SATURDAY afternoon at Dana Place and MacArthur Boulevand. Jake walks out of Barry's grocery, jabbing toward heaven with his cigar.
"He'll never make it. I tell ya. He can't go the distance. He'll be runnin' in mud, too."
Barry follows him out, rubbing his hands on his apron. "Ya, vell . . ." He shakes his head and squints up into the sun. The Boulevard is shiny with water and everything has that after-rain look.
"Hell, yes, he'll make it," says Pete the Horseplayer in another conversation across MacArthur, at the gas station. "He'll make it. He'll do the last quarter in twenty-four and change, and win by two lengths. I seen that colt run."
That was in the spring. Pete was right on Seattle Slew. Now winter has arrived. Everyone is going somewhere now, everyone is in a hurry. For the kids at Key School, the cold breeze off the river, the dim light of the failed sun are all mixed up with arithmetic and reading. There's no hint yet of returning spring or the coming of a new season of freedom. The pizza carryout, long the hub of the street-corner, crowd, has changed ownership again and has become Hungry Hilda's.
This is Palisades, an urban neighborhood with a small town flavor whose personality, always a delicate mix, is now threatened with extinction as the city moves in.
Most spectacular recent example of the encroachments of the city on a quiet place has been the proposed sale of the twenty-five-acre Rockefeller estate to developers who plan to build 100 townhouses on it, each built on a quarter-acre and costing $300,000 and up. The biggest estates in the District, which cluster in this area, are becoming as obsolete as the small houses of the old and poor. Bull-dozers are rearranging the area in favor of upper-middle-class housing.
They've taken away the guardposts at Nelson Rockefeller's on 49th Street, and they say he's gone for good this time. The Starland Vocal Band, which lived on lower Chain Bridge Road for years, is always away these days. Walter Rothe has died, but his calendarium remains.
The rich variety of characters, running from the multimillionaires of Foxhall and Reservoir Road through astronomers and rock stars, opera singers, sculptors, painters, horseplayers, Chris Curle and Jake the Diver, to young professionals and ordinary folks, is a century-old traditioon in this area. Eccentrics have always flourished here and the neighborhood reflects the wildness, breadth and originality of their lives and careers. Where else within the District can you find grazing sheep, donkeys, a cornfield, an open-air calendar museum - free - and the best advice (also free) on horse racing north of Louisville?
Bounded to the south and west by the river, to the north by Foxhall and Loughborough Roads, and ending where MacArthur Boulevard, its main drag, runs into Maryland, it has long had a style of its own. Although some of the richest people in the world have homes here, so do some of Washington's poor. The estates of nabobs like Rockefeller, Thomas Ryan and others contrast sharply with ram-shackle houses down near the river.
It is also a happy neighborhood, despite a generational conflict between Palisades' perennial street-corner crowd, which is known beyond the limits of its domain, and the newly affluent , newly grown-up young professionals who now make up a sizeable chunk of the population.
People came here to stay. The Sheriers, for instance. The first Sherier to move away from the city of Washington, then confined to what is now downtown, established a farm out here in 1847. The Civil War broke out when this settler's son was fourteen, leading to romantic complications for young Sherier, whose sweet-heart and bride-to-be lived across the Potomac in Confederate territory. The couple did not see each other again until war's end.
Paul Sherier, the founding father's grandson, now 84 years old, can remember those innocent days when an incumbent president of the United States - Teddy Roosevelt - would ride along Sherier Place accompanied by a single cavalryman from Fort Myer. (Paul Sherier's lifelong campaign to have one "R" dropped from the street signs carrying his family's name - they had read "Sherrier" since 1891 - triumphed at last this year.) Sherier's present home is perhaps a hundred yards from the original family homesite built 130 years ago.
There were others in the area even before the Sheriers' arrival. The Barnes family, whose descendants still live on Loughborough Road, witnessed President John Quincy Adam's inauguration of the C & O Canal in 1829.
This canal, now considered ancient, replaced an even earlier one built by George Washington himself, the Powtawmack Company Canal. One of its locks can still be seen near Fletcher's Boat House. This landmark, one of our last links with the days when most of our freight moved along canals, is so called because the Fletcher family has operated it for the last five generations.
Olivene Lowman, 85, moved into her house on Sherier Place on Armistice Day, 1918. Palisades was the country then. She remembers cornfields and chickens pecking on the unpaved street. George Wells, Mrs. Lowman's neighbor since 1925, recalls arising at five in the morning.
"I didn't need an alarm clock. The first trolley would wake me. Sometimes I'd wake up and find a cow or a horse in the street." Both Mrs. Lowman and Wells have been approached by real estates developers.Both have refused tempting offers several times. Where would they go? Certainly these houses, on paper, are worth far more than their original price, but property taxes in the area have risen correspondingly, with disastrous consequences for the pensioners here, who now pay, given their incomes, what amounts to high rent to the city for the privilege of living in their own houses.
Harold Gray disagrees with those who would preserve the neighborhood as it is. An enthusiastic member of the Palisades Citizens' Association, once its president, he's the area's unofficial historian and a resolute booster of Palisades. He has promoted an annual Beautiful Homes contest, with a view toward encouraging the current owners of the area's Colonial, Federal and Victorian homes to care for these sites.
"The name 'Potomac Palisades,'" says Gray, "originated in the 1870s when there was a building boom. Suddenly, fashionable people wanted to build summer houses out here, so the developers looked northward to New York for inspiration. They got the idea from the Palisades of the Hudson. However, their competitors, who were building up Chevy Chase and Cleveland Park at the time, spread the rumor that the Palisades area was a malarial swamp. So it (the boom) went bust.
"Every change in this neighborhood brings a higher class of people. There are all different types of housing, beautiful homes and good schools. People move up the hill here, but they stay in the area. We have State Department and Pentagon types now, doctors, dentists . . . that all started around World War II."
Gray chuckles. We are discussing the old houses of the area. Apparently one of the oldest, the Carberry farmhouse, is the original building on Nelson Rockefeller's estate on 49th street. Rockefeller became a member of the Palisades Citizens' Association in the early Fifties when, in response to a letter from Gray inviting him to join the PCA, he sent a check for $1.
Harold Gray is not the area's first historian. Augusta Weaver, a lady of means, lived here in the nineteenth century and put her many moods and observations to paper, giving us what her successor claims to be a fascinating view of Palisades as it was during the Civil War years. One of her most vivid recollections, says Gray, is that of Union soldiers bivouacked in what is now Battery Kemble Park, and of their depredations of the environing pantries, her own included.
Palisades has always had its wild men, and these characters are essential to its personality. Bull Frizell, a "village toughie" - again Gray's words - flourished in Civil War days. One day a flood came, the Potomac overflowed its banks and lifted one of the supporting timbers of the old Chain Bridge out of its sockets. Bull, so legend says, lifted this support back into position with his bare hands. Bull was a hard drinker, and when he got older he went on the rampage enough times that when he died his neighbor took him to Tenleytown (now the Tenley Circle area) for burial. There they kept a three-day vigil at his tomb to make sure he wasn't kidding.
The early fall afternoon is winding down. Barry walks out of his shop as Jake gives him one or two final suggestions as to the nature of life and lights a fresh cigar. There's been another short spell of rain, and the air is blue gray. The roofers, Piggy and Bobby, have gotten off work and are already hanging out across the Boulevard, having a beer and waiting for the evening.
Mr. Mayberry, tall and spare and a spry 75, is harvesting his corn in the "Lettuce Patch", at Arizona and MacArthur. He watches his neighbors, Judy and David, pick their last tomatoes.
"Harvest moon comin'," Mr. Mayberry calls out.
Judy looks up and smiles.
Mr. Mayberry reaps a small field of corn every year.
The Amberger Farmhouse, now owned by Frances Walsh, stands, in excellent repair, at 5239 Sherier Pl. It is an unusual example of rural architecture of the Federal period, Judy Southerland tells me. Judy is four-foot-eleven Alabaman who moved here a couple of years ago. She and her partner, Don Jones, own and operate American Country Antiques, an early American antique shop. Many of their best customers are from Palisades.
"The Ambergers built this place," she says, pointing out the chimneys at either end of the house and its regular, eighteenth-century lines, "but they were famous mainly for having a truck farm and inventing a new kind of lettuce. That's why the old-timers call it the Lettuce Patch. Next year it's going to be a parking lot."
Judy taught herself the antiquarian's trade and she and Don Jones started their shop from scratch. Now, at last, she has returned to her true love, painting. How does she like the Potomac Palisades?
"Fine like wine in the summertime."
Judy's neighbors, down on lower Chain Bridge Road, are two members of the Starland Vocal Band, of "Afternoon Delight" fame. Bill and Taffy Danoff, the group's founders, have moved uptown, or, strictly speaking, out of town, to Potomac, since their ship came in, but they ll ived here for yearrs, and are on friendly terms with the locals. Their friend, Emmy Lou Harris, used to come and stay with them when she was in town, and it is fair to assume that Bill and Emmy Lou wrote "Boulder to Birmingham" during one of these visits. Bill is also the author of "Take Me Home, Country Roads," written when he and Taffy were Fat City, and pop legend has it that he got the idea for "Afternoon Delight" from an item on the menu at Clyde's in Georgetown.
If you are walking down 49th Street on a nice evening, and if you happen to be lucky, you will hear quite a different sort of music at the intersection of 49th and Ashby. It will come floating down to you from the jewel of all Palisades, the Edgar house at 2227 49th St. By day, its unique fin-de-siecle style is reminiscent of the homes in Booth Tarkington's Seventeen .
This house was once the shrine of J.D. Kuch and Don Mead, two top "Boo-Hoos," or prelates, of the Neo-American, later Paleo ("stoned" - get it?) - American church back in the Late Great Hippie days, circa '67-'69. A lot was written about them then. They are long gone now, last seen heading towards the wilds of Vermont, but J.D.'s lyrical messages to a future world, imbedded in concrete in the woods below MacArthur, still bemuse both her opponents and her admirers: "You are now here," "The time is always now," and, finally, "Peace to the people of the wood."
In recent years, Bill Edgar, a Russian specialist at the State Department, has lived in this Graham Greene house with her four handsome children, and late at night they sometimes gather on one of several porches and balconies attendant to the edifice and play, severally, the cello, the oboe, and the flute.
Summer afternoon: Mohawk wheels up to the corner, Pete the Horseplayer's corner, that is, and looks over today's crowd.
"I'm cruisin' to Richmond. Anybody ycomin',?"
Two new girls, part of this year's crop, look at each other. They could be twins, but one is a head taller than the other. Gum snaps in the moist, still air.
"What about Nappy? He's goin', ain't he?"
"Nappy ain't cool. I like him, but he ain't cool."
An almost imperceptible nod on the older sister's part. The little sister gets in with Mohawk. Screech of tires. They're off to Richmond.
Dusk is falling in blues and purples. Sharon is walking her kid down by the Boat House, and he's making noises like he wants to go home. Sharon chews on a straw, and her long legs move her slowly back to the Boulevard, with the kid running circles around them. She didn't want to go to Richmond. She'd been there before.
Faye and her girlfriend are in the park, drinking beer. Faye is looking down at the top of her beer can, and her honey blond hair falls all over her. They sit under some trees as the sun finally drops into Maryland.
"What'd he say?" her friend asks.
"What'd he SAY?"
"NOTHIN', I told ya."
They are waiting for Mahawk's return.
During the Civil War, the Palisades area, as an approach to the capital, was strategically important and was defended by a battery of cannon, commanded by a Captain Kemble: two Parrott Rifles and a 100-pounder. Battery kemble National Park takes its name from these defenses. The earthworks for the guns still peer gloomily over to the heights of Chain Bridge and the rises of Virginia beyond. The Confederate assault never came, and now the park, which was a zoo around the turn of the century, is a quiet, lovely place, particularly in the fall.
Battery Kemble has its regulars, usually dog owners who, though their natures compel them to solitude, have grown over the years to know and tolerate each other, largely through the mediation provided by their dogs. Jim Mercerow, 72, is a Harvard-educated former engineer. If you catch him in a convivial state of mind, he will tell you of weekends spent at Princeton in the company of an aspiring writer: F. Scott Fitzgerald. If he's really in good fettle he'll tell you about the time he took a leave of absence from Harvard to box under the pseudonym "Kid Murphy." Jim's father put an end to that career but Jim's dog Georgie seems to have inherited the Kid's spirit.
There are two different stories concerning the incorporation of Palisades into the British Empire. One is that the area was a royal land grant of 400 acres issued in 1675, in the reign of Charles II, and called St. Philip-Jacob. Georgetown then was not yet even a gleam in Hanoverian eyes. The Hanoverian version is that the original grant dates from 1754 and takes its name from Whitehaven Plantation, whose main building still stands, restored, at 4928 Reservoir Rd. In the years immediately preceding the Revolution, the plantation house was owned by Thomas Main, a noted horticulturist of the day, and Thomas Jefferson is known to have stayed there often as his guest.
But this neighborhood has always attracted characters, famous or obscure. Perhaps the best known recent eccentric in Palisades was the late Walter Rothe, creator and owner of the calendarium on MacArthur Boulevard, near Dana Place. It used to be that his backyard, the locale for this unusual display, was open to the public. Lately, it has been closed, but one can still stare over the fence at the various plaques, sun dials, and monoliths that explain and commemorate the various historical calendars and introduce Rothe's own universal calendar, the touchstone of the exhibit.
There's Jake. Jake is not his real name, he'll hasten to tell you. His real name is Joseph Hammond, "but people just started out calling me Jake, so . . ." Jake's particular claim to fame is his diving feats. He dove off Key Bridge "quite a few times" when he was young. People used to gather and watch.
Jake caddied as a kid, and one of his clients was President Woodrow Wilson, who played at the Washington Golf and Country Club. What kind of player was he?
"Aw, just a duffer, like most of them." Jake wishes me to add that he, Joseph (Jake) Hammond, was the only one who really dove off Key Bridge.
"This other guy might tell you he did it, but I'm tellin' ya, he couldn't dive off this curb." He points to the curb on MacArthur in front of Barry's and tosses his dead cigar after his words, over the five-inch precipice. He is 72 years old.
Barry's. The area's citizens may meet and deliberate at the Palisades Field House, but they stop and gossip at Barry's.
I walk in to pick up a leg of lamb. Barry prepares it behind his meat counter, deftly pulling out a bone and tucking in the edges of meat.
"Barry, you should have been a brain surgeon."
He looks up.
"There's nothing to it. You don't need a college degree to do this."
He pats the lamb.
"That's a nice piece of meat, spring lamb. Did I tell you I was in a concentration camp? Afterwards I did a lot of things. I was a lumberjack, a carpenter, a cook. You gotta survive."
After the war Barry Mauskopf, a Czech Jew, and his wife, Regina, who alone among her family survived the holocaust, arrived in New York with the help of a refugee organization. Barry at that point spoke no English at all. He went to work in the garment district, but he lived in Queens, an hour away from his work place by subway. Although Barry was always punctual, his boss wouldn't believe that he could make this long, complicated trip to work without speaking a word of the local idiom. So one night he followed him all the way home to check out the story for himself. Barry was enraged.
Janice Lamb, a 37-year-old English woman, lives with her lawyer husband and two sons in a house on Sherier Place, an unremarkable house at first glance, but one which conceals a hidden treasure: a pluperfect miniature English garden in the back, complete with bowers, geometric yew hedges, and, in the spring, azaleas, crocuses, snowdrops, peonies, lilies, boxwood, and, of course, roses, the sort of setting one might find Robert Morley in, pushing Britain and British Airways, were it not fifteen minutes from the White House.
Mrs. Lamb was upset about the rash of houses going up just beyond her bit of England below Sherier. She points at them disdainfully.
"Apparently they cost $170,000 apiece. I wouldn't give a penny for them."
In fact, one sold for $209,000. There are five of them, and they are planned as an ensemble called Chain Bridge Court. The architect, Art Cohen, who also is the owner and builder of this project, was on location when I arrived upon the scene.
Cohen claims that the woods he tore down to erect Chain Bridge Court were once the property of an old lady who kept them for an animal sanctuary. But she died, and , well . . . the biggest problem in this area, as Cohen sees it, is that there is no more land available.
"Hell, we ain't half started partying yet," Dwayne says, sitting in his car, pulling on a Schlitz Tall Boy. The girl next to him ("she's not fourteen . . . I'll lay fourteen of my teeth . . . she's not fourteen") grins glassily. She does not speak, but wiggles her toes. Nappy walks up to the car, smiling as best he can.
"Hey Nappy, how ya been? Seen Pete? I hear he went to Richmond. No, that's Mohawk." Everyone laughs.
Country music plays loud in three parked cars outside the pizza carryout. All have their motors on. The outside girls are sitting on the stoop. Someone races his engine. Bobby sits on the wall above the sidewalk, and sings a little tune: "Moonshine, love that old moonshine." Night has fallen. Faye sits further down the wall.
What is now MacArthur Boulevard was so named in 1942, in honor of Douglas MacArthur. Before that, for as long as anyone can remember, it was Conduit Road, a country lane not widened until 1930. The city's water comes in along this route, always has, and the reservoirs along lower MacArthur, with their little castles at the corner of one of them, provide a shelter for wild ducks and a great mirror for the sky. Cattle drovers whipped their herds in along Conduit Road and in the 1880s there were slaughterhouses, casinos, saloons, and "dens of iniquity" (Mrs. Gray's phrase), with names like "Drovers' Rest."
Lower MacArthur Boulevard, that is the stretch of it that runs down to the river from the shopping center, has experienced a commercial renaissance. It started with the Foxhall Wine and Cheese Store, which stands just behind the confluence of Foxhall Road and the Boulevard. That's not a live white horse emerging from the automatic doors; it's merely a sixteen-hands whiskey advertisement. Other new shops and boutiques now blossom across from the MacArthur Theater, the present occupant of the site of the vanished Drovers' Rest.
How about a restaurant now, the trendies say, how about a cafe? The zoning laws of Palisades, jealously overseen by its old guard, do not permit this. There is one old-fashioned eatery called Charlie Brown's whose trade depends largely upon breakfast-eating workers - it does not serve liquor.
Charlie Brown's is a story in itself, or rather, a hyperrealist's dream of a painting. Patrons are divided over its two names: the North Wind Luncheonette, its uptown name, and Charlie Brown's, which is what it has always been called. In any case, it beats Barney's Beanery and the barbecues are terrific.
Palisades has its own youth subculture, which varies in degrees of youth, subness and culture along the spectrum from well-scrubbed college types to rowdies whose mischief has raised the ire of the local adults.Palisades' students and artists tend to confine their merrymaking to the great indoors or else go to Georgetown, where they blend right in.
The street corner crowd is something else. Its hub, until lately, was the carryout on MacArthur Boulevard near Dana Place. This carryout, though it has two chairs at most, and is closed Sundays and after 11 p.m. on weeknights, or whenever some of the previous owners have felt like closing, is perhaps the most popular attraction in the area for a lot of people. It is anathema to others, who want its liquor license revoked at the very least. It has changed hands many times in the last several years, but at one point it was owned and operated by Haidee Adkins, creator of the Haidee Special, a deelish sub that used to be served there. She is firmly on the kids' side:
"All these hassles [attempts to close the carryout or revoke its license to sell beer] stem from teh nouveaux riches of MacArthur Boulevard. They're much worse than the old people. These kids don't cause any trouble. They are unduly harassed by the police.The police should concentrate on crimes that are committed, not those that are imagined, or minor violations."
And what are minor violations? "Drinking calmly, hanging out reasonably. There's no place to go, man, and there's nothing to do."
1 a.m. Two vans outside the carryout. The cops have already taken Nappy away, said he was making a nuisance. Well, he's had a little too much to drink, that's all. Nap's crazy, but he's all right. Better they take him away from here than from his parents' house like they did last time. Nap wouldn't hurt a flea, just reads poetry and stuff, chases women, you know . . .
Mohawk's car goes down MacArthur like it's falling through thin air. He pulls it up at the light, which is red, and waits.
The street corner crowd is composed of various locals, some of whom come from the oldest families in the area. Taken individually, these Fonzing Fathers are a colorful lot that seem to attract some of the younger brothers and sisters of the aging Georgetown-prone set. The most pronounced hick The Post when I called on her.
She is an unabashed chain-smoker. "I find these pious and organized attempts to harrass us smokers rather offensive, don't you?" she questioned, puffing on her Newport. We discussed her grand tour and the disappearance of luxury liners for a bit.
The bordello business seemed a difficult subject to approach. After coffee and a peek at her terraced garden, I plunged in. "Mrs. Dow, I have been told that this house, ah, used to be . . ."
"A WHOREHOUSE?" she interrupted, with a laugh. "Why yes, so it was. It was also a dance hall, but there were eight little rooms to the side of the house that were used for this purpose. Let me show them to you."
The rooms are now bathrooms, closets, etc. Their size and strictly functional lines convinced me that these were once business addresses.
"I love this neighborhood," says Mrs. Dow, "the view across the river into Virginia, and the greenery, give it a country effect."
Has she been approached by real estate people?
"Oh yes, several times. But I won't sell. I'll go out of here feet first."
I told her that that was exactly what Mrs. Lowman and George Wells had said. She laughed.
"Really? K had thought that mine was an original line."
Well, as it turned out, Faye had nothing to worry about. Her Mohawk hadn't been cheating at all. He just took little Melinda along so that she could visit her auntie in Richmond.
Nappy went to the precinct house, but was released an hour later, and went home with a quatrain bussing in his head.
2 a.m: John, of John's Lawns, walks along quiet MacArthur Boulevard with Boo. Crickets sing and no cars pass. He searches for an ophorism to cap the evening for Carl, who wasn't here tonight. Well, as the TV boys would say, that about wraps it up from Palisades, save for the bated breaths of two lovers, somewhere in the Lettuce Patch, which probably no longer will be here in the spring.
accents one finds at the corner of Dana Place are often entirely affected. Who are the founders? Well, there's Pete the Horseplayer, a neighborhood celebrity known to have hit every track between Saratoga and Mexico at least once, but respected also for his lyrical powers of expression. The man is a poet. I have listened to him for hours paint verbal pictures of stunning power and grace when he speaks of the beauty of thoroughbreds, the thrill of the track, and three- or four-day "cruises" through Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado.
He speaks of the flatness of the plains at midday, the sudden rush of spring in the Rockies, or the look of a girl in Arkansas. Pete is pushing 30 now and he has cut his hair a bit, but his charm remains undimmed and his taste stays simple: a long shot coming home in the stretch, early Beatles on tape in his car, and freedom: the freedom to be who he is. Upward mobility? What's that?
Timmy, the mystic, hasn't been around, but that's because he's off somewhere doing God's work. Timmy is a one-man ecumenical council traveling from holy roller meetings in the Appalachians to coldwater communes in Spanish Harlem, "just listenin' to what all they have to say and tryin' to help each other see God through the devil." Sometimes on nice summer days, he is sitting on the railroad bridge up from the canal.
John, of john's Lawns. John is a Battery kemble regular. John is very philosophical about ghings. He dislikes work, considers it the death of time. Accordingly, he works just enough to live and spends the rest of his days in the park with his dog, Boo, or vanishes into the Great Smoky Mountains to attend bluegrass festivals. He views his ambitious friends' struggles with a serenity born of a deeper understanding of life. When he does work, he remains doggedly self-employed, cutting lawns or painting houses. Same with Pete. Pete works on cars, is proud of his skill with them but only does a job when he likes the setup. I wanted to interview John and Pete for this article, but John frowns on most organizations. "I got nothing to say," he smiled and wandered off into the woods where Union soldiers once camped. Pete was at the track.
Carl is the political thinker of the group. An anarchist, his redneck manner masks a well-informed and keen mind. He claims to have voted Libertarian last time around, is currently a disciple of Ayn Rand. Tv serials start out with these guys in mind, I am sure, before Hollywood ruins them.
Anyway, these people fulfill a need in certain upper-middle-class kids around here, those wary of Georgetown, Rod Stewart, easy affluence, and bored with being bored.
Bean-o is the younger brother of two long, tall sisters, who have for years dazzled the cafe society. With them everything had to be chic, everybody had to be rich, and everything was "boring."
Well, Bean-o got real bored with that and struck out on his own, exploring terrain unknown to the smart set. He came upon MacArthur Boulevard crowd a couple of years ago. His accent changed, he shed his pretty clothes, and got a $50 Dodge. He found his niche and seems happy.
Meredith, 18, straddles a fence. She, too, abandoned her former haunts and most of her classmates at the fashionable private school she attended.
"This neighborhood is like, more real . . ." She searches for her words, ". . . looser," slightly annoyed at being interviewed. "These people, you know, have a more realistic outlook on life. They don't go to college, they go out and work. It's not like Georgetown. It's not like making it all the time."
Charlotte Dow is a 66-year-old widow who lives in an old house on Sherier. Mrs. Dow was born and raised to Beacon Hill in Boston, and her manner retains the elegance of a vanished age. I had heard that her house was once a brothel frequented by downtowners who got off the trolley right outside the front door.
Mrs. Dow, a liberal of the old school, was busy reading Roots and composing a letter to the editor of [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCES]