Letters from readers of The Home Forum serve as the completion of a circle. Selection of essays, poems, and art hinges on what editors think is appropriately intriguing or gently amusing. Response from readers confirms our choices or lets us know that strong opinions thrive. Here is a selection of letters from our readers, all of which complete the circle.
John Gould, May 29, 1987, wrote in your newspaper, ``To begin with, Sam Maverick was never in Texas in his life.'' That is news to me, since I am his great grandson and at least 200 of his direct descendants live here in San Antonio, where he was elected by the defenders of the Alamo to represent them at the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Texas.
The word ``maverick'' did come from that Sam, but Mr. Gould has him confused with our Boston relatives, one of whom was a different Sam Maverick who was killed at the Boston Massacre.
Maury Maverick Jr.
San Antonio John Gould replies:
Them there Texas Mavericks are hard to convince. Boston's Sam Maverick was already venerable (and hard to get along with) when he was named in 1664 to the Royal Commission to report on ``the state of affairs in the colonies.'' That makes him at least 165 years old when he was killed at the Boston Massacre (1770).
How delightful to see the picture of ``Herman and Verman'' by Hugh Poe in the June 1 issue of the Monitor!
How many of your readers, I wonder, realize that Herman and Verman were characters in Booth Tarkington's ``Penrod'' books (1914-1929)? Whether the artist based his models on the books I don't know, but it seems likely.
It was also interesting to note that the original oil painting is in the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Indianapolis was Tarkington's hometown.
The story by Virginia Graham in the Home Forum section of the June 24 issue of the Monitor was headlined, ``What should be done with one good roller skate?'' I found myself responding to this provocative question just as 50 years ago my 9-year-old self would have answered, ``Why make it into a skate scooter, of course!''
The scooter is making a comeback after several decades of near extinction. It's a children's vehicle used by youngsters too old for tricycles and not yet big enough for a full-sized bicycle.
But a skate scooter is a different breed. Popular during the depression years of the 1930s, it was the result of economic conditions which left children (and many of their parents) short on cash, but long on ingenuity....
On Monday, May 18, Willa Beall's ``What made Victoria laugh?'' was a pleasure to me. There is a Queen Victoria story in my family which will probably never appear in a serious biography, but my mother told it many times with great success....
My mother was born in 1883, the year that Queen Victoria was 46 years old. The story came from my mother's oldest brother. He had known a young British naval officer who captained one of Victoria's royal yachts. Often when the Queen and her family were at Osborne, on the Isle of Wight, this yacht was anchored there, and the young officer was given shore quarters for his family - a wife, dedicated to the advancement of her husband's naval career, and three young children. The eldest, six years old, was also aware that her father looked forward to advancement. I imagine that these people were all quite charming, for they were noticed by Queen Victoria.
One day an invitation was issued to Miss Six-Years-Old to have lunch with the Queen, and some of the royal grandchildren at Osborne. The invitation was for a day which allowed considerable time for preparation, and preparation was made. Clothes, curls, and mostly manners. Finally the wonderful day came. The royal equipage arrived. It is not known how many horses or how many footmen, but the child sat high and proud on the carriage seat with feet dangling as a liveried person closed the door.
Oh! The suspense at home! Time passed so slowly! All the rehearsed things were re-rehearsed! And then - after long hours, the carriage returned with a triumphant and happy Miss Six-Years-Old. Her parents were relieved and relaxed and settled down to hear the details. All was wonderful - until, ``And Mother, we had pork chops for lunch, and when the Queen picked hers up in her fingers, I shook my finger at her and I said, `Piggy, Piggy.'''
Katharine Fontaine Heath
Thank you - and Doris Peel and Tom Hughes - for the lovely expression of gentle harmony and friendship on the July 20 page [``Thank you for coming this way'']. I hope there will be more of their work, each enriched by the other.
I am an art teacher, therefore I am especially appreciative of the articles appearing on the Home Forum page that concern the visual arts.
Thanks for including the dimensions of the illustrated works.
Alma M. Penberthy
Mrs. Dorothy Lang sent us a poem that was not accepted. Then she submitted another poem playfully taking us to task:
C.S.M. Poetry Editor ``We are not accepting verse in this style; (You must not have written for quite a while!)'' Should I have submitted poems without rhyme; Versecraft without meter singing each line?
Once more I scan the free verse of today; And, once more, I know I can't write that way I love the old poems with their melody And the stories they tell still live in me.
Where are the wordsongs to tell of our years; Where are the rhythms that slip past our fears? Some like haiku and some like the ballad ... One puts more than ``lettuce'' in the salad!
What of the poets well versed in their craft ... Are they and their ``style'' put out on a raft? There are many who love to hear words dance Please open the door and give us a chance.
Dorothy M. Lang
Vineland, N.J. Our apologies to Mrs. Lang. Her first poem nicely sang but needed just more bang. Now she writes with boom. For this we gave some room.
I'm an adult and I love these ``For Young Readers'' art articles. I found the recent one on Paul Klee excellent, too. More please! It helps me understand art.
A reader in California
Another avid reader and I were wondering - where is David Mazel? I loved his articles and own his book, and would enjoy hearing more of him, unless I've just missed one of his columns recently. He is always a tearjerker - not that he is strictly sentimental - but he has a special way of remembering that tugs. I hope he becomes better known - we need him!
I'm taking the June 15 issue ``The wrestler moves on'' to my son who used to wrestle in college. It was interesting even to me!
Balboa Island, Calif.
We love David Mazel too, and we're glad to say he's still writing for us; so far this year we've run five of his essays (on Jan. 23, March 11, June 9, June 25, and Aug. 18), with more to come.
I always enjoy reading the Monitor, especially the Home Forum section. Since I have lived and taught at Westtown School for a good many years, I was delighted to see N.C. Wyeth's painting ``The Giant'' reproduced in the column ``For Young Readers'' on June 19. In the interest of accuracy, I want to make one small correction. Although the painting is mural size, it is not technically a mural as Alice Putnam defines the term. It is a large, framed picture painted in oil on canvas. This has enabled it to travel occasionally. It has been shown occasionally with other Wyeth paintings at the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pa., and on at least two occasions has been on loan to special out-of-state exhibits, one in South Carolina and one in New Jersey. The Westtown School community prefers it to stay at home in the space at the end of our dining room for which it was painted.
In the Monitor, June 9, I noticed the announcement - ``on saying goodbye and farewell to `The Loose-leaf Library.'''
From the beginning of these articles I cut them out and pasted them onto loose-leaf sheets in albums - then covered the bindings with brocade. They are especially nice for tables in guest rooms and I have appreciated the idea very much.
Alice A. Greenlaw
Delray Beach, Fla.
I won't miss ``Loose-leaf Library'' as such - I can't explain this but it got a knee-jerk reaction from me - it reminded me of less pleasant aspects of school.
What I appreciated about it, and occasionally about essays in HF, was the reminder of older books, a reminder that goes a pixie step toward meeting a screaming need, affecting more people than the contra hearings.
All we hear or read about - well, almost all - is new books and as Elie Wiesel says, more are published than written.