Letters to ...

Mirror readers speak to us

... "Sunset" is out, Nostalgia is in ...

Letters from a dozen places

Mail from SUNSET, Oct 27 2004:

(Editor's note: "Sunset" is the Mirror's sister publication on the internet, located in the small city of Ennis, Ireland. Five years ago MIT (founder of our computer system) sent four Melrose editors to Ennis to help in the start-up there).

As explained in our second web letter, we have reluctantly been forced to discontinue publication of our monthly online magazine, after three years operation.

Apart from the difficulty of attracting new subscribers, a contributory factor also is the fact that our four members are getting increasingly  older!!! Pat, our eldest member is over 87 years and Peter just 10 years younger!! The deteriorating health of the wife of each of two of us aggravated our difficulties.

That said, we achieved what we initially set out to prove :-

That old age is not, necessarily, a barrier to acquiring a good level of competence in computer technologgy.

We thank the Silver Stringers, and in particular Jack Driscoll, Lenny Dalton, Irving Smolens and Ella Letterie for their interest in our project.

The published articles will be archived and perhaps, at a future date, a younger group of enthusiasts  will take up where we left off .!!

Once again, many thanks to you all.

Very Sincerely

The Sunset Group  members.
Oct 26th 2004

To Melrose Miror
From: Winthrop School
October 20, 2004

Dear Editor,

My name is Kristin Bolton, and I am the chairperson for the Ways & Means Committee for the Winthrop School here in Melrose. I would like to make contributions to your site/publication regarding upcoming events that
may be of interest. The first contribution being the following:

Freshly Baked Goods, Coffee & Crafts Sale!

DONíT FORGET TO VOTE! And donít forget to stop by the Winthrop Schoolís amazing bake sales and craft sales, on Tuesday, November 2nd, while thepolls are open! We are so pleased to again this year have the opportunity of have our sale near the voting area at City Hall and at the Winthrop School! Your support directly impacts the children of the Winthrop School, and we, the parents and children, are most grateful!

If you would like to make craft contributions, please contact Kristin Bolton at 781.665.5602. We would LOVE to showcase your talents!

Thanks so much!  I may be reached at krisbolton@comcast.net or at 781.665.5602.

Best regards,

Kristin Bolton

You will note that we are a monthly publication. Our November issue will be published November 5. That would be too late for even a day-old baked goods sale.

For 9 or 10 years I have been a participant at the Winthrop School Hobby Day, teaching cartooning. For two years I wrote feature articles about the kids, with photos. This was originated by Principal Carter and eliminated last year.

Thanks for your interest.

Russ Priestley, one of the editors


From: Linda Granfield,
TO: Melrose@Media.mit.edu
October 18, 2004

I just discovered your site and thoroughly enjoyed the Paul Hupper piece. It brought back memories for me, of walking down Main Street in the 1960s, when most of the same stores were there.

I grew up in Melrose, on Green St., but have lived the last thirty years in Canada. (married a Canadian) I've spent the last twenty years writing books for children (entire collection in Melrose Public Library where I worked through high school and college).

Has anyone ever written anything about the Melrose Marshmallow company that was on Crystal Street? Maybe Mr. Hupper knows something about it and Emma E. Curtis who ran it? I can't find a bit of information about the place (I passed the boarded up building on my way to the high school) and would love to learn more. Not listed in any of the books I've found about Melrose.

Imagine a woman running a Melrose business in the early 1900s? Must be a great story.

Thanks again for a "good read"--I miss Melrose and it's always great to connect in any way. Let me know if you find anything about Melrose Marshmallows??

Linda Granfield, Toronto
From: Sharon Oliver Knape
To: Melrose Mirror, Sept 12 2004


I recently learned that Ezra F. Pratt of Melrose, MA, and Malden, MA, was my grandfather. He was born in 1860 in Portland, ME but lived in the two towns I mentioned for many years. He was a wealthy man and dealt in real estate and mortgages. I was wondering if someone there could direct me to a person that possibly would remember, or had heard of the Pratts in Melrose.

Ezra owned quite a few apartments in Malden, and his sons Earl Pratt and Lawrence lived with their father in Melrose and helped in his business. He purchased Pratt's Island near Southport, ME in about 1924. He was alive clear up to 1947 and after that, and summered in Pratt's Island right next to Southport, ME. I hope this request is not out of line. I live in Omaha, NE and have never been in Malden or Melrose, so am at a disadvantage. I was born in Boothbay Harbor, ME and lived in Georgetown and Five Islands, ME when I was a young child.

I did learn through a census that at one time Wahington Street was an address for Ezra and his son, Earl W. Pratt, I was thinking that may have been their business address in Malden. Their very large home was located in Melrose, according to my Aunt Madelon who used to go there regularly when her mother (my grandmother Ruth Pierce) was a cook for the family.

Thank you in advance for any assistance you may provide.
Sincerely yours,
Sharon Oliver Knape

From: Russ Priestley via John Averell
To: Sharon Oliver Knape
Re: Melrose, Sept 14 2004

[Note that this is being replied to by John Averell, with Russ' answer, since Russ can't get the original email. Reply to Russ Priestley]

I lived on Washington St. for 26 years. In those days we knew all of the neighbors. There were no Pratts on Washington St., Melrose in my era, (1922-1948). Malden? I don't know. There was a Pratt Moving and Storage on Eastman Place, Melrose. That disappeared many years ago. There were few businesses on Washington Street. Near the Malden line was the Rubber Shoe and Boot Factory, followed by little else until Oak Grove R.R. Station and Wirthmore Feeds, both of the latter now displaced by the Rapid Transit Station. Oak Grove center, section of Malden, was all residences, except for a one story block of small businesses preceding the crossing over of the railroad tracks by Washington Street. This street, now on the east of said r.r. tracks continues into Malden Square with residences only.

Beyond this, I would suggest calling or writing the Melrose City Clerk/Vital Records (781) 979-4114, City Hall, Melrose, MA 02176/or Malden Clerk of the City (781) 397-7116, 200 Pleasant St., Malden, MA 02148. I presume there would be a small fee for research.

Russ Priestley ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Sharon Oliver Knape
To: Melrose Mirror. Sept 27 2004
Subj: Ezra Pratt

Hello, I wrote to you earlier and someone wrote back, but I can't find his Email. I found the information I needed on my "new" found grandfather Ezra F. Pratt from the Malden Public Library. I was sent 8 pages of newspaper articles about Ezra F. Pratt a real estate developer of Malden. He lived at 19 Washington St. when he died at age 91 on May 2nd, 1952. His daughter Elsie (Mrs. George Chisholm) lived at 89 Meridian Street, Melrose when he died. He named three
streets after the names of three of his children Earl, Elsie, and Grace (my mother).  

I wanted to write and tell the very kind man who was helping me what I found. Mr. Pratt (the obituary said) formerly owned the Pratt Building on Pleasant St., built 65 houses in West End. Had holding in Boston and New York. I even got his picture. Our son looks quite a bit like his great grandfather. He was my grandfather as I just learned this past few months. Thanks for your help.

The obituary also mentioned a great grandson named Perry Luke that lived in Malden in 1952. I will try to see if he still lives there.

Best wishes,
Sharon Oliver Knape


From: Jerry Turner,
To Melrose Mirror, Oct 15 2004

I enjoyed very much reading about you and the J-3 cub. I once had a cub. For a long time now, I've been trying to locate a poem that I saw years ago in either FLYING or SPORT FLYING magazine. I just thought you might know where I can find it. It is entitled, "The Old J-3". I know the first part of it. It begins: "Remember when we pressed our face, against the fence that marked the place, the place where the airplanes came to rest, the ones we liked the best?

Not the liners, silver and grand, that roared away across the land. Not the bi-planes, spinning high, the ones the men all liked to fly. We liked those little ships on the end, and to us, they looked like a friend. And it  thrilled us, you and me, as we gazed at the old J-3."

Any help in locating this poem will be greatly appreciated.


Jerry Turner


From: Don Norris
Melrose Mirror and Paul Hupper
Subj: Paul Hupper's recollections, Oct 7, 2004

Letter to the editors, Melrose Mirror, and Mr. Paul Hupper, formerly of Melrose.

Mr. Hupper. I thoroughly enjoyed your first article, printed in the October issue of the Melrose Mirror. And while I only moved to Melrose in 1947, I recall that Melrose Meat Market was two doors south of Ruderman's Furniture, which was on the corner of Main and Essex, opposite the City Hall.

I also recall that the A&P market was at the location now occupied by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, on Main Street.

Next door was the brand new store called "Hugo's Appliances" which (I understand) opened right after the end of World War II. I used to sell advertising to Hugo Porcaro in the '50s, but he has passed on.

It also appears to me that the store you call "S.K. Ames Butter and Egg Store" was (in my time, the post-war 1940s) called the Kennedy Butter and Egg store. I seem to remember seeing it right next to Hill's  News and Stationery. Of course, the discrepancy may be due to dates. I understand you were here in Melrose during the 1920s and 1930s, whereas my family moved here (from Bloomfield, NJ) in 1947.

As for City Hall, I seem to recall reading that the building was typically Victorian, with a much higher clock tower. There was a major fire in City Hall in 1937, from which the tower was truncated to its current height, and the third-floor auditorium (where movies were occasionally shown) was burned off. As a result of that fire, City Hall was radically changed to a "modern" style of architecture. Our City Hall used to look very much like town hall in Winchester. Very Victorian.

Your comments on a pumping station adjacent to Ell Pond is news. What was this operation pumping? I remember a bath house just south of the Knoll, for we high school students went swimming there in the '40s.

I especially enjoyed your first article and look forward to others. Thank you.

Donald R. Norris  
Melrose resident

Kathleen and Gerald Norton,
TO Melrose Mirror
Subj: Paul Hupper, Oct 6, 2004
Hello Stringers,

Paul Hupper's story of long-ago Melrose was great in its detail and recall. I particularly identified with his reference to the Friends bakery and the aroma of fresh baking as one passed by during the summer months.

He didn't mention one store in which I have an iterest, Alec's Haberdashery, which was across the street from Friends.

That's where I bought (and paid for myself) my first complete set of men's clothing. Does anyone know what became of that noble emporium?

Jerry Norton

From: Jack Beckley, City of Melrose Council on Aging.
Melrose Mirror
Subj: October issue, Oct 6, 2004

Congratulations! The October issue is a real winner. I hope people are going to the site. This monthís issue is just loaded with wonderful pictures. The photographers did a great job giving readers a feel for what the Victorian Fair is like. Ella did a terrific job taking pictures of Francesí (Bertulli, the Milano Center coordinator) retirement party. Ellaís pictures were made up into a little photo album for Frances. Iím sure that she will treasure it.

Jack Beckley

From: Barbara Pontecorvo
To: Melrose Mirror and Jackie Wattenberg
Subj: Ben Linder

Hello Jackie, My friend John Averall sends me the Melrose Mirror every month. Some months are busier than others and sometimes I don't get to read it all - but tonight I happened on your poem about Ben Linder.

One of his relatives is a friend of mine, and knowing her has given me a particular interest in Ben LInder's story. I was wondering how you happened to write about him.....I appreciate your connecting his death to the leadership in our country....I too am an activist.

Barbara Pontecorvo

Gail Almon  
To: The Melrose Mirror, Oct 1, 2004

The paper is so good this month I am so sorry I missed the fair this year
Just walk beside me and be my friend.

From: Jack Driscoll,
To Melrose Mirror
Subj: TGIF, Friday, Oct 1,

That looks like an edition and a half for October. I haven't gotten through it all (some of us have to work, you know), but I will. Seems full of life, variety, very good pix starting right at the top! cheers, jack d.


From: Fireman@mtnbrook.org
To Melrose Mirror
Subj Old pictures of an ancestral home, Sept 14, 2004

My sister and I are visiting the Boston area in October to explore our family's history. I have found a photo of a house where my great grand parents lived in the early 1900s. The address is 116 Ashland Street, Melrose Highlands. Is there a house there now? Would you be interested in a copy of the photos. I would be happy to scan them in for you.

Your help is greatly appreciated.  

Donna Mason-Smith
daughter of Edith Isabella Makepeace & William Waldo Mason, Jr.


To: "Melrose Stringers"
Subject: GREETINGS FROM...Melrose, MA Postcards
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2004 16:19:26 -0400

Here is a link to a bunch of old Melrose postcards, courtesy of Rose Sena.
John Averell


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