The Central Square that used to be

I was saddened to read about the passing of Susan Phelps but heartened to see she made the front page of the Globe (“Keeper of the ‘clubhouse for castaways,’ ” Page A1, Nov. 8). Many moons ago, my late mother ran the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church thrift shop on Mass. Ave., between Central and Harvard Square. At that time, Phelps’s Hubba Hubba, which reporter Eric Moskowitz describes as “a fetishist’s emporium,” was just up the street.

Phelps would visit the thrift shop, scoping out particular items. She and my mother, Mildred, became friendly, and my mother would keep an eye out for the random mink stole she knew Phelps would like. The idea of Mom being pals with “the Hubba Hubba lady” was always a source of sweet amusement in our family. It’s the type of oddball, neighborly friendship that Cambridge was once famous for — when it was a more affordable place to live.

Things just ain’t the same.

Kate Joyce