Letters to the Editor: Feb. 17

Watershed concerns; Paraskevidekatriaphobia; Why I vaccinate; "Gypsy"

Watershed concerns

The Cty of Kimberley has every right to be concerned over the use of the Matthew Creek and Mark Creek watersheds.

Over the years of working in the City’s Water Dept., I witnessed several bad situations that occurred in the watersheds by logging and drilling companies.  On one occasion a  culvert on Matthew Creek side of Low Pass plugged and water with lots of clay ran down the road and over a steep embankment down into Matthew Creek causing very high turbidity in the water going to Marysville.  Active logging was occurring at this time.

On another occasion drilling was taking place in Mark Creek valley and muddy water from their access road was close to getting into Mark Creek.

Then there is the recreational use of both water systems.  At least this usage is not nearly as bad as contractor usage.  For the city to have a water department employee monitor the usages is a very costly thing to do as it takes time to check all roads and culverts.  Maybe the contractors should pay into a fund for monitoring of these water systems.  I don’t think self monitoring works.  This would at least pick up some of the costs involved.  But it still takes a employee away form work that is being done through out the city.  The city water department employees know what to look for as warning signs when delivering a safe drinking water supply.

I think a safe drinking water supply should be number one and everything else should come after that.  I am not saying to stop logging or recreational use but it has to be monitored.

B.L. Filip/Marysville

Paraskevidekatriaphobia

Regarding Reverend Yme’s article February 13th; I found it both entertaining and informative. It illustrates the fertility and the gullibility of the human mind which seems to have a real weakness for fantasy.

Apparently, there is nothing so incredible as to be beyond belief.

Bud Abbott/Cranbrook

Why I vaccinate

I often wonder if the reason for opposition to vaccination is the result of there being no one alive today who remembers life before vaccination.  I was born in 1964, so I don’t, but my maternal grandmother, born in 1886, would have.  She knew exactly what life without vaccination was all about.

My mother was born in 1928.  I heard all the stories, the poverty she experienced growing up on welfare in 1930s Germany, how all her siblings left school at age 14 to work – only one was fortunate enough to enter into an apprenticeship.  Then there was the amazing stroke of luck that won my teenaged mother a scholarship into teachers’ college, when otherwise she would have faced a future of employment on a factory assembly line, like her mother and sisters before her.

And the diseases.  The whooping cough that almost killed her.  Then the diphtheria that almost killed her.  She stopped breathing at one point, and they put her head under the cold water tap (well, the only tap – there was no running hot water in that apartment) and kept the water pouring over her until she started to breathe again.

As I always understood it, my mother was the youngest of seven, five girls and two boys.  When I was 21 and travelling around Europe on my own, I discovered, much to my shock, that there had actually been nine children.

I was visiting my mother’s best friend, who, it turns out, happens to be her sixth cousin (not altogether a surprise for a 900-year-old town in the Black Forest).  She showed me her family tree, and it was at that time that I found out that there had been two more girls in my mother’s family, both dying in childhood – one an infant, one a toddler.  Both had died before my mother was born.

I was speechless.  And how would I break this news to my mother?   She can’t have known – surely she would have said something, knowing my interest in all things historical.

It turns out that she did know.  She had always known, but the family never talked about little Ilse and Erika.

“What happened?”  I ventured.

“Diphtheria,” my mother answered succinctly.

“You mean what you almost died of?” I pressed.

“Yes, that’s right.  I was lucky.”

“Both of them?   But they died in different years.”

“Yes,” was the answer.

“Why have you never mentioned it?  Didn’t your family ever talk about them?”

“Well, I never knew them,” was my mother’s explanation.  “And I don’t think my mother could bear to talk about them.”

These days I think about those two little girls, and what it must have been like for my grandparents to lose two children (and almost a third) to a disease that could be virtually eradiated today if vaccination were better practiced.  My guess is that they would not be able to comprehend how a parent could turn away from vaccination, even scorn it, in the face of possible death.

Do we really need to return to the days where children routinely died of diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, polio?  How many more Ilses and Erikas does there need to be?

Michelle Fuchs/Kimberley

‘Gypsy’

Kimberley’s Turner and Adler Productions brought the 1959 Jule Styne-Stephen Sondheim musical to life in the Key City Theatre from February 12th to 14th, directed by Tylene Turner.  I saw the closing Valentine’s Day evening performance in the company of about 150 others.  Based on the memoir of real life burlesque striptease dancer Gypsy Rose Lee whose career was centered in 1930s New York, in the Great Depression.

The Cranbrook actors performed wonderfully in this classic musical; the anchoring actress was Elizabeth Adler who, as Gypsy’s mother “Rose,” gave us a memorably domineering showbiz mother from hell.  Rose is a tragic, delusional character who elicits some sympathy; desperately trying to survive in the dying Vaudeville circuit by featuring her young daughters June and Louise in cutesy child acts, hoping that June, the “talented” daughter, will become famous.

When June elopes with one of the dancers in the act (in real life at age 15), Rose and Louise are forced to accept the only viable stage option open to the young woman – burlesque, and Louise becomes Gypsy Rose Lee; to the great chagrin of Herbie, Rose’s affable, long suffering agent.

The older versions of June and Louise-Gypsy were played by Clara McLeod and Emily Bohmer, and Herbie by Jerrod Bondy. Preparing for her stage debut in evening dress attire, Gypsy, no longer forced to play an overage tomboy, eyes her mirrored reflection and poignantly exclaims “I’m a pretty girl mama.”

The musical features several songs that have become American songbook standards and the Cranbrook actors proved themselves to be songbirds too in their renditions of, among others, “Let Me Entertain You,” “Small World,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” and “Together Wherever We Go.”

“Small World” (funny, you’re a stranger whose come here, come from another town) is Rose and Herbie’s introductory duet; when balladeer Johnny Mathis released his version to coincide with Gypsy’s 1959 debut on the Broadway stage, it became one of his enduring songs.  Gypsy was released as movie musical in 1962 starring Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood, and Karl Malden.  Advancing the date to February 2015 in our fair city, this fine cast of twenty-eight, most of whom were either children or youths, graced a great musical play from Broadway’s golden era.

Dan Hicks/Cranbrook