Charlotte Kellar and Ann Reinhard

Recorded December 5, 2010 Archived December 5, 2010 41:11 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: DDA000985


Charlotte Kellar (92) talks to her friend, Ann Reinhard (48) about growing up in the Bronx, and getting interested in acting and writing later in her life. Charlotte and Ann also talk about how they met through DOROT’s Friendly Visiting Program.

Subject Log / Time Code

CK and AR have been visiting for 6 years and their friendship has grown in that time. CK has always seen herself as a younger person. When CK was growing up, she was “the kid” because her brothers were much older than her. CK is surprised when she looks at herself in the mirror and she looks old.
CK started pursuing writing and acting later in her life. She was a member of SAG and acted on Law and Order for many years.
CK started writing when she was young. Teachers always thought someone else wrote her assignments because CK was such a good writer. CK went to Alfred University on a scholarship and did very well. CK ended up graduating from NYU years later.
CK’s uncle was a singer in Russia and he was very funny. CK’s mother came from Moscow and his father came from Kiev. When CK was growing up she had Christmas trees in her house, even though she was Jewish. CK’s mother believed in taking the best things from all religions.
CK grew up in the Bronx and she liked to make mischief with her landlord’s sons.
CK is always trying to give AR things in recognition of their friendship, but AK gets a lot of joy from their relationship. It makes AR feel great to see CK.
CK never liked her office jobs but she was able to use bosses as characters in her stories. When AR was doing genealogy, she found out about an aunt that she didn’t. She went to visit her and realized she likes older people.
CK has been lucky to travel in her life. She went to visit her cousins in Denmark. The people she met in Copenhagen were very friendly. Many of CK’s family and friends have died now.
CK doesn’t accept her aging -- she is young at heart, even though she is old in body. The mind is very powerful. Even when she is physically feeling tired, when she sees AR, she gains energy. CK has had dogs and hamsters. She loves the companionship, but it is hard when they die.
CK and AR are very similar -- they have similar outlooks. They are both sensitive to how other people feel and like to make others feel happy.


  • Charlotte Kellar
  • Ann Reinhard

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Venue / Recording Kit


Partnership Type



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00:08 Hey. My name is Ann Reinhard. I'm 48 years old. Today is Sunday, December 5th, 2010. Where in New York City?

00:21 And Charlotte is my good friend.

00:28 Also, I call her my senior friend because she's older than me and we we met through the friendly visiting program at the road.

00:43 I am Charlotte kellar. I'm 92. I had a birthday just last month and today is September 5th 9 2010.

00:55 And I'm in the office of the year.

00:59 Group

01:00 Ann and is good friend of mine really remarkable girl.

01:15 Charlotte

01:17 And I've been visiting you for 6 years and

01:23 It's been so interesting and meaningful to me. How does overtime we've gotten closer and closer, right? And

01:32 I know we don't usually.

01:35 Talk about her friendship. Exactly, right? We just in the moment. We just enjoy it right and every week we kind of tell each other what's been going on and end up talking about all sorts of things in about family. One thing I occurred to me was that

01:56 I think I always think of myself as an older person but I think you always think of yourself as a younger person and I think maybe we get along cuz we've met somewhere in the middle. Can you talk a little bit about how you see yourself and how how it's changed as you've gotten older. What do you know as you say we see us elves in the different way because my brothers were grown when I was born and my parents were more or less Advanced and it was a very old family in the sense that they were old people. So I was always the kid and they referred to me as the kid when I was in my seventies and eighties and I believe today was filled there was a young person and it's only been about a month that I suddenly realized that I'm no longer young. I'm an old person and also my bra.

02:56 The bill was embarrassed about their the ages and he said everybody was younger than they were so my grandfather who is way over a hundred and he was in the local paper in Monticello. I forget a hundred and what

03:13 Annie guy is a young man according to my brother and that I was just a child and I spend this bit of a shock. I'm not used to being old all of a sudden. I'm an old person and I don't like it, but I I think that's funny. I find so interesting that I realized.

03:33 We always just feel the same inside Ride Like the same. Yes. We are Lynn and I didn't age we reach and we stay there and that's one thing I do every time every week when I see you when we just sit and talk.

03:50 As were talking and I look at your face like to me you get younger and younger because when I look in the mirror I get a shock and I say, who is this old person? That's not me.

04:04 My hair used to be reddish blond and now it's white and I don't like it, but I thought to have this done in the face wouldn't match. So I don't care whatever it is it is but I've lost a lot of friends and that's the awful thing about getting old that you don't hear about you lose friends. You lose relatives, you lose jobs, and you don't get new ones that quickly so it's not good. I don't recommend it except the alternative is worse.

04:44 Something else that I really admire you for is

04:51 I know when you were in your early 60s.

04:56 You started your life all over again in a way, right? You you pursued Your Love of writing anyone stories for one prizes for short stories and poetry and essays and you were in the pen and brush club and then you also pursued acting and became a a sag member.

05:22 When you look back at that, what what do you feel proud of I don't have much energy now, and I'm so sorry.

05:32 But did when I got into sag and I had my first part in a movie as a member of the Union I had I was a nurse and I'm always a terrible character and I yell and scare everybody.

05:49 And I said, why don't you get me more work and they said he'll wolf and do we have such Parts but that was the last one I had they called me and they said they hadn't opened and I said but I'm in a walker now and he said I'll call you back and they never did and I often wonder if I had just said nothing and turned up in the Walker where they have taken me would I still be there but I don't have the energy to know that I had done and I don't know what would have happened. He has a it's a tough business that selling business write a really long days. And yes. Yeah, but once you in the union it would have been easier.

06:32 Because then the limit yeah, there's no limit when you're not in the union yet and they didn't see this. I was in the what was that show?

06:44 Law & Order Law & Order for years. Yes. That was nice.

06:50 And they don't feed you except to you main characters.

06:54 And we had peanuts and popcorn but they can't they were here. I just had lunch and dinner.

07:03 But when I got into the Union they stop calling me for Law and Order.

07:09 And that's the den on 8th Avenue. It's above a store and nobody knows they're there is a whole Courthouse looks very authentic.

07:20 The Woodmont motivated YouTube to pursue all that when when you are older. I always like that.

07:29 All my life and it was sort of automatic.

07:34 And I had relatives in the business, but unfortunately by the time I got there they weren't there. They might have been able to help me.

07:44 I had a cousin Lionel Stander who was an actor and he was very successful famous actor and my brother Newton was very good-looking and he was a good friend of Lionel and when Newton decided to become an actor Lionel said he would too and everybody left and they said who is going to hire Lionel. He's too funny looking and has a terrible voice and Lionel made it and Newton didn't try it shows how much you can tell you never know, right?

08:24 And can you talk a little bit about your writing? When did you start writing? I was writing when I was still a small kid and I wrote letters to Santa Claus and I couldn't do handwriting. They were printed and I said I wanted a little dog and I had one t I live one line and the other t on the next line.

08:47 And there they whenever I went to Windows school or anything. They always said did you really write this? So when I ended Washington Irving High School and they sent for me and they said did you really write so that's what this Sunday May 4th to who wrote this for you and they offered me a job on the magazine has nothing and I was so excited. I had an office and I was there for four years and I loved it. I didn't realize it then but it was a very remarkable school and then my class there was Evelyn who worked on the atomic bomb and another one Mavis who is this is a psychologist psychiatrist and old Britain people and I didn't know it could be different. And then from there I went to Alfred University because they had offered me a scholarship I had

09:47 When a contest with an essay that was required, I wasn't interested at all, but they they gave us a topic and we had to write about

10:00 Do you remember what it was is netflow you've told me but I don't I know I don't remember now. It was not interesting you is it about

10:09 Anyway, it was between Evelyn and me and she had done her best and I hadn't because I wasn't interested but they told us both to rewrite it and then I got it and I won $300 and they said the first prize was 500 in the second was 3 and they said that they start my essay was the best but they would never give first prize to a girl and I was so shocked. I never heard of such a thing. That was news to me then. Yeah, that's terrible thing. Right 300 was my first semester and Alfred. I think it was three hundred a year if I'm not mistaken and floating board, but the food was absolutely file every now and then somebody had ptomaine poisoning, but I used to go out for hamburgers and I luckily I

11:09 Happened to miss the meetings where they had ptomaine poisoning feel, right?

11:16 Birthday and I had aged there without opening the book. It was lovely where they had true and false and if it was obviously. Obviously true it was very fine. But after a year, I transfer to NYU and all of a sudden I had to read the books and that is so hard and I was up nights and I was frightened to death and instead of being on the Dean's List. I was hanging on by my teeth and I just managed to graduate but I was ten years between the first year and the second. Yeah, that's hard to go back to school after you've been out terribly hard. I wasn't used to sitting in one spot that long and I had a terrible time of year and you were already married by then write. My husband was taking its City College and he said he didn't want to have another litter

12:16 Silly insisted I have to go back and graduate and he went to and why you and made the arrangements and went through my program and all that. Did you think if

12:30 If you been up to you, would you have studied acting do you think in school or yes? I I doubt that. I would have gone back and graduated. Yeah, there was a great effort. Yeah.

12:43 Yeah, I could never do it. I couldn't go back to school and it's very educated out of the habit of going through all that stuff.

12:53 I noticed I sound a little hoarse. I don't know why I think it's still early in the day for both of us. That might be what it is. I come to life later in the day. Yeah. Yeah sure that goes like we have so many things in common, but that's one of them we don't like to get up in the morning. That's right. You always use the expression that we're night-blooming lizards and I hope it's like that. I think it's the Russian of it that the Russians like to stay up late and play instruments this all day.

13:27 Even mother's brother my uncle. I never met Uncle Shasha in Moscow.

13:35 He was a lawyer. They were all lawyers.

13:39 And he sang.

13:41 And he said that when they asked him to sing you do you mind if I singing and some other language? I don't know what he picked something that he was safe. Nobody knew and when they said, yes, so he sang in Yiddish with all the most terrible curse words and all the most terrible language and his wife was sitting that turning pale and she said one more word and she's going to faint and stand it but no one nobody noticed and it was fine. They all congratulate and they would pay him with a leg of lamb or a pound of vegetables. I don't know. How come what the situation was the real jokester before I was born. I am sorry. I never met him. They said he was hilariously funny that people were falling out of the chairs laughing.

14:42 He was so good. He ha

14:45 I guess they're all gone now.

14:48 The Russian relatives. I didn't know them.

14:52 Yeah, that's very interesting history though. Right like your mother came from Machado from Moscow.

15:01 Yeah and numb.

15:05 And your father's family originally. I know they came from Russia, but originally they were Greek twos a very ancient that's before they settled in Russia that's ancient history. My father was from Kiev, which is

15:24 It's still Russia, but it's something else. I don't remember what.

15:31 But your last name your maiden name of Brutus a Greek name? That's all right. I've been here. Oh, how come and they're different Jews are called Romani oats. Yes. Yeah, that's true. You have Terry interesting. I never heard of that BS. I didn't know there was a most Jewish people that were either this or that and with his third one and I'm sorry, I should have looked it up on forgotten the names, you know, it's okay. He had some interesting one thing.

16:04 That we also have in common. It's funny. I always thought that like an older generation that they were raised more religiously. I don't know why I always assumed that I guess maybe because my grandparents were more religious and my I think they are and who they were but it's been interesting because we're very similar we both were raised in and not very religious household, but we still have a sense of our Jewish identity and culture, right?

16:34 Well, I wanted a Christmas tree. So we had a Christmas tree, but I always objected to that taking it down. I wanted it to be permanent and I didn't like the idea.

16:48 And I had Santa Claus in a little that. My mother believed in taking the best of both whichever it was.

17:00 Yeah, I feel that way too. I think that's sensible. I think it's right not to limit yourself with the Ed whatever the issuing has. The other one doesn't have is nice.

17:15 Makes it pay and riches life.

17:21 Yeah.

17:30 So

17:32 And Charlotte you've lived in New York City your whole life. Yes. I was born in New York. They say nobody was but I was I'm different when I was born. They bought a house in the west Bronx and it was not built episode of wild and there were a lot of vacant Lots

17:54 And that they should brisket and I used to travel all day and all kinds of terrible neighborhood Since I checked all the vacant Lots.

18:05 And then I think I told you I rolled down the hill in the town dump in a baby carriage. And when the carriage turned over we got up and climb play Calvin Klein Road again, and it was great fun. And we had a little watch when Shaq and I got up on the roof and I wanted to fly and I jumped off the roof and it's a wonder I didn't break anything.

18:35 But I survived all this craziness grew up in one piece, but then I developed something in the knee.

18:45 I forgot what they call it and they got a surgeon who was really no more a surgeon than the Man in the Moon. I need watch the surgery and now I'm in a walker and that limits me terribly. Yeah, and I never got used to it. Yeah, but you still get around. Okay, will I get around it's better to have that than to remove.

19:15 Yeah, I know, but I can't dance.

19:20 I once won a dance contest was a wolf, but now I can hardly walk.

19:29 It's funny how things work out, but at least I had a taste of all kinds of different things.

19:37 And now I do have one good friend, which is in.

19:44 And another one.

19:46 This man was helping me with the Alp.

19:53 And I had a coin that I wanted to give in for her birthday. And she said it was valuable and wouldn't take it and this fella run he showed and got me a thousand dollars. Can you imagine so now I'm in the money?

20:13 Charlotte

20:16 He was my birthday and you gave me that coin and said this is for good luck in finding an apartment.

20:24 And the very next day the broker called and said I have an apartment for you and it's the one ended up moving into so you gave it to me for good luck and I got the good luck so that the value of the coin that was is yours that I'm so glad but that's

20:46 But enjoy so much. I know you're

20:49 You're always thinking of me and you wanted like give me physical things right or I'll Esha could do some I know you every week before I leave the leave you I see you're always looking around like what what could you give me when I like give me something from the apartment, but I want you to know that you give me so much just being my friend. So you've been a great comfort to me all these years that everybody's not here anymore. And I think that you're the best friend I have in the best one I've had for a long time.

21:25 So thankful for that. Yeah, it's hard for me to

21:31 Explain to other people too. I always talk about you to temporarily to everybody. I know and yeah my friends and family they all know how much

21:42 Are you mean to me and I can explain it? You always say to me when I when I show up you say oh.

21:50 You know, if I'm too tired at the end of the day of work, you'd understand you say you always say you wouldn't bite my head off right if I don't want to come but no matter what my day is like when I come see you. I feel I feel wonderful. It makes me feel so much better. So I know when I was working when I got through I was so tired and I didn't want to do anyting.

22:16 But I had rather miserable jobs when I worked in an office. I always took whatever I could get and it wasn't the right thing. Yeah, it's hard to find the right situation to takes a lot of time and I would trust your morphle people.

22:36 But they were good characters when I wrote stories later. I always had material. I need a villain. I have one handed to me. It's very nice. So there's some Advantage everything. Yeah, we can find some Gordon everything. He should try but it's not easy. Yeah, and I don't like it and gold it's come on so suddenly.

23:03 And I kept thinking I should have another chance.

23:09 I think it is interesting ride like some.

23:12 Some people early on feel old or go through bad illness or something, but you've been lucky in a way. I know it's been hard for you to adjust but no way you're lucky that you felt young for so long at least I'm sure we're yeah, but I should be accomplishing more lately. I don't accomplish anything.

23:35 Is everything is harder for me now than they used to be and it's hard to get used to that.

23:43 But you are a great comfort to me and the door at has been wonderful.

23:50 I'm glad I had that yeah.

23:53 Yeah, it's funny.

23:57 Like I originally

23:59 Call the doctor wrote to my friend who works here.

24:04 I asked her I said, you know, I was interested in doing a genealogy project with a senior and she said to me will want it you do the friendly visiting program and get to know somebody first and some the day we've met we've just been running with his friendship and I wasn't even interested in doing genealogy anymore. That's wonderful. I think we hit it off immediately. Yeah, which is remarkable because when I was young I don't think I was interested in older people.

24:39 I don't know. I didn't realize I was but I had when I was doing my own genealogy, I discovered I had an aunt still living who was 90 years old and lived in Queens and I went to visit her and I was really fascinated. I just felt this.

24:56 Interested. So do I like older people or this one, but I think they did such a great job and matching us. That is all right, but we really

25:09 I think we see things the same way we understand each other right and that's why I don't think about

25:16 Age so much when I'm with you, all right with just two people I didn't into lately because lately is things are getting hug for me.

25:27 I can't walk much and it's frustrating and I'm used to being able to get up and go I see something in the paper looks interesting and I remember when he had a I went around looking at all the Christmas windows and I couldn't do that now. Yeah, yeah.

25:47 But yeah, you did a lot while you could write. That's true.

25:55 And I'm lucky I was able to travel somewhat.

26:00 Where did you travel to I was in Denmark that I have cousins in Copenhagen and I didn't know it but during the war when the Hitler was scary and the games were very brave and hello, and I said after the war I'm going to Denmark and I I really did I didn't know I have cousins there and they invited me and they were remarkable people and then Denmark it looks like the Hudson and it's the ocean and across the street. The ocean is Sweden and at night they put people in boats and rode them from Denmark to Sweden and they got away from the Germans that way.

26:49 And it wasn't known for doing you want to swim in the summer. The water is ice cold in the beach is cold and you can't swim but they're wonderful people. That was a very nice trip.

27:07 Yeah, it's always nice to visit family or friends that live somewhere. You really get an Insider's. Oh, yeah respective or yes. Yeah that was outdoors and you order soup and they brought a tremendous conveyance with enough soup for 10 people and you should help yourself with a walker and so forth and they had peacocks walking around and I wanted to take a picture of the painted peacock with the tail out and they wouldn't put the Tails out and they had it closed and I was so angry and I was calling them and threatening them and they still wouldn't do it. And finally I gave up and I used up the film and then the peacock came over and said see where is my tail?

28:02 I'm surprised cuz usually animals understand you.

28:10 And I took a train I went I don't know what I was looking for. And I said, you know, they don't seem to charge anything on the train and they were shocked. They said didn't you pay fare I said nobody asked for it. They said you should know don't you know where the fair is and I didn't know and I'd rub travel free that was in Copenhagen.

28:36 I think after that. Changed I read that Germans were coming in but in my time everybody was Danish and they were wonderful people. I was standing waiting for the year.

28:50 Bus in a man came by with a bouquet and Aces have a Sniff and I was sitting at a table and then I'll do a restaurant with a coffee and and I don't and the man Taps me on the shoulder said can I have a bite? They were all very friendly and I met the Crown Prince in the public bus the royal family travels like regular people had your back time and may not be so anymore. Yeah.

29:25 Everything was a little different than that was a wonderful country. I don't know if they're still alive. They were older than I and now I'm in the 90s are doing on me. I don't know what may have happened. Yeah. I will try to get in touch when your cousins yes and marriage.

29:47 They're both very tall and blond and when they separated in the crowd one of the other ones single whistle a certain song and then they know where the other one is.

30:04 I had very interesting relatives and I don't know if they're still there.

30:11 Now I'm completely alone. Everybody died. It's very peculiar.

30:18 Do you have fun?

30:21 Your son and your nephew called but yeah, I know it's not the same. You don't have anybody close by no. Yeah.

30:32 UNAM

30:35 And that's

30:38 I have something that I

30:41 Aware of too that you have actually a lot of people different on social workers and people from different agencies do that jazz that you write all of a sudden an H1 comes and I put them in my address book and then whoever comes to the house one of them ties up the curtains and says you won't have enough light and I left it that way cuz I thought she comes back she'll be insulted that I didn't another one picked up a little rugs and said you to feel full on these rugs. I would never do that in someone else's house, but everybody walks in and acts as if they owned the place. Yeah, and I didn't want to argue with them. So I let it go.

31:25 Yeah, that's something that I really feel sure. I just like I understand, you know, they are coming cuz that's their job and they're trying to help you with right they don't want you to well. Yeah, they don't want you to trip over the rug, but I

31:39 I understand how that that must feel for you, you know, and I like just I'm there just to be your friend trying to make me over. I don't want any help from me. That was so remarkable.

31:59 That you gave me back the coin that I wanted to give you and it was worth $1,000. Yeah, imagine nobody but you would ever do that. Your friendship is worth a lot more than $1,000. They still do believe it's amazing. I wish I

32:20 I wish I could share you with everybody. Like I wish everybody could appreciate you the way I I love you. That's wonderful.

32:30 Exender the first time in my life. I'm completely alone.

32:36 Yeah, well, that's what they say. Right we all come into the world alone. That's right go out alone. And this is strange. You don't realize what it means. Yeah.

32:48 And all of a sudden, you know, we will always young and you think it'll always be that way and all of a sudden you were an old person and I say that that part I never played this time in the wrong place away the script give me back the old one. Who am I going to sue? How about I think

33:14 That's one of the joys. I like that you.

33:17 You don't accept it. It keeps you young at heart right? It's worse because if you young and hot and cold and body it doesn't combine. Well lights with constant conflict.

33:33 Yeah, that's part of life though, right?

33:40 When you look back like what?

33:45 What things do you think you've learned though? Like what?

33:53 I know what what do you feel like you are happy about now, or I'm not unhappy at the moment. I'm just a little tired. But lately I'm tired all the time and that's something new.

34:07 Yeah, I probably need something but I don't know what

34:13 I started going to bed early. I went to bed at 8 last night and today I'm still tired.

34:22 I think it's in the head. It's in the soul.

34:26 They send me to constantly Every Day's mail. I get all kinds of ads and brochures and miraculous cures and medications of all kinds and I realize now that I've heard that 1 people complain of something and they give him a pill and tell them it will kill her and many cases. They said it works better the pill had nothing to do with the case. And I think there are a lot of people in business that way selling brochures. They have something that will kill what's incurable and so on and I get them everyday in the mail. I don't know where they get my name. I must be registered somewhere and lately. I'm throwing them all out because I don't believe any of you but that's part of it to write like if you

35:19 I have hope for you think something will work. It has an effect, right it seems that does work. I've read that.

35:30 Unit where we say we have to find you more.

35:34 We're friends, right? Where do you know yesterday? I was half dead and I was going to go lie down and the phone rang and her whole family is visiting me and I thought oh my God, they're also from the Roach Say Yes of old from the road, but when they came I got back to life here and when they left I was not tired anymore. And I thought how much is in the head. He had a head influences the body if that's exactly how I feel to Charlotte when I see you every week list me up make me feel better Google and I like seeing that and you too. That's my favorite thing is when we're talkin I can see like your eyes light up and now that remarkable. Yeah. Well, I think people do need human babies we need to company.

36:30 And the trouble with dogs they die. They should lived as long as people. Yeah, because I thought lately it would have been a comfort if I could have had my bill, but I couldn't go through that again. Yeah. Yeah. I know animals have been in your dog was a great companion for you. I had a hamster once and they are little tiny things. You hold it in one hand they come from Israel and they're very clever. So he is she was in the cage and know she was a he or she

37:03 And I put something between the bars and she wanted to buy it and she accidentally bit my finger and I so she felt so terrible. She went to the other register the cage and didn't know what to do. So after that you always pull this morsel inside and we needed inside you invite anything Between the Bars and the wind she died. I went out in the street and I somebody said hello Charlotte what's new and I burst out crying and she said somebody died and I said, yes and she says who who and I was ashamed to say my hamster. I went to get another hamster.

37:56 I saw her and the right away. I was in tears. She look like mine and the people selling her thought that I had a cold and let me touch her and I didn't buy another one. It's no use you go through another bereavement. I know you've always had a big heart for animals and and then realize I love them. Yeah.

38:18 And especially dogs

38:23 We had a remarkable dog.

38:30 So just a couple minutes, okay?

38:42 Similar temperament and similar interests similar to Ace

38:50 Yeah, I think I'm

38:53 Similar Outlook

38:58 Yeah about Charlotte and I are on.

39:02 They were both kind of sensitive to what others think right we care about making other people comfortable.

39:13 So that's why I really

39:16 And we are going to stand each other and then the boy, I know Charlotte worries a lot about doing the right thing for other people.

39:27 I know it's afraid we both don't like conflict, right? Yes. I like to be somebody in her life that can not cause conflict right make things easy for you.

39:41 It's a wonder. I mean when she's moving and she's working full-time and she still manages to come up and visit me every night.

39:51 An extra day's work and it's a wonder and I always tell her if she's too tired. I understand but she does she comes just the same very remarkable and every week to Charlotte serves me well wonderful dessert and we didn't have dessert and coffee and then we just talk and

40:15 But we have the same Outlook in the same inches.

40:21 Which is lucky there aren't many people you meet with that.

40:26 It's true.

40:28 And you're also very very witty person. You're very intelligent, but you're very funny to and you make me laugh. So and that's it. That's a great gift.

40:47 Coming so happy to know you're Charlotte and let me know you too. God knows I need you. I don't have anybody of your caliber.

41:00 Any last thoughts?

41:03 Methodist, I think we covered it didn't we have you did pretty good.