THE MUSIC MAN
I’ve been one of those adult folkie fans of Alastair Moock (“Little Folk,” August 25) since I first saw him at an open mike. He is one of the favorites at Linden Tree Coffeehouse, where I am coordinator. My 1½-year-old granddaughter stopped what she was doing out on Boston Common when she heard Moock singing her favorite song, “A Cow Says Moo.” Each week when she visits she takes my hand and leads me to the boombox so we can put on her favorite CD and dance. I love when a good person gets noticed.
Thanks for the lovely story about Moock. Folk music is an ideal way to entertain and bond parents and children. However, as the mother of teenagers, I need to point out that you omitted a crucial link between Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Moock and his friends: Dan Zanes, former member of Boston’s own Del Fuegos, who started playing folk music for kids and parents years ago, to great acclaim and enormous musical fun and joy.
Miss Conduct’s answer regarding a reader contacting her biological family was very disappointing (August 18). Her opinion that the rights of someone to contact their birth relatives is trumped by the fact that this contact could “reopen old wounds or inflict some new ones” or make these relatives “feel uncomfortably obligated to do something about you” is offensive to every adoptee who has had to fight for the right to investigate his or her own history. I would encourage everyone looking to contact birth relatives for the first time to assess the impact that it could have on their own family and to discuss the specifics with an adoption professional or other therapist before moving forward, in the interests of all parties involved.
One of the questions in the Miss Conduct column (August 18) concerned whether it is ever appropriate to drink from a bowl when in a restaurant. Miss Conduct’s reply indicated that it is never appropriate. May I point out that it is both entirely appropriate and expected that diners will sip directly from the bowl when drinking soup at a Japanese restaurant? Most meals begin with a small bowl of miso soup, which is served sans spoon because Japanese custom expects the diners to pick up the bowl and sip.
I have been thinking about Laura Shea Souza’s article “Becoming Friends With My Brother” since I read it on Sunday and wept (Connections, August 25). My brother and I were also two years apart, but I was the older sister. Your descriptions of growing up as mandatory roommates who then became friends rang so true. When I went off to college, my brother, Peter, and I started writing to each other; we became good buddies. At home on holidays we would double date, marvel at how tall he’d become, and catch up with news from home and school. The writer’s relationship with her brother as an adult is what really got to me. I have so many friends and relatives who are estranged from their brothers, which I have trouble understanding. I would love to have had Peter helping me make end-of-life decisions for our parents, meet his wonderful nephew and his beautiful great-nieces, and talk about all the things I’ve done and places I’ve been since he was killed in a car accident at 17. It’s been more than 40 years and I miss him often and think about what might have been.
MISSONARIES? WE HAVE A PROBLEM
It’s a free country and the missionaries to “godless” Massachusetts are welcome to try (“Just a Couple of Nice Guys From Texas on a Mission to Save Godless Massachusetts,” August 18). But much is left out of the six-page free ad they got, compliments of the Globe Magazine. Aside from the image of fresh-faced young people on a clean-cut journey to save us all are questions about what else they’re bringing besides “Christ” to our heathen shores. I was raised in the South in the religious brand mentioned and recall how we were reared to believe our faith was superior to all that surrounded us. If statistics are any help, we know they are from regions that care little about financing education and stem-cell research, that are woefully behind the growing enlightenment for same-sex marriage, and that have little sympathy for the poor. As for these Texans newly in our midst, their state has more than 120,000 people who have signed a petition to secede from the United States. Mayhap their zeal were best spent back where they came from.
The Rev. John Burciaga
One of the reasons Massachusetts is this country’s least religious state is because we’re also leading the country in terms of freethinkers, something that also dates back to our historical beginnings. I’m proud to live in New England, where our laws are clearly unbound from any religious impression and our tolerance of all people, regardless of religion or not, is one of the hallmarks of the Commonwealth.
I was intrigued by this story, especially because it followed a discussion by several men of my own church about how so many mainstream congregations are shrinking to the point of extinction. After reading it, however, I do feel the need to urge caution. While I welcome fellow Christians seeking to spread the word of God here and pray they meet success, it is important that they respect people in New England. New Englanders do tend to be more reserved than people from other parts of the country. We also tend to draw a sharper line between our spiritual and our political lives in recognition of the right of all citizens to their beliefs under the US Constitution. But being different is not the same as being godless. If you come in with the attitude that New Englanders as a group need to be “saved” (and you Southerners are the only ones who can do it), you stand a very good chance of failing.
Jeffrey K. Belitsky
THE RIGHT MAYOR
In response to Kenneth J. Cooper’s essay, “A Mayor of Color” (Perspective, August 18), I suggest that the author does not realize what his real message is. He states that Boston is “ready” for a black mayor. Unfortunately, his subtle message is we should elect a black man or woman because they are black and still in need of white sponsorship. Look around: Our minority groups have achieved success in media, medicine, politics, education, and small and large businesses. Boston needs the most qualified person for the job of mayor. How sad that we still think in terms of race and sex.
As a person of color, I was offended by this column suggesting that I vote based on the color of a candidate’s skin rather than qualifications or positions. I believe that to continually bring up old racial divides like the busing issue from some 40 years ago is what keeps us divided.
The author cites a statistic that 19 of 25 of our biggest cities by population have elected a minority chief executive at one time or another and therefore it is time for Boston to do the same. By his reasoning, if 19 of 25 sheep ran off a cliff, the remaining six should as well.
> Total reader e-mails the August 25 issue:
Portion expressing dismay that Miss Conduct called Lynn the “City of Sin”
Portion commenting on other matters
> Selected comments from Lynn residents . . .
“What have you got against the city of Lynn?”
“Your attempt to be cute was fresh and disrespectful.”
“How dare you?”
“Lynn is one of the jewels of the north.”
“From now on, consider it ‘Lynn, Lynn, City of Win.’”
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