THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Letters to Globe Magazine

July 31, 2011

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Reflecting on Reeb Thank you to Scott Helman for retelling the story of James Reeb and other civil rights workers who gave their lives fighting for justice and equality (“Letter From Selma,” July 17).

I was unfamiliar with Reeb’s role in the civil rights struggle. I was born in 1960 in Philadelphia and only have vague recollections of some of the civil rights-era events. But it wasn’t until years later, when I studied at the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, that I fully understood the history and the sacrifices my parents and so many of their friends made supporting the struggle waged in the South but so strongly felt in the North. Some may feel pain about reopening these old cases, but I believe justice must be served, no matter how long it takes.

Ken Johnston / Holyoke

Helman’s story brought back a lot of memories of my time in the Deep South in 1964 and 1965. I joined the Army in Boston and was sent to Columbia, South Carolina, for basic training and then to Fort Rucker, Alabama. It was an eye-opening experience for an 18-year-old white city kid who attended desegregated Rindge Technical School. I had a lot of black classmates in school, and when I arrived in the Deep South I was shocked to see how black people were treated. They had separate bathrooms for “colored” and whites, and blacks could not be served at lunch counters or in local restaurants. When I tried to befriend a black farm boy from South Carolina, we were both told to “stick to our own kind.” On weekend leaves, we got a pass to go downtown, but black soldiers stayed on base because they did not want to get beaten up by the locals.

Mike Kelley / Tewksbury

When I was a student at the University of Vermont I threw myself into anti-racist organizing and activism. There were years when I slightly regretted it, when I wished I had been more carefree. I even broke up with my white boyfriend because of my activism. But after reading Helman’s article, I don’t regret it anymore. Not for a second. I feel excited that I’m a participant in a movement much greater than myself.

Sung Yun Lee / Brookline

Berry good memories

I was excited to read Jessica Lander’s story on blueberry farming in Gilmanton, New Hampshire (“Blueberry Fields Forever,” July 17). I grew up on a blueberry farm in the adjacent town of Gilford, where my dad nurtured and harvested 60 acres of wild blueberries in the 1950s and 60s. Everything in the story was very familiar, including the drive to the Chelsea wholesale market. I was an active helper in the operation from about age 5 through my college years. Once the last of us kids graduated from college, Dad retired from that labor of love, but kept most of the fields open by mowing them. Sadly, other vegetation has finally taken over the blueberries, which are now few and far between, and our blueberry mountain has long since grown up to forest. I was surprised and delighted to learn there is still one active grower in New Hampshire and will make it a point to drop by the Geddes farm as soon as possible.

Charmian Curtis Proskauer / Newton, Massachusetts, and Gilford, New Hampshire

Armchair analysis

If Lenny Megliola was trying to be funny in his piece about his wife having no interest in sports, he wasn’t (Coupling, July 10). I felt sad for him that his wife doesn’t share what appears to be not only his job but also his passion. How do you live with someone who doesn’t want to talk about what you’ve been doing all day?

Mo Mulderry / Westwood

Hooray. Finally, another woman who couldn’t care less about sports. After more than 40 years of marriage, my husband still doesn’t understand why I go upstairs to read while he is yelling his head off downstairs at some hockey, baseball, football, or soccer game. Mary Anne Megliola is my kind of BFF!

Eileen Rahamim / Norwood

Divorce court redux

Attorney Laura W. Gal and Mary R. Lauby, executive director of Jane Doe Inc., attack Fathers and Families for its advocacy of joint physical custody of children of divorce (Letters, July 10). I invite them to join us in exploring solutions for our children instead of attacking constructive ideas.

Gal is concerned about the effects of parental acrimony on children. Agreed. But what could possibly produce more acrimony than a custody battle in which one parent is the victor and the other the vanquished? Shared parenting defuses acrimony by treating parents as equals.

Lauby angrily accuses us of “wholesale misogyny.” Where is the misogyny in saying that we wish to share our children with our ex-partners? Let’s put aside the anger and try to help them.

We share Lauby’s concern about domestic violence. That is why our legislation would not require victims of batterers to share custody. On the other hand, a minority of batterers should not preclude shared parenting for the large majority of lawful parents and their children.

We agree with Gal and Lauby that we need to stay focused on the best interests of children. Shared parenting is a great step in that direction.

Ned Holstein / chairman of the board, Fathers and Families

While the pundits argue from one side or the other, my ex-wife and I have actually been doing shared parenting for seven years. We fired the lawyers and told the family courts to mind their own business. The results can best be voiced by my daughter, who was interviewed for an article at age 15: “Compared to my old life,” she said, “shared parenting is not just one of the best things that has happened, it is the best thing that has ever happened to my family.”

David A. Bardes / Burlington, North Carolina

COMMENTS Write to magazine@globe.com or The Boston Globe Magazine/Letters, PO Box 55819, Boston, MA 02205-5819. Letters are subject to editing.


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