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Letters To The Editor



A higher calling
Teetotalers for life
Life in Mount Vernon

A higher calling
I want to express my interest for and appreciation of the recent issue, with its extensive survey of religion at Cornell. It certainly is an interesting and important aspect of the college’s history.
DeWitt Ellinwood Jr. ’45
Albany, N.Y.

I am a retired clergyman and I have often wondered what the emphasis was in the college these days. You had a most interesting issue this time and I thank you for it. Dr. Littell was my major prof and Franklin (Littell ’37) was two years behind me.

I was pastor of the Methodist Church in Mount Vernon in the mid-’50s, and so many of my professors were now in my congregation. I can still feel the pressure to be there with something to say that was important and worthwhile.
Merton B. Green ’35
Des Moines, Iowa

Teetotalers for life

It was startling to see my parents looking out at me from the teetotaling class of 1915 (Cornell Report, spring, p. 37; Marsee Fred Evans, third row, third from the right, Zeta Anderson, beaming behind him). Teetotaling was a lifelong commitment for both of them.

An operatic impresario visiting Cornell urged my father to take up a singing career as Marco Evanini, but fearing that his Quaker mother would suffer apoplexy, he joined the U.S. Army and after a year or so took a BD at Drew University and became a Methodist minister. Teetotaling was, of course, required by the Iowa Conference, though the BD was not. He soon gave up the ministry and, taking his PhD at the University of Iowa, became a professor of speech—no teetotaling required, but the habit remained.

Charles Milhauser’s story about the Shrimp Newburg made with lemon juice not being as tasty as the one with sherry reminded me of a time when my teetotaling parents visited us at Thanksgiving. My husband made one of his mince pies—with rum, brandy, and bourbon added in good measure. My father finished a second piece, announcing: “Son, the thing I like about your pie is the flavor!” We never let on.
Ann Evans Berthoff ’45
Concord, Mass.


Life in Mount Vernon
    Your splendid column on “Sweet Mount Vernon” made me soulfully nostalgic for what I left behind when I moved away. You captured the essence of Mount Vernon beautifully.
    No one ever left a plate of cookies on my doorstep, but someone did put a beautiful crystal Christmas ornament in my mail slot, and to this day I don’t know who my benefactor is. I think about her or his kindness every year when I put it out with the rest of my Christmas decorations.
    On another occasion a woman I had never before seen stopped me in front of Bauman’s and told me what a lovely house I had. I thought she meant the exterior with the (then) huge spruce trees. She went on to praise my furniture and interior decoration. Dumbfounded, I stammered “thank you” as she hurried away. Later I discovered that my cleaning woman, who was in the habit of giving tours of the places where she worked, had invited her in for an inspection!
Charles Milhauser, classics professor and registrar emeritus
Tequesta, Fla.

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