My dad practiced for over fifty years in Stamford, CT, out of a home office attached to our house. I used to ride up and down on the dental chair as he cleaned up after a long day. Whenever I had a school project to make, my dad was right there with his acrylics and dental drills to gerry-rig the device so it would work. But most importantly, I got a sense of the care, devotion, and attention to detail he demonstrated in serving his patients. His practice was his calling. Dad only recently retired, although he’s been cutting his hours back over the years. I think he wanted to be the oldest dentist in Connecticut, but at (a spry) 81, the best he could do was second place. My Uncle Stanley is still going strong at 83!
My Grandpa Hy practiced down the street from his house on Foster Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. During WWII, he rode a bike to the office each morning, came home for lunch, back to the office, home for dinner, and back again to see more patients. He would have fit right in here in Portland! He was retired by the time I came along, but my memories of his intellectual curiosity, diligence, and care for others, convinces me he must have been an outstanding dentist as well. Plus, a lot of the fillings he did for my mom are doing just fine more than half a century later!
Dad tells me that when he was first starting out, Grandpa was shocked by my dad’s exorbitantly high fee schedule. Grandpa had never charged over $2.00 for a filling! Dad said he wasn’t fast enough to make a living at two bucks a filling, so he had to charge $4.00. I guess I’m not fast enough either, because I’ll have to charge a little more than that, even!
So what about me? Well, I must have been a “rebel” because I didn’t jump in to the family tradition at first. After graduating from Cornell, I got a Masters in Education, and spent a few years as an elementary school teacher (my mom’s profession – I really have no imagination), before changing gears and going to dental school. Not a complete loss however, since I met my wife Carolyn in Ed school. Just kidding. I loved teaching, but it was a lot of work! I do miss the summers, though!
After dental school (again bucking tradition, I went to the University of Connecticut, instead of NYU), I completed a residency program in general dentistry (GPR) at the VA hospital in Long Beach, California. Carolyn, Hana, Jacob, Eden and I then moved up to Portland, where we found a house to rent in Ladd’s Addition. We so fell in love with the neighborhood that we bought the house! In 2010, after three years of I-5 commuting to a Kaiser Permanente Dental clinic, I decided to open the neighborhood practice I had previously only dreamed about!
I hope you join us. Let’s restart the tradition.
- Jon Warmflash DMD