Dr. Harold Lane has retired from his dental practice after 50 years — actually 49 years and 9 months. However, the office, located in West Towne Square, will remain open. Replacing him will be three dentists — Dr. Aaron C. Knop, Dr. Cynthia A. Knop and Dr. Robert N. Blair.
Dr. Lane, who is a beloved fixture in Elizabethton, said he never looked on his practice as a job, but as a labor of love. “Monday was always my favorite day, because I got to go back to work,” he said.
A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Dr. Lane said he almost went to East Tennessee State University. “I got out of the Army and went to ETSU to enroll in school. As I was standing in line to register, I was told by one of the deans I needed to be in engineering. I wanted to be in liberal arts. I found a telephone and called the University of Tennessee and asked to speak to the Dean of Admissions. I told him I wanted to be in liberal arts. He said, ‘Come to Knoxville.’ The rest is history,” Lane explained.
And, with that, Dr. Lane also became a loyal U-T fan. He served as president of his senior class, and was very fortunate to attend the 50th anniversary of his graduating class.
The doc doesn’t remember missing a day from his practice, although he says there probably was a day or two somewhere in those 50 years that he didn’t show up for work for one reason or another. His experiences have been unreal, and he has seen thousands of patients, numbering into the third and fourth generations. “I have taken out a lot of teeth and done lots of surgeries,” he shared.
Married to the former Barbara Pearson, daughter of the late Dr. E.T. Pearson, Dr. Lane opened his dental practice in the old Franklin Clinic building. He practiced there for more than 30 years, moving to West Towne Square in 1995 upon the sale of the building.
For a number of years he worked five and one-half days a week, usually taking off on Wednesdays. He generally worked from 8 to 5. Later he cut back to four days a week. Most of his patients were teenagers and adults, although he did have some younger patients. “I did everything — extractions, dentures, crowns, bridges, partials and fillings,” he said. Lane said the most difficult part of his practice was to have someone ask you to perform a service that you knew wouldn’t work.
He spoke very highly of his staff. “My assistants have been unreal. They’ve all been good. One told me, ‘I’ve not worked for a lot of dentists, but you’re still the best.’”
His assistants have heard a lot from the doc — some sayings or “hints” they have copied and framed for their boss. Some examples:
— Them store bought teeth don’t work like the ones God gave you.
— If God intended for our teeth to come out, he would have put snaps, zippers or buttons on them.
— Now, don’t blame that sweet lil baby for your rotten teeth. It’s because you’re eating 20 times a day and only brushing once or twice.
— One little tooth with short roots can’t move a whole row of giants.
— If I felt any better, I’d have to take medicine to get over it.
— A whole boxcar of pills won’t cure what’s ailing you.
— Only floss the ones you want to keep.
— If you sleep with your shoes on, then leave it (dentures or partials) in all night.
— I’d rather be lucky than God any day.
— You can’t stand in the middle of the room and sweep and get the corners clean.
What does the doc plan to do, now that he is not working on teeth? Just take it a day at a time since there is no appointment book to deal with.