I thoroughly enjoyed the October 27 letter from Forum employee Gary W. Moore (“In Praise of the Gas Stations of Yesterday”), in which he remembered the car gas stations of days gone by. (Do you remember 30 cents a gallon gasoline? I could fill my VW tank for $ 3.) I’d like to add a few more memories of downtown Lebanon from days gone by – 60 or 70 years ago.
Do you remember when the downtown mall was an extension of Hannover Street? It allows traffic and parking. We had three drug stores, two hardware stores, Woolworth’s, several delis, lots of grocery stores (First National, A&P) and lots of corner shops.
Then came the tragic fire of June 19, 1964, which decimated much of the city center. Soon the mall replaced the city center. In my opinion, building the mall was a mistake. Lots of people agree with me.
But there are some very good things to say about Lebanon: We have one of the nicest Central Parks in New Hampshire, Colburn Park, which is home to lots of activities – music, a lovely children’s playground, a seasonal farmers market, a lovely fountain (and no parking meters ).
There is a splendid, legitimate theater in the town hall. We have a great gym and smaller parks nearby. Let’s not forget the rail trail. We have an active senior center and a free bus service. Good restaurants.
Lebanon is a good place to work and live. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center employs thousands of people. DHMC and Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital are two of the best hospitals in the state. There are construction and construction companies and lots of small businesses.
I returned to Lebanon from Massachusetts about 20 years ago after I retired. Far from the hustle and bustle of the city. I have never regretted it.
I find the cross currents that run through the political scene confusing and disturbing. Some examples:
We are ready to pay trillions of dollars overseas but are fighting for trillions to invest domestically. Valley news Columnist Steve Nelson claims, “Future defense spending alone will be more than double the cost of investing in Build Back Better” (“We could do it, we just don’t want it,” Oct. 2).
Politicians isolate themselves in “information bubbles” and only hear their side of an issue, which makes it impossible to find common ground. This happens in cases of clear national interest, be it infrastructure, racial inequality or closing the income gap. The Pew Research Center finds that approximately 80% of Americans are bothered by wealthy people and businesses who fail to pay their “fair share” of taxes, which is America’s # 1 complaint about tax law.
I find it puzzling that Republicans are resisting laws that are widely accepted by the population. For example, Senate Republicans have blocked the Democratic Election Review Act, which aims to protect and expand the electoral law and reform campaign funding laws. Furthermore, the $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure package and the Senate Organizational Protection Act seem to have little success due to a lack of Republican support.
Equally worrying is the reference by Sens. Suzanne Prentiss and Becky Whitley of New Hampshire State to Republicans, who affirm freedom of expression and local scrutiny at all levels of education, while promoting measures that censor discussions on uncomfortable topics such as systemic racism and sexism. Senators note that “it doesn’t seem to matter much what their constituents want” (“First year senators get a lesson in partisan dual language,” July 16).
Politicians have to respond to multiple constituencies. Most notable are strong lobbies that fund campaigns and influence representatives so much that important issues become secondary to constituents. As a result, the citizens’ influence on legislation is practically negligible.
In order to counteract this, the citizens must be informed about the legislation at federal and state level and the positions of our legislators. In return, we have to be ready to enforce our preferences.
I can’t resist the urge to comment on some of the latest developments.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had the awkward job of announcing that his wife, Casey, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Predictably, many people offered prayers and support not just in Florida but across America. Less predictably, many took the opportunity to spread hatred. After reading some of their malicious comments, I realized where the real haters are and who is really compassionate.
Service in a school board can be a thankless job, but there is a need for accountability. When concerned parents express their objections, even loudly, there is no invitation to label this “domestic terrorism” and treat it as such. Seeing Attorney General Merrick Garland mishandling legitimate disagreements, I’m happier than ever that his Supreme Court nomination was overlooked, even if the course of action was considered controversial. Expressing concern about what their children are taught is both parents’ right and responsibility.
The recent theatrical performances and unjustified allegations against Republican leadership by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer have been an embarrassment to other Democrats, particularly Senator Joe Manchin, who claimed the outbreak was “inappropriate at the time,” especially if he acted on Senate Minority Leader Mitch. judged McConnell, who proposed a solution to the political deadlock that could have defaulted the nation due to Democratic inaction or misconduct.
The legal battle over a Texas abortion law will escalate in the Supreme Court.
A little over 20 years ago, my wife and I were involved in a serious car accident that was life changing for us and gave me more empathy and compassion for people with mobility impairments, even though my own were temporary. Recent events will increase my compassion for those battling all types of cancer. Life is too short and too precious to be wasted hating people we disagree with, even if we disapprove of their position.
WILLIAM A. WITTIK
Recent events on a Hollywood film set are reminiscent of that moment after 70 years. Let me ask you to provide the moral.
During my sophomore year at Stanford, I discovered that as a non-singing extra (a âsurplusâ) at the San Francisco Opera I could âsuperâ. A fee of US $ 1 would just cover the gasoline for the 60-mile round-trip trip to “the city”. Finances aside, I could enjoy a âseatâ on the Ring with one of the largest opera companies in the country.
This year I âsuperedâ two or three different operas. Puccinis Tosca was a.
Although my Scottish grandmother often used fragments of Vissi d’arte When I was preparing dinner, I knew little about opera. My job for the procession of the first act was to carry a cross or a flag. Then I could watch the show from the wings.
In the final act, we are on the roof of the prison in Rome as the day of execution begins. In his cell, the convicted Mario Cavaradossi wrote his last message to his lover Floria Tosca. He sings his contortion e non ho amato mai tanto la vita (“And I have never loved life more”). Tosca arrives with the note “Safe passage” in her hand, which she stole from the murdered hand of the villainous Baron Scarpia. She is waiting for Mario’s âfakeâ execution. The firing squad get their weapons ready. The tension is exquisite.
At this moment I am “flat” separated from what is happening on the stage. Mario is about three steps away, with his back to the “wall” behind which I stand. There is an explosion as the guns are fired. I hear a hissing âbreathâ as splinters of gun cotton or wax pierce the apartment above the tenor’s head – and not far from mine. The stage manager, who, like me, witnessed a potentially breathtaking disaster, is apoplectic.
Mario is now lying dead. (The tenor playing his part is unharmed and is probably unaware of the danger he narrowly escaped.) Audience attention is focused on Floria as she discovers the damned truth. She rushes to the parapet and throws herself into death. A few moments later she and Mario lift the curtain.
Well, your moral for the story?