I was somewhat amused by your portrayal of the Swolsky family ("The Real Green Acres," issue of June 27). As the son of a family transplanted from Queens to rural Clermont County, I was able to empathize on several accounts with the family's experience.
There are certain aspects of agricultural communities which are very different from urban communities, and I think that is what the article was about. I will say that I was further amused that the author never ventured far to gather material from any community members but the Swolskys, but that's nothing to take exception with, only a reflection on the decisions of the writer and editor.
I am extremely disturbed by the treatment of animals in the Swolksy household and would like to draw a critical distinction between "city" and "rural" treatments of animals. While it has dawned on Karen that not feeding animals can be "deadly and expensive (when the animals die as a result of negligence)," the family has a long way to go. In particular, the fact that the kids are " 'so over' the kittens after multiple litters of 10 and 12 several times" points to the fact that it might not have even occurred to the family that spaying and neutering the animals is a responsible alternative.
I hope, for the kids' sake, that they're not learning that "city pets" are bound to get run over because they don't have the "survival skills" to avoid irresponsible drivers, as if real "country" dogs and cats know how to magically transport themselves out of dangerous situations. As a career, those interested in farming should know that self-reliance involves equal parts passion and responsibility.
Being an animal "owner" involves taking responsibility for the well-being of the creature at a deeper level than simply making sure it has the nourishment to sustain itself.
This is true in any environment, rural and urban.
Communities such as the one described operate with an underlying compassion for one another. This compassion must be extended to everything within our own realm before we can ever truly take part in a larger one.
— Roy Mastromauro, Columbia-Tusculum
Depression and Insurance Suck
I am writing in regards to C.A. MacConnell's Living Out Loud in the July 11-17 issue, which was wonderful.
I have had major, cyclical depression (clinical term, really) since I was in the fifth grade. I am now a senior in college. After many inpatient stays at Children's Hospital in the psychiatric unit, countless doctor visits and an absurd amount of prescriptions, I am finally healthy. I am not free of depression, but I am stable. I consider that a major battle won. For years, my mother was denied help paying for my prescriptions from insurance, who claimed these kinds of medicines were not covered; instead, they offered a generic form, which was not as strong. In one particular hospitalization, I was told my insurance would not pay for more than five days in the hospital because I was not "sick enough," yet I had a feeding tube in my nose from an eating disorder. It's ironic how depression is a chemical imbalance within the brain from a serotonin imbalance, yet it is not considered a true illness in society or with insurance.
I am fortunate to have a mother who fought for me, who refused to let insurance give up on me and who knew I was better than my depression. I hope the stigma of mental illness is stopped and those who need help receive it before it is too late.
Thanks for the support.
— Annie Barkley Anderson Township
Opera with Relish
I continue to relish Mr. McElfresh's review of the opera, posted July 14. While reading his introspective viewpoint, I was keenly reminded of his sincerity and honest outlook. I would definitely agree that John Adams' Nixon in China could not even fathom being written by a minimalist. The orchestration and artists are superb.
Cincinnati is so fortunate to have a magnificent opera company. Under the artistic directorship of Evans Mirageas, CEO; Patty Beggs, board president; Cathy Crain and the board of trustees members, such as David Hakes, Melody Sawyer Richardson, and Ray van de Horst, the Cincinnati Opera will continue to provide the best that opera has to offer.
Robert H. Moreland, Clifton
Support Some Troops
I support your position on the troops fighting Bush's war ("Blame and Shame," issue of July 11-17). Vietnam Veterans Against the War/anti-imperialist headquarters, Seattle, say only support the troops who refuse to fight.
Sonny Williams, Clifton