Letters to the Editor

The October Picture Caption Contest Winner!

"Whatta you mean dinner's not ready yet?"

submitted by Karen G. Dandurant, Portsmouth, N.H.

The November Contest

(photo by Bill Drew)

Take a look at this month's picture, below, and send us as many caption entries as you wish. We are looking for captions that are witty and clever. Please include your name and the community where you live. The winner will be named in this section on the following month. Become famous!

RE: Dogs at the beach …

I have a small bone to pick (no pun intended) with the town of Rye. After Labor Day my friend and I decided to visit the lovely coast of N.H. Being a dog owner I have always understood the rules to no longer be in effect for "dogs allowed" on the beach. I realize each town has their own ordinance, but always Labor Day has been the cut off time. As we were walking next to the water line, which I also have researched as common land, we realized some of the dogs and their owners were leaving the beach. As we progressed back the way we came, a police officer came up to us and announced we were to leave the beach immediately and would be given a sixty-dollar ticket for having the dog on the beach. I replied, "but isn't it after Labor Day that the ordinances are no longer in effect"? The answer I received was "the town of Rye has extended the rules to October, which is posted." I replied, "I'm out of state and didn't see the posted sign, would you please give us a warning?" I was told warnings were given all summer and now mandatory tickets would be issued. To contest this, I would need to take a full day off from work, pay gas and probably have to pay the ticket also, which would add up to well over three hundred dollars. So since I'm not getting the chance to voice my opinion on how this was handled, I decided to write to the town of Rye.

I truly understand we the dog owners get a bad rap from irresponsible dog owners and that some people are afraid of animals, but when the only people on the beach are dogs and their owners, what's the problem? We bred the dog to be a domesticated animal, and now we don't want to coexist with them? My dog, Miss Bee, is a registered Pet Partner with the Delta Society, which means she has passed the training to be allowed into Hospitals, Nursing facilities and other health care clinics. She comes to work with me every day at Sojourns Community Health Clinic, and we were hoping for a little R and R in the Live Free or Die State.

In closing, I would love to find out if the wonderful woman who was also walking her beautiful three rescue greyhound dogs got one ticket or three.

Kathy Daigle, Bellows Falls, Ver.

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On "Come with me on a Portsmouth waterfront walkabout … "

Thank you, Jim Cerny, for sharing your brilliant photography with us (and also your reference to Celia Thaxter’s birthplace).  You’re the best.  Warm regards from Celia Thaxter’s Appledore Island Garden Caretaker.

Pamela M. Boutilier, Portsmouth, N.H.

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On "There’s more to Miriam’s Tea House than meets the eye … "

I enjoyed reading about the tea house and the story behind it. This is right up my alley. My sister and I love tea and when I visit her in Virginia we always search out good places to indulge ourselves! I would love to visit this area sometime, especially in the fall.

Nancy Wessel, Fairfield Glade, Tenn.

I just finished reading Miriam’s tea house and last month’s concertina article. I continue to be captivated by your writing style. I can only guess just how much time you spend on your research. The more I read Rye Reflections, the more I want to return to New England. I am usually not a history buff, but somehow you make things come alive. I never have given much thought to New England and I have missed a lot of wonderful history.

Harvey Judges, Ranchos de Taos, N.M.

The following letter was written by Jan Whitaker, author of “Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn: A social history of tea houses” to Ellen Hamil…

Lovely job.  Thanks for sending it to me.

Ogunquit seemed to have quite a few tea rooms, but that's true of New England vacation areas in general. There was a place called the Dan Sing Fan Tea House. Is that the one you mean? It had an Asian look but I don't think it actually was Asian. I have several postcards of it.

As for the term restaurant, I agree with you that it did not always have the generalized meaning it has today. But — I think it was much earlier than the 1940s that it became generalized. At the same time, though, it still did not refer to such places as hamburger or hot dog stands, coffee shops, or even tea rooms because they did had limited menus and service. I still remember feeling a bit of a shock of "wrongness" the first time I heard McDonald's referred to as a restaurant. In a way, it is a word that has become so general that it has lost all meaning.

Jan Whitaker, Northampton, Mass.

I enjoyed the story of the tea house. There's so much history back in that part of the country. At one time my folks owned a farm outside of Leeds, N.Y. It was a stone house built in 1705 that unfortunately burned down before I was old enough to remember it. Grandpa was mixing bug spray on the stove when it caught fire. All I remember is the hole in the ground where it stood. Old pictures show port holes from which they could fire down on the Indians, if necessary. I hadn't thought about it for years until reading your story.

Bob Tiffany, Albuquerque, N.M.

Well done, yet bittersweet. I also love the photo of the monarch butterfly.

Terry Hutchinson, Freeport, Maine

Thanks for the reminder. I immediately went to Rye Reflections and read about the tea room. My husband  told me about it as he and his family had been there. Of course he was very young. He was born in 1931 so he remembered very little. I printed your article and he is now reading it with great interest.
We both used to read Polly's (Morton) writings and found them to be so enjoyable and informative. I printed them out for my mother to read, too. She couldn't believe that Polly was still doing them.

Sue and Dick Dudley, Rye, N.H.

Your article was particularly interesting to me because I love historical homes and I also love tea. Years ago when our children were younger, a few girlfriends of mine and I went to a tea room where we dressed up and were instructed on proper etiquette for tea time. We had a fabulous time, and I was grateful to be reminded of it by your article.

Mirkalice Gore, Las Vegas, Nev.

Thank you ever so much for your article on Miriam's Tea House. Also, the lobster recipe which I had no idea existed. I take it this came from a book that is no longer available? Perhaps, an old book agent could locate one? Also, there appears to be a article on Miriam's published in the Portsmouth Herald on July 10, 1941. What do you know of this?

Brandon Harris Huntington, N.Y.

Fun story to read. It was interesting for me to see the pictures of the inside of the house. My mother (Ruth Seavey) always pointed the house out as being her family’s ancestral home. My grandfather, Everett H. Seavey, was given his land at Foyes Corner by his father. He built his house, a tea room called the Birds Nest that my grandmother Elizabeth ran in the twenties, and a rental property on the land. The Seaveys owned all the land around that part of town and of course they were all related. I never knew about a Tea House in the Amos Seavey  building.

There were only three houses in that area when mother was growing up. There was the farm at Foyes Corner, my grandparents'  house , and an old beautiful colonial home right next door. All the rest was farmland or open fields. My mother hated working her grandmother’s tea room and would only fill in if it was an emergency.

Bill Varrell with his sister Cynthia ran the Clam Box at the Salty Breeze. It was a small building next door. They did it for two years 1953-1954. I helped for free and a random clam.

Rye Reflections is very interesting.  

Lee Nelson, Ipswich, Mass.

Thoroughly enjoyed your articles in September and October issues.  I remember our discussion on the porch about the tea house. Do you continue to write for Rye Reflections throughout the winter months? If so, I look forward to reading them.   

Karen Carr, Nashua, N.H.

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On "Senior golfer recalls where he played and skied as as a boy … "

A wonderful story about our ancient and honorable Mount Hood. It's complete and, to many, nostalgic. It is cruel, nevertheless, to put into anyone's mind what can happen if you hook a shot from the fourth fairway, especially if he plays the course three times a week.

Joe Sullivan, Melrose, Mass.

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On "Sarasota Red Sox? The story behind the story … "

I thoroughly enjoy your monthly production.  It is always interesting and uplifting. I loved the article about moving the Red Sox to Sarasota and the trip to Hyde Park and the CIA. I went there years ago and enjoyed it so much. Keep the newsletter coming. I really appreciate it.
Mona Wheatley, Nantucket, Mass.

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On "Concertina players converge on Portsmouth (September) … "

I read your concertina article. It's a great addition to general knowledge of the instrument, and I hope millions of folks read it, too!

Bob Webb, Phippsburg, Maine

Nice article.

T.G. Futch, La Madera, N.M.

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On "One-day opening of Café puts visitors
back in time … " (August)

Thanks so much for the email and interesting info on the Piscataqua Café. You're keeping this history alive.

Maddi Alana, New Castle, N.H.

(After receiving this letter, Maddi gave us permission to display her watercolor of the Café as it appears out her rear window. Another picture of the Café appears in her Internet address: www.alanawatercolors.com).

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On "Rye Beach bathers wondering:
Is the water warmer (September) … "

I am the current Beach Program Coordinator for the NH Department of Environmental Services. We have been sampling the coastal beaches during the summer months since 1995. One of the pieces of data collected is temperature. The temperature reading is made at knee depth at the shore. The data would need to be complied and explored, and sometimes the temperature might not have been recorded, but there is a body of long term data available. Maybe we could work on this project in the future? Do you have the name of the person contacted at UNH College of Engineering and Physical Science? This actually sounds like an interesting project.

Sonya Carlson, Beach Program Coordinator, Biology
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services,
Concord, N.H.

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On "Fuller Gardens, a Seacoast gem
in North Hampton … " (September)

These photos are very impressive! Not only in the subject matter but such amazing clarity!

Mike Parisi, East Longmeadow, Mass.

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November, 2008