The Dune Shack ‘Travesty’
To the editor:
I find it both ironic and heartbreaking that the National Seashore is offering leases to the highest bidder for the very dune shacks it once tried to destroy [“Amid Protests, Dune Shacks Eyed by Bidders,” June 22, front page].
Among my earliest memories are playing and snuggling in the dune shack my parents, the artists Tony Vevers and Elspeth Halvorsen, shared with Graham Giese and Rachel Brown in the late 1950s and early 1960s. They had a deed to the acre of dunes the modest structure was perched on.
One spring day in the mid 1960s we trekked across the dunes, my dad’s olive-green World War II Army duffel bag full of food and supplies and Mum shepherding my sister and me along as toddlers. When we arrived at the familiar spot where the shack had nestled overlooking the Atlantic, there was nothing but an empty bowl of sand.
My parents dropped to their hands and knees to dig fruitlessly in search of their home away from home. What they found were the blackened stumps of the pilings that had held their shack above the drifting sands.
A park ranger named Dick Strange admitted to burning the shack to the ground. The National Seashore, it seemed, was intent on destroying the dune shacks one by one. Unfortunately for us, they started with ours. The uproar at the time put a stop to that plan. I wish that the deep sadness we feel about the repossession of the shacks and the eviction of Sal Del Deo would put this current travesty to a halt.
The Rule of Holes
To the editor:
A long time ago, a wise person promulgated The Rule of Holes: If you find yourself in an embarrassing hole, stop digging — or it will inevitably become worse.
The Truro Select Board received an anonymous complaint against one of its members. The board has a written policy requiring that anonymous complaints not be considered. A board majority accepted this complaint, however, and proceeded to consider it.
It now appears that the majority of the board, possibly fearing that they may face public embarrassment for violating their own rule, called in town counsel to bail them out. According to the article “Select Board Will Investigate Areson” [July 6, page A4], town counsel supported the action of the board majority by opining that the self-described anonymous complaint is not anonymous because the person who delivered it is known and could be a “contact” who can speak to the anonymous complainant.
The nonsense of this advice to the board is evident when restated as follows: “Anonymous complaints will be rejected out of hand unless delivered or mailed to the board by an identifiable person who knows the complainant.”
Town counsel has now joined the board majority, and the four of them are just a little deeper in the hole of their own making. A simple “Oops” would have saved all a lot of time and Truro some legal expense.
To the editor:
I was absent from this week’s meeting of the Walsh Property Community Planning Committee because I have resigned from the committee, for the following reasons:
I never supported building 252 housing units on the Walsh property. That plan is a typical liberal’s answer to need: build tenements and put our senior citizens, physically challenged, and working families in Co-op City with a public playground where no parent would send their child unattended.
The traffic from an estimated 525 or more vehicles coming from Walsh, down one road onto Route 6, would be a nightmare.
From the beginning, I have promoted first building 57 single-family homes for Truro families in need (that is, families living in a hotel, school families who need to leave, families living in unaffordable or unsafe accommodations) and at market value for the remainder to recoup the town’s investment. These houses would have garages and back yards — true equity that our small town can provide.
After serving on the Walsh Committee and learning a great deal about our community, I also support a building for child care, a food pantry, and a small clinic in one three-story building for people who need to live in accommodations with an elevator and access to medical care. And playing fields for Truro Central School and the community.
I urge Truro citizens not to vote for the 252-unit Walsh plan at the October special town meeting. Let us create a true community that cares for the most vulnerable among us while simultaneously stewarding this paradise.
Pickleball: Not All or Nothing
To the editor:
I am not a pickleball player, and I know this letter may be unpopular with some in our West End neighborhood, but I feel I should speak up.
I see the interest among friends and family in wanting to learn to play pickleball. It is a good social and exercise opportunity for all ages.
I understand the controversy regarding the noise at the Nickerson Street playground. I can only imagine the aggravation that it has caused my neighbors. The decision to limit pickleball hours was a fair one.
But this does not have be a case of all or nothing. I see no clear justification for a total elimination of these courts when there is more demand than ever. It would be reasonable to limit pickleball play to fewer hours per day if it will keep the courts open.
The Nickerson courts have always been an underused asset. If we were to see daily pickup basketball games on those courts with constant noise, would we close that down, too?
If the pickleball courts are eliminated, they will never come back. But the need for courts in the community will only increase. Should we lose this community resource to satisfy a few?
How about a hiatus for this summer, with a return in the fall of a schedule for pickleball that is a win-win for the neighborhood?
Transcending Affirmative Action
To the editor:
In 1968, the Rev. John Brooks, then-dean of the College of the Holy Cross, drove up and down the East Coast to personally select 20 young Black men to study at the mostly white Jesuit college. Those students, Clarence Thomas among them, would not have gained admission without Brooks’s intervention.
For him, it was a moral and practical imperative, because he knew Holy Cross could not shape the larger community if it continued to neglect a generation of talented Black men. He also knew he needed a measure beyond test scores. So, he focused on character, ambition, and decency.
After they were admitted, Brooks personally tutored and mentored them. He helped them create the Black Student Union; he fought for a Black Studies set of courses; he even fought the administration when it tried to expel some of them for participating in a walkout against what they deemed a racist recruiting presentation.
I wonder if what Father Brooks did in 1968 is now illegal. It seems to me that Justice Thomas thinks so.
Father Brooks transcended affirmative action first by selecting applicants using criteria beyond top-notch test scores and second by helping those Black students gain traction in an environment very different from what they were used to. Given the Supreme Court’s decision to end affirmative action, I wonder if Brooks’s example might lead colleges to other avenues that could provide a window for future students to add to the diversity of the campus.
As a former teacher in city schools, I know firsthand of the struggles of urban students, especially in that first year of college, no matter their talents.
The writer graduated from Holy Cross in 1969, taught in the Worcester Public Schools, and was the 1988 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year.