Our March/April issue is now on sale where magazines are sold, and subscribers have had a head start in reading the issue — so it is time to open the mail and see what readers think:
Can you stand more feedback about Yankee‘s new format? I was first introduced to Yankee Magazine when I was 15 years old. My father was in New England Baptist Hospital recovering (successfully) from cancer surgery and issues of Yankee were available in many of the rooms, ready to help family members while away the tedium of hospital visits. I developed a special nostalgia for all things New England from those days nearly 40 years ago. No matter what size the print, quality of the paper, or dimension of the publication, nothing brings New England to me more than Yankee Magazine.Thanks.
Diane Piper, Westfield, Massachusetts
Editor’s note: Feeling good, a good start.
You mentioned in the last issue that you’ve heard a lot about moving “Mary’s Farm” to the “front-ish” part of the magazine, on page 16, after 11 glossy advertisement pages and other fluff. What may be lost on you is that Yankee is a paper magazine and that “Mary’s Farm” was easily folded back to be left open. It is (was), in fact, the cover of Yankee Magazine as far as I’m concerned. Now Yankee‘s slick and glossy cover glares at me, to be slid easily out of sight under all the similar covers on my table. Put “Mary’s Farm” back where it belongs. It was the only thing I consistently read in your magazine and I’m not inclined to hunt for it. You are losing it, Yankee.
Andrew Kuether, Northampton, Massachusetts
Editor’s note: I’m starting to think my obituary will begin, “Mel Allen, who moved Mary’s Farm off the last page…”
Your “puff piece” on Senator Olympia Snowe is misleading. It paints a more heroic picture (the article consists entirely of quotes by the senator) than reality indicates. If she were really in the mold of Margaret Chase Smith, she would have been more than a maverick. Senator Chase would have declared herself independent from the Republican Party. Senator Snowe’s victory margin in 2006 is misleading, too. The Democratic Party leadership held back on its support of the party’s candidate, conceding the election. Otherwise, the vote total for Snowe would have been closer to 59 percent. She is, at bottom, another “enabler” for Dubya Bush. Time will tell.
Meantime, Yankee Magazine ought to stay away from mere “puff pieces” if it is to be seen as being on the cutting edge of reporting accuracy.
Dick Bernard, South Portland, Maine
Editor’s note: The Olympia Snowe interview is one of a series we call “The Big Question.” They are all in the first person, so rather than being a puff piece, it’s more like hearing someone — in this case Senator Snowe, last issue Bode Miller, and the many people ahead — talk about their lives and passions.
Your article, “Secret Places”, shows the beauty of the Quabbin reservation. Hidden beneath pictures and words lie the four doomed towns where 2,500 inhabitants were forced to relocate and 7,561 bodies to be reinterred in other cemeteries. The Quabbin Reservoir was created to provide a large source of water to meet the present and future demands of Boston and surrounding towns. All signs of human habitation had to be eradicated to accomplish construction of the reservoir. Four towns were sacrificed in the Swift River Valley to create the largest domestic water supply in the world.
The love and history of this area is preserved by the Swift River Valley Historical Association. My paternal grandparents lived in Greenwich (one of the flooded towns) and raised five children. The sacrifice of all the inhabitants will not be forgotten. This was an early act of Eminent Domain that shows the power of law to devastate lives and this practice is becoming more prevalent in our country today.
Virginia Hall, Boulder, Colorado
Editor’s Note: We have written compelling stories in the past about the human cost of creating Quabbin Reservoir. This story focused on its visual beauty and the work of Paul Rezendes, one of New England’s best nature photographers.
I think I enjoy Edie Clark’s column most of all in your magazine, but “Peace Log” had me hooting with laughter. Whenever we vacationed in Bar Harbor, we would always read the police log in the weekly newspaper there. I will never forget one entry I saw over a decade ago about a possible stolen car. It turned out that the car had been borrowed by a ship’s cook, and “the cook had permission to drive the diesel Peugeot,” it read at the end. Such a level of detail in a police report astounded me! But more than this, it notified us that if anyone saw a diesel Peugeot being driven by a stranger, there was no need for alarm. I can’t imagine any of the media being so helpful these days.
The piece by Thom Rock (baby boy 3331) was pretty difficult for me to read. My mother gave up a baby for adoption in 1944. My half brother, Joe, contacted me 15 years ago! He was on a search for his birth mother and birth family. The story has a very happy ending, thank God. I wish the best for the author!
I was also adopted out of Boston when I was 6 weeks old. Always knew it, for was given the book The Chosen Baby by Valentina. P. Wasson. (Probably out of print by now.) When I was 50 I received a letter from HEW Dept. of Social Services saying IF I was so in so and IF my parents were, then someone was looking for me. (I’m now almost 62.) I called and come to find out, I had a sister and two brothers. Our mother never married which was unheard of in the 1940s. She kept a brother to pass on the family name and he never had children. Still very close to my sister. I was brought up as an only child so it’s still rather strange having siblings.
My heart was so touched by Thom Rock’s story “Baby Boy #3331.” I’m still dabbing away the tears. Both my parents were my birth parents and they were wonderful and loving and we had a great life. My dad died of cancer when I was young. Mr. Rock wrote so beautifully about his birth mom and the situation. I hope one day he finds Rosalie and the circle can be completed for both of them.
Sincerely, a real Yankee fan.
Donna Skjeveland, Holbrook, New York
I was deeply moved by Thom’s letter to Rosalie. Although he was given a wonderful childhood and upbringing by his adoptive parents, it is clear to see that he has unresolved issues with his birth mother. I truly hope that his wish comes true and that somehow Rosalie will contact him.
Elizabeth Lapointe, Danvers, Massachusetts
As a recent subscriber to Yankee, I groaned when it suddenly arrived in its upsized, upscaled format. It looks a lot like another glossy ex-magazine, New England Monthly, which glossified its way to bankruptcy, in spite of its great writing.
No name submitted
I have been a Yankee subscriber, it seems, since the earth just started to get round. It is always a joy when your latest edition arrives at the house, and now more than ever! Not to worry; I can find Ms. Clark’s column wherever you choose to put it and I like the new paper you are using. Further, I think the new size is a stroke of genius. Being a male 78-year-old, I never did tuck away my copies in my purse, but they did seem to get lost among my stack of grown-up sized magazines. If Henry Ford had given up tinkering we could all still be driving a Model T, so I say keep tinkering, Mr. Allen! My feeling is if the old saying about “if it ain’t broke” were really true, (if you can stand another simile) we’d still be using carbon paper. Nice work, Yankee!
Robin Bonneau, Manchester, New Hampshire
Mel Allen is editor of Yankee Magazine and author of A Coach’s Letter to His Son.