Organizing your information – for others – Harris N. (Hershey) Rosen

by Harris N. “Hershey” Rosen

For forty years of manufacturing experience in a company with five locations, covering almost 600,000 square feet of factory space. Back “in the day” before computers could help us store all our information; before ‘just in time’ programs told you what you had in inventory, what you were selling, and what you needed to reorder or stock.

How did I get so organized, some people ask me? I look back at that time at a company familiar to many Rhode Islanders, School House Candy – and I reply – I HAD to be organized. I HAD to be able to know or put my hands on anything that was needed in no more than 15 minutes. Sitting down and racking my brains and thinking really hard was not going to cut it – and it never did.

I used my military background to help me. Think about the vaccination sites that are happening all around Rhode Island right now. I’d venture to say that the most organized are those run by the National Guard. The directions are friendly, but to the point. “Stand here. Go there. etc.” All said to you with a smile. Because when you’re organized and you “know your stuff” you know how to tell it to someone else – and the smile expresses your confidence – “you got this”!

If you ask a military person, “where is the checkbook”, they most likely won’t tell you, “in the desk” – they will tell you which desk, if you have more than one, in what drawer and where in that drawer the checkbook can be found. After you go through basic training and then are out in an administrative role, thinking like this becomes second nature. You literally train your brain.

Once you get started on organizing for others – a great motivator! – your brain will know more and more how to do it – and it will all come easier to you.

Organizing Tip: Organ Donation

Did you know? April is National Donate Life Month. During April we encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to honor those that have saved lives through the gift of donation. The way I see it, and those closest to me who I’ve had the conversation with, we’ve spent our lives trying to help others, and if an organ donation will help someone else, we say – do it – and we’ll use our best judgement on behalf of each other. So, my spouse, Myrna, knows my intentions. And I know hers. How did this happen? No, it wasn’t ‘happenstance’ or an accidental conversation. It was very intentional. It was on my list of end of life things to organize for – so if something happened to me, Myrna would know exactly what to do. She would not have to wonder, ‘what would Hershey want me to do?’ – and then worry that she didn’t make the right decision. And I wanted her – and the rest of the family to know exactly what I would want – as best I could tell them.

In organ donation there are many things to donate – obvious large organs that don’t deface the body such as heart and lungs or corneas – other items are trickier. Did you know skin is the largest organ you have? And that donating it could save the lives and scars of hundreds of burn victims? It IS a little more emotional. How about donating your entire body? You can! To science. Would YOU want to do this? Would your spouse? And if you are all for it, and your spouse dies, are you comfortable donating without having had that conversation? Yes, two shall be as one when we marry – but each have our own most personal wants and wishes – we have different religions, sometimes – and our feelings may change with age.

As you put together your Family Record Book, include Organ Donation in your final wishes section. I guarantee you you’ll be up for a stimulating conversation with your closest family members – spouse, parents, even older children.

Let’s get started. First think about organ donation – here is a link for information which can help. Then have a conversation with the one closest to you – it might be one of many, but the topic has been opened for discussion. Once you come to your final best wishes on the matter, commit it to writing. Share it with each other. Every year or so you can review these decision to see if you may have changed your mind. But next month, God forbid anything happen, you will have peace in the decision process. Don’t forget to denote this when you renew your license and you can carry the ol’ fashioned card-in-your-wallet, too.

That’s about it for this week! See you next Saturday – and if you have a topic you’d like us to address, write: [email protected]

Past columns:

Harris N. “Hershey” Rosen is the author of WHY? Because I Love You, a book that says it like it is – “What you need to know when I die”. His book details methods to organize your important personal and family information for those who are left behind.

A graduate of Harvard, Hershey Rosen has focused on controlling chaos since 1954. He was a Financial Control Officer in the U.S. Army, where he received a Letter of Commendation for improvement to its worldwide accounting system. Next, on to satisfying everyone’s sweet tooth, he ran a candy company for 40 years, developing a system for locating ANY item housed in five factories, covering 600,000 square feet.

Following “retirement,” Hershey went on to become a mediator and settled over 200 disputes for the state of Rhode Island and The Community Mediation Center of Rhode Island. He was also asked to team-teach management courses at the University of Rhode Island, where he enthusiastically challenged the text book with real-life experiences, to the delight and edification of the students.

Always passionate about assisting others, Hershey has been a director or trustee of numerous boards and organizations. He has written Creating A Guide So Your Loved Ones Can Go On Living! to help others protect their spouses (and families) from the intense stress that will occur if one does not share financial information and knowledge critical to a functioning home. He then wrote My Family Record Book, expanding on the information in his first book, and finally, in 2020, WHY? Because I Love You was published.

Hershey, who lives in Providence, Rhode Island, can now relax (ha!) with his beloved wife, Myrna, and enjoy visits with their combined five children and ten grandchildren.

WHY? Because I Love You” – available here: