By Gary Barg, Editor-in-Chief
One year, many years ago, before my younger brother was born,
Uncle Mikey brought a birthday gift to the house for my mom.
I remember that the box was very big, I thought he had
bought her a new refrigerator or maybe a pony (hey, I was
five years old, it made sense at the time). As she started
opening the box, she found that it contained one box after
another until the family room floor was littered with
discarded cardboard boxes of various sizes. Opening the
final box revealed a beautiful black lacquered jewelry box
with inlaid Mother of Pearl. Mike was fun that way, he was
fourteen years younger than mom and she adored him and was
like a second mother to him.
Years later, in high school I remember being in Mike’s
apartment, assuring him that he was not being spied on by
the neighbors and that the mailman was not “out to get him”.
See, Mike was diagnosed with Schizophrenia after his medical
discharge from the Army. Mike lived with us for a while and
I remember mom spending many days with him at the Miami VA
hospital. He then spent years traveling the world. We would
receive postcards from Bali and Bangkok as he motorcycled
alone across Southeast Asia. Shortly thereafter, Mike
disappeared, surfacing only occasionally to call his dad, my
grandfather, to wish him a happy birthday or to have money
wired to him. I bring this up because it was six years ago
this month that my mom received a phone call from the Nevada
authorities that Mike had died of a heart attack. He was 49
In Uncle Mikey’s memory, I would like to share the following
list of tips from NAMI, the National Alliance for the Mentally
) It may not be a pony, but still another great gift from Mike.