Moral DilemmasThe writer is founder of Charlestown...


December 20, 1992

Moral Dilemmas

The writer is founder of Charlestown Retirement Community.

In Defense of Pocomoke City

Much is said about how little one can believe of what one reads in the newspapers. If Arlene Ehrlich's article ("Keepsakes of the Heart," Sun Magazine, Dec. 6) is an example, very little. There is hardly a paragraph without an inaccuracy.

Very little research could have shown that Pocomoke City was never the county seat of Worcester County. (The library was on the second floor of the Municipal Building.)

One of the few charitable remarks spoke of the waters of the Pocomoke River as "bottle green." One of the most heralded unique characteristics of the Pocomoke River is its dark brown water -- the result of the cypress roots which were mentioned.

One wonders why The Sun would print the "bittersweet" ramblings of an obviously very bitter woman. One can only hope she exorcised that "small lingering pain" in her heart.

In the last paragraph she intimates how wonderful it was to cross the Bay Bridge and return to Baltimore. (Ms. Ehrlich came here originally without any control over her own life, which is understandably difficult for a child to accept; perhaps now she would be happier if she remained in Baltimore.)

Frances S. Stevenson

Pocomoke City

In reply to Arlene Ehrlich, may I say she has a perfect right to her "memoirs" -- but for her to write such a description of Pocomoke City and its environs and depict it as "truth" is grossly unfair and untrue.

I was born in Parksley, Va., in 1908. I have lived the past 53 years of my life in Pocomoke -- the town described in such a biased manner by Ms. Ehrlich.

During these 53 years I have been first and foremost a wife and mother, but in addition, I have been a teacher, a newspaper editor, a musician and, for almost 40 years, a Red Cross representative serving our military and veterans. I mention this only to show that I have seen life in this area from all angles, and, therefore, I know whereof I speak.

I have, in my photo album, a treasured picture of my father, on our back porch on a summer afternoon, turning the handle of an ice cream freezer with a friend -- a black man. On the back of that picture, my mother had written "Twins." That is how she saw my father's love for that man.

When we lived in Onancock, Va. (before moving to Pocomoke), we counted among our dearest friends Saul and George Glick -- Jewish to the core, but loved and respected by the entire community.

When we moved to Pocomoke in 1939, George Glick visited us every weekend. Never once was he denied entrance to any restaurant or place to which we desired entry.

Pocomoke was no different than thousands of other communities whose schools were segregated -- remember Selma, Ala.? After reading the Ehrlich article, I felt Pocomoke had been depicted as the only segregated town -- anywhere.

My son's scoutmaster was Donald Flax -- a Jew -- a respected young man who remembered to send us a card from California on our 50th wedding anniversary.

The Flax family, the Rodbell family, the Heligs, the Schers, the Spinaks were and are all respected and admired Jewish people of Pocomoke. I am sure they felt no such blot on their lives, as does Ms. Ehrlich.

As far as being served "hominy grits" on the bay ferry and seeing tobacco growing in our fields -- Ms. Ehrlich must be dreaming.

The poet said, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

=1 I suggest Ms. Ehrlich have her eyes examined.

Mary J. Coleburn

Pocomoke City

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