An Appreciation of Helen & Donald Meyers

by Robert Michels, M.D.

The Psychoanalytic Center has its primary location at 168th Street. Its tertiary locations are in the offices of the many faculty and students. But its secondary location is in Riverdale, at the Meyers’. The meetings, parties, study groups and social life that make an impersonal organization human are more identified with their home than with any other location.

Of course, although their house is lovely and inviting, their living room spacious, and their hospitality gracious, one doesn’t have to be a psychoanalyst to recognize that it is the people who give meaning to the architecture, not the other way around. Their temperaments, their styles, and their relationship with each other have extended from their personal domain and family to embrace the entire community--we have all become part of their family. And it is a nice family of which to be a member.

As in all well functioning families, their roles are complementary, not identical. Intensity balanced by equanimity, enthusiastic initiative by consistent perseverance, and most of all, the ability to shift and interchange roles while supporting each other (and the rest of us). Each of them has been a major contributor to the life of the Center over many years but the whole is far more than the sum of the parts. Together they have done more than merely contribute, they have set the key, provided the melody, the rhythm and the harmonizing, conducted the orchestra, even rented the hall and sold the tickets, all the while tolerating a great many prima donnas who wanted center stage.

For Columbia, and for all of us, bless them.