Letters to ...

Letters for March 2010

... we hear from you

from our readers

Here is an email from retired SilverStringer Irving Smolens about the review of "Catcher in the Rye"

From: IrvSmo@aol.com
To: edboyd3@comcast.net
Sent: Sunday, February 07, 2010 11:03 AM
Subject: Salinger

Hi Ed,

Thanks for the Salinger article. I envy you the ability to go back and reread "Catcher" and analyze it from an adult perspective. I somehow cannot do that. I spent an entire summer between classes at B.U. reading classic novels such as "Brothers Karamazov" but I have not since had the patience to read them again and acquire the wisdom in their pages. I confine my reading to escapist mysteries and adventure stories except for daily newspaper articles on political and world events.

J. D. Salinger was a veteran of the 12th Infantry Regiment of my Fourth Infantry Division. I am also a D-day veteran but I did not land among the early waves of soldiers on Utah Beach. Salinger was an infantryman and his regiment followed our 8th Infantry regiment on to the beach. The 12th Regiment liberated Paris despite what historical narratives tell the world. So Salinger was among the first Allied troops to enter that city on liberation day. He got to meet Ernest Hemingway who was traveling with elements of my division at the time. He admired Hemingway and Hemingway had liked very much short stories that Salinger had written. An official US Army historian S.L.A. Marshal wrote that soldiers of our 12th Regiment were at Notre Dame while elements of the 2nd French Armored Division were crossing the Seine River north of the city. "SLAM" Marshal wrote, "History won't tell you that but history is often wrong."

I lost 37 men of my gun battery on D-day when their landing craft hit a mine as it approached Utah Beach. Only about 10% of those who were part of that operation are still living. Those of us who are survivors have an affinity with each other and Salinger's death caused me much sorrow.

Catcher in the Rye was published in 1951 six years after Salinger left the army. He must have been harboring the seeds of "Catcher" all the time he was in WW II where he was given counterintelligence duties interrogating German prisoners.


Memories of Oak Manor mentioned in the story, "The little temple that could".
I remember the Oak Manor! I was there in the early 1940s. My Uncle and his bride held their wedding reception there. Altho I was only a young child, I recall the wonderful time we shared. There was a balcony overlooking the main floor and my new aunt threw her wedding bouquet from there.

There was music for dancing as well as good food and some 'bubbly' being served. Your article stirred some fond memories for me.

Eleanor (McGonagle) Demaris

An email from a reader taking issue with the use of a "pejorative" term in the story, "A sailor's best friend".

Dear Editor....
John Averell's reminiscence of World War II has a sentence that talks about a "Jap Zero and a German Messerschmitt"....I write to point out the distinction of the "slur" conveyed by "Jap", whereas "German" has zero (pardon the pun) "slur factor". Since both countries were our enemies in WWII and both did equally heinous things...."parity of parsing" would be in order.

I think it is race at the root of the different treatment of Japanese, then. (nuking the innocent citizens of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, confiscating the real estate of Japanese-Amercian citizens, and interring them in camps for the duration of the War, while never even talked of nuking Munich, and Berlin's citizens by the millions, and didnot take the real estate of German-Americans while imprisoning them.) ...and: to use the "then acceptable term" "Jap".... to give words to the thoughts we had in those days...requires of us to insert a little reference that makes that clear..... like "Jap Zero" as we thought of them in those racist days, ...when difference of race or skin color was cause for demonizing a person...

So, just as the book, "Tom Sawyer" should not be banned from schools because of its use of "nigger"..... we have to be careful in expressing a "slur" because it was ok to use it 60 years ago...

Please forgive me if this sounds "preachy".... (My father was a real Archie Bunker type, and always thought of new folks on the block by the most hurtful term he could, if they were not Irish Catholic..... until he eventually got to know them as people... at which point we would have great fun and neighborliness, together...).

Keep up the great writing that the Mirror is so full of.... It is amazing what talents lie in Melrose.

jack barry


SilverStringer and frequent contributor Len Dalton comments on Joe Sullivan's article "167-foot tall Wind Turbine ...".

These many years I have advocated the construction of wind turbines at Mount Hood. I have delivered volumes of technical material to City Hall. I have explained the 20% profit PER YEAR offered by such an installation. The flag upon the tower rarely is at rest and that is at about 300 feet above sea level. The base of the tower is 270 feet above sea level. Were any of us apprised of an opportunity to profit 20 percent on an investment, then I am sure we would all take advantage. What prevents the City of Melrose from doing so? The Canadian city of Toronto sold shares at $500 each to build a turbine along the shores of Lake Ontario promising share holders 8% on the investment and they sold out in no time; built a wonderful and profitable turbine near the CN Tower. Now they had such a grand experience with that tower that they have now built others.

Obstructions by the FAA seem a matter of who do you know. From Mount Hood Tower one can see at least 5 large turbines IN THE LOGAN AIRPORT AREA! There is an abnormal amount of wind energy at Mount Hood. The area in question is not near ANY dwelling or ANY neighborhood. The sight of magnificent turbines up there would be a tremendous compliment to Melrose and its citizens.

Leonard B. Dalton

SilverStringer and frequent contributor Eleanor Jenkins wrote this paragraph when she sent in her story "A Texan's plight in the North."  .

If you need any reminders about that storm, the March 2003 "Mirror" had a whole section devoted to remembering that storm. You might want to reread that to refresh your memory. You get the past issues by looking on the left hand margin. But be sure you open this month’s Melrose Mirror to get to that. The picture that hits you in the face is smack into the heart of Valentines at the Sweet Thoughts Store. Yes, I have been to the Sweet Thoughts store many times. We enjoy Sweet Thoughts. We buy our Melrose Symphony Orchestra tickets there, along with chocolate, wine, and odds and ends. The owners are very fun people. I bought Karen a horse lamp there for her night stand.

Eleanor Jenkins

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