Letters to ...

Letters for June 2009

... interesting responses

from our readers

This letter refers to Joan Alcala's article on Deering Lumber

Dear Sirs,
 I enjoyed the article on Deering Lumber. I get the link from John Averell, my brother in law. It caught my eye especially since there is also a Deering Lumber in Saco, Me. and a Rufus Deering Lumber in Portland Maine. The Deering family was, if at all related , very industrious.
 I am a self employed carpenter and have done business with both firms. They both have the "neighborhood" business attitude. At Rufus Deering in Portland I am so much at home there that other customers think I work there.
 Once again I enjoyed the well written article.

Michael R. Pock
d/b/a/ Pock Carpentry
At Mike's suggestion, I googled for Deering Lumber in Saco, and found the following interesting link to its history -- http://www.deeringlumber.com/history.html . Pretty clearly not the same family.

Then there is an equally fascinating history of Rufus Deering Lumber in Portland in this link: http://www.rufusdeering.com/2006/info.php?info_id=19. This firm also predates our local Melrose company.

Dear Joan [Alcala],
Thank you so much for your story of Deering Lumber Co.

I worked under George Cronin in 1962 in the mason supply part of the company, then left for Florida. I often wondered what happened to George. Alden Perkins was the person who hired me. Then
in Oct of 1962 I left Melrose and went to Florida.

Charlie Northrup
DeSoto, Texas

After reading Don and Lorry Norris' article Michael McDonough recalls his fond memories of Mount Hood. Spring pops out on Mount Hood

Dear Melrose Media
My name is Michael McDonough. I am now 62 and my friends and I played at Mount Hood growing up in Melrose in the 50’s and 60’s. It was the all season play area. In the summer we would explore everything Mt Hood had to offer from 1st pond with fish and frogs to the Pig Farm on the Saugus side. We always treated nature with respect and never did anything to harm our “playground”…..We would on occasion climb over the top of the iron barrier at the top of Mt Hood Tower just to scare ourselves to death. If my own Grandchildren ever tried this, they would be in big trouble. In late April-May we would get our masks-flippers and snorkels and dive for golf balls in 2nd pond and sell them back to the golfers. The winter unveiled a whole different variation of adventures. We would bring our skates and pads and find a hockey game on 1st Pond….2nd Pond…or maybe the “Overflow”. Sledding on Mount Hood from the first tee is still the best sledding in the country. The right meteorological conditions could produce a clear ice surface that would cause your Flexible Flyer to go over 50mph. Mount Hood was our teacher of physical conditioning and adventure. It remains in a special place in my memory and in my heart. I know other kids my age share this sentiment. May Mount Hood last forever.

Early in 2001, SilverStringer editors Don Norris, Russ Priestley, Ella Letterie and Kay McCarte visited Ennis, Ireland at the invitation of Eircom Ireland and MIT. Helen MacQuillan, one of our hostesses, wrote the following, referring to that trip. To read about some of our memories click here If Ennis can do it by Don Norris and photos by Ella Letterie

Dear Kay
I have fond memories of your group visiting Ennis quite a while ago now and inspiring some of our older citizens to publish online. I'm delighted to see that the Melrose Mirror is still going strong. I hope you are all well and still enjoying life.

I'm now working with Age Action Ireland, a national charity promoting positive ageing in Ireland and am heading up a programme - Getting Started - encouraging older people to learn basic ICT/internet skills. Ireland I'm afraid has not been very active in the area of digital inclusion and many older people have yet to have their first experience of the internet. I work in Dublin but still live in Ennis which I love. Where you are a hockey fan I am the photographer for Ennis youth rugby.

I just wanted to say hello and would love to use the Silver Stringers and Melrose Mirror as an example of an inspirational ICT project. Our programme is at early stages but we are planning a national conference on older people and ICT in September during Positive Ageing Week. Unfortunately our budget doesn't stretch to extending an invititation to you to attend but we might be able to organise a video clip or link. Would you be interested, do you still work with those fabulous MIT people?

Anyway, I'm delighted you're  still stringing (is that a term?) and please pass on my regards to other members of your team. I remember the Ennis project very fondly. We had lots of fun and worked hard.

Best wishes

Helen McQuillan
Dear Helen,

What a surprise.  I could not believe it when I saw your name.  I, too, have great memories of that fantastic week Ella, Russ, Don and I spent with our wonderful new friends in Ennis.  I can't believe it's been eight years since that adventure.  Sadly, Ella died about two years ago but Don, Russ and I are holding our own.  I know they will be delighted when I show them your e-mail.

We are fortunate to have gotten a few new members for the Silver Stringers and it has now been going on for 12 years.  MIT Media Lab has changed and we are not the fair-haired children anymore.  We do still use their server, but that may change, and we do still have one friend over there who helps us if we run into trouble, even though it is not in his job description.  

And, of course, you can use the Melrose Mirror and us for your project - just let us know what we can do for you - I know everyone will be glad to help out.

Do you ever hear from the others? Michael, Elaine and Triona and any of the others?  If so, say "hi" to them for me.

May I have your permission to use your e-mail in our "Letters to"?  We love to let people know others are thinking of us.

Fond regards, and let me hear from you soon.

Kay McCarte
Dear Kay

Lovely to hear from you and delighted you are in good health.

I'll pass on your good wishes to all in Ennis.

We will be putting together an e-zine for older people in a month or two and will include a piece on the Silver Stringers.

Great to keep the contacts.

Best wishes


Mr. Norton’s stories are always my favorite!  His subjects are varied, his knowledge (or research) is on target and he has just enough “tongue in cheek” to make one smile.  Hip Hip Hooray for Mr. Norton!

M. Langton, President
Ph 425-204-0848
Fax 425-204-0850

Not all men live in quiet desperation


My father-in-law (now 89) was on the LST 218 when it arrived in Saipan in 1944 and is looking to contact shipmates.

Any suggestions as to methods I might try??

Pat Leone
734 242-1075

From: Donna Kaufman
To: melrose@media.mit.edu
Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2009 8:37 PM
Subject: info Saugus Iron Works

I am trying to find information about Quenten Pray, who worked at the Ironworks in the 1600s. Can you help?
Thank you.
Donna Pray Kaufman     

You almost threw me a curve, but I persisted. Even though Saugus abutts Melrose, it is in another county. I have about six phone books and five don't list Saugus. The other one lists Saugus Historical Society at 30 Main St. and 781-233-7232,/ Town Clerk, 781-231-4101 / Cemetery 781-231-4170... the latter two at 23 Main St.

We are Seniors, but none of us go back that far. Good luck.

Russ Priestley

[From my daughter-in-law and Mirror author who moved to Vermont several years ago.] *Hi Pop! I hope you are feeling great on this beautiful May Day afternoon. This edition looks great. It took my breath away to see the Mount Hood Tower again. I had no idea it would have that impact on me. It instantly brought forth so many memories that I had to take a break and let them work their wonders. I guess I am a Melrose kid to my very soul. Do you think its possible to print other photos from around town like this in future editions? I know I'd love to see them and be able to connect with a piece of home.

Your article on the Minutemen was truly illuminating. I remember seeing the Gooch School. I have never heard this story before, but I should have known that our ancestors would have responded to call to duty when they were needed. Reading your words made me feel proud to come from such good stock. Thanks Pop for making me proud of all of us. Love, Carol.

To whom it may concern,(In this case, RayJazzSmith,WGBH FM  Sundays at 7 pm).

My husband was a jazz collector. I have hundreds of records, 78 speed. Names such as John McCormack, Charles Harrison, Walter van Brunt, Bing Crosby, Frank Parker, etc.  

You may have them, if they would be of any value to your show.

jane Hill
Wilmington, Ma    
Greetings -to Jane Hill:

My old MHS 1940 classmate referred your subject inquiry to me... many of which I get along the same line - because I have been broadcasting music of the 20s and 30s your husband may have enjoyed -  actually, now in the Boston area some 51 years...since 1958.       

70 years ago, when I was 17, I started collecting 78s, but I disposed of them all back in the late-90s. Since the early 1980s, much of my old 78 music has been re-mastered and re-issued on CDs, to an extent that still amazes me 25 years later.

Except for extremely rare, ethnic and esoteric performances, popular and most jazz 78s, such as you indicate, have no intrinsic value in this high-tech age. Many people offer or give them to the Salvation Army or Morgan Memorial. 78 Turntables have gone the way of ice picks, blacksmiths and washboards.

The same holds true, to some extent, to vinyl long playing records.
Be Well.   Ray Smith

June 5, 2009

You can search below for any word or words in all issues of the Melrose Mirror.
| Return to section | The Front Page | Write to us |

Write to us