Letters Column

Week of March 30, 2006

Feature, March 9, 2006

In Passing

There ought to be a law: In Chad Garrison's "Death Cleaners," the gross-out factor was balanced well with the obvious need for sensitivity to families and humor. Who could see such grisly images (morticians, embalmers, police officers, firefighters, etc.) and remain completely somber? We're human and need humor to cope. Well done.

From a reader's point of view, people would really, really want their Realtor to tell them if someone festered and exploded in what might be their new dream home. I'd like to be informed whether a state-licensed, accredited professional biohazard company decontaminated my future home. State oversight is needed. I'm confident this article will prompt discussion about a need for regulation of a profession most people probably never knew existed.
Aimee Hamby, Neosho

Don't give up: I have to appreciate those willing to handle such a task. But I'm writing because of the initial suicide mentioned in Chad Garrison's story. You note that "[r]eligious books scattered across the floor — the Bible and Jehovah's Witness literature — reveal the victim may have been searching for a higher power he never found."

Whether this man was a Witness or a Bible student or someone who accepts Bible literature at the door wasn't stated. Regardless, I wanted to explain that even a person who sincerely has a love of God can falter because of some circumstance and give up to the point of suicide. However, I agree with a statement by Voltaire: "The man who, in a fit of melancholy, kills himself today, would have wished to live had he waited a week."

My husband's father committed suicide, as did his grandmother and aunt (all Catholic). The father because he lost his business, the grandmother because her husband was unfaithful and I don't know about the aunt. My husband also planned suicide but after accepting a Bible study with Jehovah's Witnesses came to an appreciation of God's view of life and learned what the Bible says God is going to do to remedy all the hurts that cause people to give up.
Diane Church, Rescue, California

Cafe, March 9, 2006

Pie Time

Next week — the history of pepperoni: Regarding Rose Martelli's review of Pizzeria della Piazza ["That's Amore"], I can attest to why pizza is not prevalent on the Hill and why deep-dish and pan pizza are not a favorite in St. Louis. If you know anything about the Hill's history, you would know that the majority of Italians there come from Lombardia. Lombardia is in the north of Italy. The Italians who came from the small towns west of Milan did not eat pizza. Pizza is a southern dish — a southern Italian one, that is. The Milanese ate risotto, polenta, some pasta and meat, specifically veal, pork and beef.

Now, where were we? Yes, pizza! Pizza was created in Naples. Pizza was not deep-dish or thick or whatever else "they" call it. Pizza in Italy is thin (and super-Saltine-thin at that!). The "they" are Chicagoans. Hey, I lived in Chicago for fifteen years; it is a great city. Probably the best restaurants in all of America. I lived on the southern tip of Manhattan, too. But the pizza in Chicago sucks! Plain and simple. Now, I am not saying that St. Louis-style pizza is the best, but it blows any Chicago-style pizza out of the water! If you want real pizza, go to southern Italy.
Tricia Coffelt, St. Louis

Feature, March 2, 2006

County Crows

Let's hear it for the Cellar Room's bloody! I am a member of a local motorcycle club who participates in poker runs at many of the places mentioned in Mike Seely's story about Calhoun County. I think "East Side, Best Side" was one of the best articles I've read in a long time. I enjoyed every word (wish it was longer)!

One thing: The Cellar Room tavern in Alton would earn nine celery stalks for its bloody mary! It has vodka, Tabasco, a pearl cocktail onion, celery salt, pepper, Worcestershire and more. It is served in a frosted mug and it's a beautiful creation!

Thanks for a terrific article!
Roxanne Foster, Bethalto, Illinois

Let's hear it for Mike Seely! Mike Seely is a jerk. Most Calhoun residents are not lushes. We get a lot of riff-raff from "the big city" who are lushes.
Lawanda Holloway, Hardin, Illinois

Jeez, Ron — learn to spell, wouldya? Gosh, I bin livin in Calhoon nigh on for years now, and I never heered of no bars here's abouts. Maybe I jus doesn't git out enuf. Anysways, yous citty folk shore no how;s to rite an articul. I are proud to live here in Calhoon, but i aint' never bin so siprized as to here I live in a Kindum. If youse ever out this heres way agin, pleeze stop by and share sum moonshin I keep fer speshul folk likes youins.

Y'all take care now, here?
Ronald Stephen Tillotson, Hardin, Illinois

Let's hear it for Kampsville! I spent the summer of my seventeenth year in Kampsville, attending the archaeological school there. Even though that was very, very, long ago I still remember the nightly tromps to the Kampsville Inn, and the occasional trek to Michael, very fondly. It tickled me to see a write-up of anything about that area. But what ever prompted you to write an article about the bloody marys of Calhoun County?
T.L. Ferrell, Nashville, Tennessee

Drat! Missed the Mensa chapter! Why didn't Mike Seely talk to some of the Mensa members and other highly educated people in Calhoun County? There is a lot more to Calhoun than the bars. I grew up in Hardin and am proud to be from Calhoun County, otherwise known as God's Country because of its beauty.

Also, you might tell Mr. Seely that a bridge does not freeze over. The river freezes and the ferries are not able to operate, which leaves the Joe Page bridge as the only access to the county. We might wonder how many other facts are not true in Mr. Seely's article.
Rosemary Dryden, Richmond Heights

Chill, Patricia: I have lived in Calhoun County for fifteen years and have never seen the Joe Page bridge ice over to a point where it has been closed. The ferries are the only modes of transportation into the county that close due to icy conditions.

I read Mike Seely's article with a smile. There are some people who will take offense, as they will see it as a slam to the good people of Calhoun County. I choose to take it a different way. For me the article only reinforces why the people of Calhoun County keep to themselves. We don't have any use for sly innuendo and snarky comments from people who don't live here, especially journalists who cannot even get their facts straight.
Patricia Stelbrink, Hardin, Illinois


Last week's feature, "Ace of Spaides," misidentified the Billboard magazine chart topped in January by Spaide R.I.P.P.E.R.'s "Always." The song reached No. 1 on the magazine's rap singles core stores chart.