Letters to ...

Letters for July 2010

from our readers

Here is another letter from retired Stringer Irving Smolens with more information and memories of "Lennie's on the Turnpike" by Steve Johnson.

Hi John,

This to inform Steve Johnson that Lennie is still with us and is living in an assisted living facility in Lynn.
He has lost some mobility but is still as enterprising as ever.

He has not given up booking Jazz artists. Arnold Koch and I went to the facility to hear Amanda Carr a very fine Jazz singer. She appeared about two weeks ago with a tenor saxophone player and a pianist. Lennie had booked them to play for the senior citizens housed at the facility.

I picked and chose the artists I wanted to hear at Lennie's and many of their performances were so great that I still remember them fondly. I agree with Steve on the intimacy of the room. I have witnessed Jazz performances in many venues from Boston to New York City and Saratoga and Canada and New Orleans but the most enjoyable Jazz room for me was Lennie's.

Irving Smolens

Hey Joe,

I just wanted to drop you a line to say I love your article. I was born in Melrose in 1973 and lived most of my life here. Mt Hood is truly one of the greatest little golf courses in the world. The entire park in general is a diamond in the rough also.

How lucky are we to be able to enjoy this GREAT little corner of the world? I grew up exploring its woods and climbing the tower. I've played 18 holes (mostly in a golf cart, sorry) many times and nothing else can compare to the experiences I've had at "Mt Happy".

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I really enjoyed the article.

Mike Lyons

Hey, Don,

Your June article on Royal Barry Wills caused me to pull from the shelf two of his books that my mother bought in 1953 (for just $1.00 each) when she was planning to build a Cape Cod style house -- "Planning Your Home Wisely" and "Houses for Homemakers" which were originally published in the mid-1940s.

What is striking is how Wills was aiming at the person of very modest means and the houses seem absolutely tiny by today's expectations. And today, by contrast, architects seem only involved in high end projects of considerable size.  But Wills emphasizes that just because a house was small and of modest cost did not preclude careful attention to proportion and detail.

One book starts out with houses expected to cost from $2,500 to $8,000.  The books give sizes and costs in cubic feet, but measuring from the floor plans the sizes are often well under 1,000 square feet. In fact, the zoning in many towns today would probably preclude building houses with such a small footprint!

This also made me wonder which homes in the NH Seacoast area are RBW designs. I'm not aware of an inventory as exists in Melrose.

- Jim Cerny
Rye Reflections, Rye, NH

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