Remembering Doc Bulger

Remembering Doc Bulger

Remembering Doc Bulger - 2/2/2010

The Northern Bedford Community lost a true patriarch and long-time friend with the passing of Doctor Richard H. Bulger this past weekend. “Doc” (a WWII Veteran) served as president of the Northern Bedford School Board and ran his family practice in New Enterprise for many years. He also served as the school district’s physician.

I will forever remember the first time I met Doc Bulger. I was a patient of his in January of 1975, my first year teaching in the district. I had been plagued by an inner-ear infection which later required extensive surgery, and Doc was my first medical consultation for that affliction. Little did I know that Doc couldn’t hear well from one side either, just like his patient.

I’m guessing he greeted me with a friendly “What brings you here, young man?” or something similar.

To which I replied, “Pardon me.”

To which Doc gave me the customary, military-like, “Sir?”

“I’m sorry,” I admitted. “I can’t hear you very well.”

To which Doc grunted once again, “Sir?”

I don’t recall how many times that dialogue was exchanged between the two of us, but it seemed to be going nowhere fast.

Enter Mrs. Bulger, Doc’s wife, nurse and assistant. “I better get in here and straighten you two out,” she shouted. “The neighbors are going to wonder what’s going on in here.”

She was on my good side, so I heard her without any problem.

Doc then shouted, “Theresa, where’s my suction hose?” And all I could visualize was my entire brain and other skull contents being sucked out of my head, never to be seen again. I was warned that Doc was a WWII doctor, and his demeanor and bedside manner weren’t the best. “Why did I choose to go to this man?” was the question that kept going through my mind.

But, for some unknown, intangible reason, I liked this guy. He later delivered our first daughter, Amy Marie, in 1978, which is a whole other story in itself. He became our family’s first chosen physician, and we learned to appreciate him more and more with each visit. When the phrase “He’s from the old school” was first introduced, they had Doc Bulger in mind.

He may not have made the best first impression, but if you gave the man a chance, you soon realized he was truly one of a kind, a breed like Art Rooney Sr., complete with cigar, that no one else could match.

My Roots - The Potchaks - circa 1927

My Roots - The Potchaks - circa 1927
From Left: Son, Steve - Dad, Frank - Mom, Anastasia (Makar) - Sons; John, Mike, Frank, Chuck (Author's Dad) - Twins, Pete & Mary - Daughter, Catherine. Photo taken in Wilmore, PA