Letters to ...

Letters for January 2009

... responses to our stories

from our readers

This first group of  letters are in reference to a story "Why I am prolix" published in the October 2003 issue. You may want to read it first to get the context.

From: Peg Lewis
To: John Averell
Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2008 7:46 PM
Subject: Christopher A Adams

As a fellow student, I feel I can call you John right up front. I read your article about Mr Adams, who was also my English teacher. I loved the photo! I don't remember you or your brother...

I graduated from DHS in 1961 and went on to Smith College. My husband John grew up in Melrose, so we feel doubly connected. And he is a space scientist so appreciates your Physics side. Lots of connections.

I am writing more particularly because of being rather prolix myself, and also being Mr Adams's eldest child, known in those days as Ruth Adams, but now going by my childhood name of Peg.

I just wanted to say hi. I am deeply immersed in doing family history right now, and I stumbled on your article while trying to find an ancient ancestor.

You are in fact not the only old DHSer I have been in contact with. Our son Christopher F Lewis is an attorney and had a client stop in who was one of CAA's students, as was her sister. I don't remember the maiden name but it would have been around the time you graduated.

Just wanted to say hi - My John is looking at the Melrose Mirror site now, relishing some Melrose photos.

Best, Peg
From: John Averell
To: Peg Lewis
Cc: Barb Averell
Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 11:02 AM
Subject: Re: Christopher A Adams

It is so great to hear from you! As you can tell, I admired your father very much, and really consider him the best teacher I ever had. The picture was copied from a 1950 Yearbook. It was odd that his picture did not appear as teacher in the '51 or '52 yearbook (my graduation year.) Fortunately I had all my yearbooks from DHS.

I'm copying this to my sister-in-law Barbara Averell, still living in the Louisville Ky area. As my article said, Barb and my late brother Rip had a much closer relationship with CAA than I. I do remember meeting your mother at some function, perhaps their wedding. They continued to see him not only at their wedding but also at many reunions afterwards.
(As I write this I am reminded of grammar lessons in parallel construction by CAA.)

Barb graduated from DHS in 1956 and then went on to Smith College (!) for two years. It looks like you and she never really crossed paths in school, but I will leave it to Barb to comment on that.

Since your husband grew up in Melrose, we would welcome any contributions to the Melrose Mirror that he or you would like to contribute. We have many non-local contributors, as you can tell from our issues.

Regards to you and husband, and wishes for Happy Holidays of all sorts,
John Averell
From: Barbara Averell
To: Peg Lewis, John Averell
Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 7:15 PM
Subject: Re: Christopher A Adams


I am so pleased that you have contacted our family.  I'm sure it comes as no surprise that former students of your dad consider him their best teacher ever.  (In my case that includes college and law school.)

I have a memory of him, however, that is a little different from the usual: your dad played cupid for me and the fellow student who became my husband.  I'll bet that's not a role you would expect from him!  Rip (John Averell's brother) and I were classmates in your father's English class when I moved to Darien in our junior year.  As part of the curriculum we were required to give individual book reports to your father, by appointment.  When Rip and I compared notes about the experience, we found that Mr. Adams had told each of us that he thought we were well-suited to each other, and that he expected to go to our wedding some day.  We had not even had our first date!  And yes, he did come to our wedding.  This is a story which we related often, including at Rip's funeral six years ago.  

Your dad cultivated a gruff and intimidating demeanor, but he was really a marshmallow inside.  I feel privileged to have known him and to have come under his tutelage.  

Barbara Averell

Change of venue ...

Editor's note: This note comes to us from Stringer Carol Nelson):

From: Laurie Elinoff
To: Carol Nelson
Subject: Camping - article in november issue.
Date: December 3, 2008


I really enjoyed reading about your camping adventure in the Blue Hills of Canton. I grew up in the town next door - Randolph.

That was wild, meeting that gentleman who had edited your most recent article. Coincidence? Maybe. And then there are those who believe there are no coincidences. Either way, it sounds like it was a positive experience that enhanced your camping adventure! Keep writing those great articles!

Laurie -- a reader in Baltimore.

Carol's footnote: "I guess "The Mirror" is being read in Baltimore".

January 2, 2009

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