandfathers on going illness with Parkinsons. My mother and I took care of him and felt the pain of helplessness that Mr. Joel Meyerowitz must of felt. Untill now those memories have been buried inside, safe. But after the show, I started discussing it with my own kids. (I remember a strong man, only to see him fade away phyically. And yet strong in memory and wit.)Yet the end came in the late 80's. After that I moved away from the Town I called home. Mother and I still talk about it. And the flipside of it Allsheimers takes the soul away, and Parkinsons takes the man away. Mr. Meyerowitz, I'll remember you as I do my Grandfather.

Fermin Nunez
mesa, az


Dear FRONTLINE,

"pop" and joel just disappeared under the bridge and I am weeping with joy and sadness. My own father died 10 years ago from Alzheimer's and as I learn more about how to communicate, to listen, to open up to let the person out of the Alzheimer's prison, I miss my dad. I wish I had had the patience to laugh with him, let him ramble, let him be important again, and real.

There was some of that in our visits. We took him to Hawaii once, which was no vacation for Mom, but she insisted. One stunning afternoon, driving through the unmistakable tropical grandeur of Kauai, Dad, quite unaware of his surroundings, suddenly spoke up. "Mommy," he said, "I don't think I want to go to Ha-wa-ya."

The humor, the tears, the amazing hallucinations and the sudden, crystal clear observations. I remember it so well but I never thought I would miss it. Thank you, Joel Meyerowitz, for showing the world how to "rejuvenate" the person inside. I hope many are inspired to more humane and loving care of their family members with dementia.

Thank you for bringing back these memories of my dad tonight. I am really touched.

candace laska
portland, or

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