Almost every Saturday night, well into the 1960s, Danceland entertained teenagers who had an interest in dancing to the latest rock-and-roll hits. I know this because, along with my parents and brother, I lived in a stone twin directly across the street from the former Italian Mutual Aid hall that had been used for wedding receptions and similar events.
One Saturday night, our doorbell rang, and there was "Fats" Domino at our front door asking to use our telephone. Apparently, the phone in the dance hall was out of order. My family and I were in awe as Domino sat in our living room making a call. We were so much in awe that none of us took a photograph or asked for his autograph. So I have no documented proof of his visit to my childhood home, but that event is one of my sweetest childhood memories. All thanks to Steve Van Buren.
John Tancredi, Audubon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Politicians bury the hatchet
Dick Polman's premise regarding the excessive vitriol between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in the 1800 presidential campaign was accurate ("When politics were truly ugly," Aug. 24). However, in retirement, they buried the hatchet, became friends, and wrote a multitude of letters to each other covering life, death, family, religion, and more. How many politicians of today are capable of doing the same?
Roger Sollie, Flourtown, email@example.com
College is hardly wasteful spending
The letter "Middle class its own worst enemy" (Aug. 22) rejected the analysis in The Betrayal of the American Dream by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele that middle-class struggles are the direct result of policies that favor the rich. Instead, the writer suggested that our problem lies in our finding "new ways ... to flush more and more money down the toilet."
Among such wasteful spending, right alongside material goodies such as "iPods" and "expensive sneakers," he adds "completely useless (but still obscenely expensive) college degrees." Although the cost of higher education is out of line and getting worse, and saddling recent graduates with huge debt is a problem that needs to be fixed, I do not accept the idea that a college education is, for many of us, anything less than a critical component of the American Dream. The letter seems to reflect the Romney-Ryan perspective that the middle class should buy the education that they can afford.
Kurt Jaworski, West Chester
Promote healthy school lunches
With the new school year here, the attention of parents turns to clothes, supplies, and lunches. Yes, school lunches.
Traditionally, the U.S. Agriculture Department had used the National School Lunch Program as a dumping ground for surplus meat and dairy commodities. Not surprisingly, its own surveys indicate that children consume excessive amounts of animal fat and sugary drinks, to the point that one-third have become overweight or obese. Early dietary flaws have become lifelong addictions, increasing their risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Gradually, the tide is turning. The new USDA school lunch guidelines, mandated by President Obama's Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, require doubling the servings of fruits and vegetables; more whole grains and less sodium and fat; and no meat for breakfast. Still, food lobbyists have prevailed on Congress to count pizza and French fries as vegetables, and fatty mystery meats and sugary dairy drinks abound.
Parents and students should insist on healthful plant-based school meals, snacks, and vending-machine items.
Pavel Anistadt, Philadelphia