The Poverty of Poverty

  1. In the small village in southern Italy where my grandfather was born close to ninety years ago, without electricity or modern medicine or cars, people lived, regularly, well into their nineties (I know because I walked through the cemetery). My grandfather, who moved to the United States when he was ten, and became an accomplished, educated, professional American man, died of cancer in his early seventies — twenty years earlier than he might have if he had remained in his village. If my grandfather had not retained some of the habits of his childhood — he loved the woods, raised his own chickens, ate home-cooked…