With some days in winter feeling more like summer, and the early days of spring bringing winter storms, we were glad to be reminded of U.S. 1’s annual Summer Fiction issue. It will be published the last Wednesday of July, and the deadline for prose and poetry is Monday, June 4.

We welcome submissions from everyone in our readership area, and — as always — we will endeavor to make room for as many poems and short stories as we can. The issue is not a contest, but when sorting out material to meet our space requirements we do look for readability and a literary sense. Be sure to include a brief biography — we give preference to people who work or live in our community. We also encourage first time submitters, and try hard to make room for them.

The best way to submit is by e-mail: fiction@princetoninfo.com. If you have a poem with challenging formatting it’s also wise to mail a hard copy to U.S. 1 Summer Fiction, 15 Princess Road, Suite K, Lawrenceville 08648.

In Life’s Twilight

Several readers commented on Richard K. Rein’s March 21 column, in which he recounted a visit to see a former neighbor with no friends and family, now living on life support and unable to talk in a nursing home in Wayne, New Jersey. The state has now assumed the role of the former neighbor’s guardian, and the 75-year-old, born and raised in Princeton, seems destined to live out his life in a frustrating state of medical limbo.

U.S. 1’s Barbara Fox, who is well familiar with end-of-like dynamics, sent links to the Rein column to her circle of friends:

“Many Princeton people will remember Paul Scharf. He pushed carts at McCaffrey’s, he came to the HUB, a Saturday night social activity at Princeton United Methodist Church, and he attended services there.

“In Richard K. Rein’s U.S. 1 column is an account of an end-of-life experience that should NOT be happening. Paul could have been encouraged to sign an Advanced Care Directive (available at Princeton Senior Resource Center) or, better, to sign a POLST form (Practitioner Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment). It could have prevented his medical team at a nursing home from having to sustain his unsustainable life. A POLST form is not required by law, but in New Jersey it is strongly recommended.

“Paul can no longer talk to tell what he wants.”

Rein replies: All true and great advice for most of us. But it’s more complicated for Paul. For the past 10 years or more, even when Paul could talk, he was not fully competent.

Before he moved away from Princeton and into the group home, he had gone to church at the fundamentalist Nassau Christian Center. “I want to live to be 100 years old,” he told everyone. “But only the good lord can decide when it’s your time to go.” That’s no legal directive, but I did share it with the nurses and staff at the nursing home.

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