Guest column Bruce Watson: Calling on ‘the village’ to help an old friend

Monday, November 11, 2019

For nearly 30 years, Robert Green and his wife have quietly gone about their business in downtown Amherst. Their unique establishment, Amherst Typewriter and Computing on North Pleasant Street, has drawn curious pedestrians who stop to admire sidewalk displays of old typewriters, dial phones and other relics of the recent past.

Anyone who ventured in was treated, as I always was, with a memorable mix of nostalgia, tech savvy and friendship. But now Mr. and Mrs. Green, as I have always called them, need our help.

For several months, Amherst Typewriter and Computing has been closed, with just a scrawled note on the door offering an e-mail contact. The note says nothing about the problems the Greens are having.

Robert Green, 75, suffered a stroke and now has prostate cancer. His wife, Dorothy, has ALS. Since last October, they have bounced around assisted living facilities from Worcester County to points west. Slipping through the chasms of our medical system, they have been drained of resources and confused by bureaucracy. They have been booted from some facilities, transferred to others far away, and left with little hope of ending this nightmare.

I have given the Greens contact numbers for senior advocates, but Mr. Green has had problems finding such help. The Greens’ plight makes is clear that the old phrase “it takes a village” applies to both children and seniors. Hence, I am seeking help from the “village” of Amherst.

If there is anyone willing to help the Greens with senior advocacy or with advice on navigating the Massachusetts senior care system, I urge them to contact me. I will forward their contact information directly to Mr. Green.

And if anyone cares to offer financial help, that, too can be funneled through me or sent directly to Mr. Robert Green, P.O. Box 1009, Amherst, MA, 01004.

We all hope to see Amherst Typewriter and Computug open again soon. In the meantime, I will never forget my first visit there. I had my 1-year-old daughter in my arms. Mr. Green looked at me, and with that Georgia drawl, said, “You got a long way to go.”

Seventeen years later, after many other visits, I took the graduating Elena back in the store and reminded him of what he had said. We remain friends, bonded by time and old typewriters.

Bruce Watson can be reached at breadandroses22@yahoo.com.