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March 29, 1999

Letters to the editor

I have to laud your March 9th article on Joanne Cabe and her controversial life. You managed to paint a picture using more than two colors; that is, you strayed from the dichotic stance (good vs. bad) that most journalists usually take when covering a subject that is morally murky or ambiguous. Most of the articles I’ve read (that includes pieces in the NY Times, The Nation, Economist, Daily Telegraph and The New Yorker) have focused almost solely on Ms. Cabe's charitable work, to which she devoted the latter part of her life. Ms. Cabe certainly deserves praise for her tireless efforts; her seemingly bottomless altruism touched thousands (millions, some have estimated) of lives. She was more than just a friend or a one-woman welfare reform center. Joanne Cabe empowered people and endowed the disenfranchised with a sense of self-worth that no government agency or soup kitchen could ever match.

But what no other publication mentioned, and what you focused on in your article, are her early nefarious years and her later vegetative years. During her twenties and thirties she devoted herself exclusively to the extinction of the white heron and garden snakes. While she found the white heron an easy species to destroy, it was the garden snake that proved to be frustrating; so much so that it caused her to slip into a vegetative state at the age of 37. "I’ll never be able to rid the planet of that damned garden snake. People don’t realize how tiring this is," said Ms. Cabe in a 1971 interview with the San Jose Mercury News. "Oh, god, I’m so tired. Please Lord, give me sweet sleep tonight."

Well, she finally got her sleep. I just hope we don’t forget what she did before she went to sleep.

Peter Trow
Holland, MA


I am never happier than when I am allowed to run the table. One time I got up from the table, briefly, and someone else ran the table. I noticed as soon as I walked back into the room that something was up. Someone else had run the table and I could smell it. "What’s going on in here?"

They all looked guilty.

A few of them stammered something feeble or apologetic. I pulled out my sledgehammer and smashed the table into pieces.

Someone whimpered.

I waited for the room to quiet down. Then I looked my family in the eye and said, "Smells like someone ran the table in here."

No one said a thing.


Off in the distance, a dog was barking.

"Fine," I shouted. "Fine. Run the table without me. You can take my friggin’ paychecks and make me work like a dog but I’ll be damned if I’ll let my own family run the table — MY TABLE!"

I was crying by the end of the sentence. I ran out of the room and into the street. I leaned heavily against a telephone pole and cried. I cried like a broken man. I cried because someone else ran the table and then I cried for my youth.

James Deutsch


I don’t really trust the Gordon’s Fisherman. I’ll tell you why. I was in a small New England fishing village the other day (I won't say which one) and I saw what I thought was a timeless image. I saw one fisherman dressed in yellow, shouting towards another fisherman. I was all warm. And then one of them robbed the other one with a sharp knife.

So tonight, I sat down to dinner and, you probably guessed it, we were having fish sticks and I said I didn’t want them and then someone at the table held up the box and said, "What’s the matter, Patrick?" and before I could answer another one called out "Trust the Gordon’s fisherman!" and they got quiet and I had to be honest with them. They stared down at their plates as I recounted the awful tale. After that, no one trusted the Gordon’s fisherman in our house — not that night, not ever again.

Beth Franklin
Hyde Park


I find it sickening that you support animal control but you make no mention of another type of control that is missing: the Fidelity Employee control. Everyday there are hundreds more of these people on our streets and in our neighborhoods. Unless there is a serious financial crash matched with a medium-term depression, we will be overrun with them.

The time to start controlling them is now! They are spilling over into our back yards, killing our livestock and pets. They go through our trash and travel in aggressive packs. A few attacks on humans have been reported and it’s just a matter of time before they start going after not only our investment money, BUT OUR LIVES!

How many more horror stories do we have to hear before we decide to do something? Don’t go out at night alone with a large savings account on your person because they will make you invest it. If they circle around you and start making high-pitched noises, start saying that you hate Scudder funds and that you’ve read both Beating the Street and One Up On Wall Street by famous Fidelity mastermind Peter Lynch. I implore you to act now! Call your state representative.

Cindy Williams
Beacon Hill

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