Letters to the Editor
Vol. 9, No. 14
April 5-11, 2001
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Bates Story a 'Collector's Item' for Alums

Dear Bay Weekly:

I serve as president of the Wiley H. Bates Alumni Class of 1945. On behalf of the officers and members, we thank you and your staff for doing such a beautiful article in your Vol. IX No. 7 story on Wiley H. Bates High School.

It is a collector's item that most of us will cherish and keep in our special places for important papers.

I am deeply proud because my daughter, Janice Hayes-Williams, had a hand in doing the article and I am very proud of her.


-William "Bill" Hayes, Annapolis

Farewell Smiths; Farewell a Way of Life

Dear Bay Weekly:

Today [March 31] we said good-bye to an old friend, Smith Building Supply. I will miss it dearly. It was always there, it seemed, staffed with people we all grew up with - and every one of them always cheerful and helpful.

Yes, I'm guilty. I, too, have shopped at the megaplex lumber yards. The pushy crowds, the constant bleating of the intercom and the all-too-frequent rude and impolite behavior of fellow customers deepened my appreciation of what we had in Churchton.

Like the steady march of seasons, so must we endure the demise of family-run businesses like Smith Building Supply and, a few years ago, Dixon's Service Station, which are then replaced with more profitable franchise-type big-box stores. This is progress to some, but for me I'm not so sure.

When living around here becomes more similar to a visit to a big lumber store, I will be able to soothe my frustration with fond memories of Arthur Foote at Smith's asking about the health of my dad and the old man peacefully crumpled in a chair napping the day away at Dixon's. These memories and many more will sustain me in the uncertain times that are coming.

The Smith family hosted a cook-out on their final day of business. It was almost like a funeral, but the great thing was that no one was dead. Lots of smiling old friends and neighbors got together, some hugging and with lots of firm handshakes all around.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith and most of their past and present employees were on hand to say goodbye to their customers. And the large crowd of customers was there to say goodbye to a way of living.

Someday many years from now, I wonder if the closing of the Safeway or Food Lion will harvest as much emotion from the community as the closing of Smiths has.

-Jim Anderson, Churchton

Seeking Anzio Beachhead Veterans

Dear Bay Weekly:

The Anzio Beachhead Veterans Association is searching for anyone - soldiers, airmen, navy personnel and nurses - who served with an Allied Forces organization on the Beachhead from January 22 through May 25 1944.

The beachhead was part of what was known during World War II as the attack on "the soft under-belly of Europe," which started with the Allied invasion of North Africa in late 1942. The "under-belly" turned out not to be so soft, and we found ourselves stuck, first in North Africa and again later in mid-Italy.

The amphibious landings at the Italian coastal hamlet of Anzio in January 1944 were aimed at cutting off the highways supplying the German forces down south in the mountains at Casino. Unfortunately, we were stopped before reaching those highways, and the small Anzio beachhead continued for approximately four months, during which German canon shelled the entire beachhead, including the port. Finally, Allied forces at Casino broke through, and we all loped to Rome and V.I. Day.

With your assistance, we can reach a great number of these veterans, who we ask to contact David Oglesby, 11208 Villas on the Green Dr., Riverview, FL 33569.

-Bill Papian, Shady Side

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly