Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, November 14, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 14


 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 14, 2020 




 Jonathan Kelley is a 
neighbor I had only 
spoken with a few 
times and never at 
length. He is even 
older than I am, about 
80 I think, and when 
he suggested that I try 
out this kick scooter 
that had changed 
his life I said okay. 
I almost fell and it 
scared both of us and 
my wife half to death.

 Since that 
time I have hardly 
spoken to him at all 
perhaps out of mutual 
embarrassment but 
he did seem like 
an interesting guy 
to interview. We 
chatted a bit and set 
up an interview for 
last night. Before he 
got here I looked him 
up on the web and 
got the surprise of my 
life. You should look 
him up too. This old 
guy, who I thought 
was just another 
colorful Sierra Madre 
character with long 
white flowing hair, 
a beard and a kick 
scooter has quite an amazing background. Ready-- besides being a working actor with a younger 
actress wife, he is a writer, a musician, a linguist, tutor, culinary expert and among other things is 
a graduate of Phillips Exeter, Princeton University, and Harvard Medical School. He completed 
a full career as a board certified anesthesiologist and has actually written a book called Counting 
Backwards from 100 (get it –that’s what anesthesiologists do!)

 Becoming aware of his credentials I became hesitant. I didn’t want to embarrass him by 
asking what it was like to be rich and privileged and accomplished. Instead I brought the electric 
piano that my granddaughter plays with and he played some rags and some boogie-woogie and it 
was great. I felt very privileged to have my own concert and relaxed. I asked him every question 
I could think of and he was very direct and open. His father was a busy urologist who really never 
spent much time with him and applied no parental pressure but Jonathan yearned for his father’s 
always absent recognition. He spent lots of time with his mother who was artistic and had 
written a number of short stories. So he did what was expected for people of his class and went 
to Princeton and screwed around. He really wanted to be a musician but was deaf in one ear and 
doubted that he would ever be good enough to make it as a professional. After majoring in the 
study of Latin America at Princeton, he spent a year in Cali, Columbia, gaining a life changing 
and lasting appreciation of Hispanic culture.

 Now more focused and mature, he returned to Boston to pursue a career echoing that 
of his physician father. He credits his father’s indifference as instrumental in his eventual success. 
I suggested that there are many, many people who never received much recognition or notice 
from their father but who never were admitted to Harvard Medical School. He granted that it 
helped that he had a lot of options. His greatest satisfactions come from interactions with people 
of all types and classes. Once when riding his kick scooter along the path off the San Gabriel 
River he realized he was dehydrated and had brought along no water. (After all he’s a doctor.) 
He really thought he was in trouble and finally stopped at a homeless camp along the river where 
he obtained needed water which may have saved his life. This incident had a great impact on 
him and he stays in touch with homeless people and feels ”that we are all brothers from different 
mothers.” He is a wonderful neighbor to know and reminds me that the Covid can be as helpful 
as an inattentive father. Without the Covid restrictions I would not have begun this series of 
articles about our neighbors.

Check out his website:

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: