Open Session: What Readers Think

Mark Twain, Outhouses, and Voting take center stage this month.

| October 2008

Mark Twain’s Missouri – I read the piece in your August issue about plans for an archaeological dig on a site outside of Florida, Mo., that was familiar to Mark Twain when he was a child (“Farm’s Mark Twain ties lead to research plan”). The short article carried me back to my visit to a Hannibal, Mo., home on the Mississippi River where Twain lived as a boy.

I visited there July 15, 1980, a date I recorded in the back of a book of poetry I purchased that day.

Barges flowed gently along the “Father of Waters,” the Mississippi River, on that hot summer day. The river was a personal acquaintance of Twain’s – he was a Mississippi River Pilot from 1857 until 1861. A towering statue of the author in a Hannibal park allows him to gaze out upon his treasured river. The inscription on it reads, “His religion was his humanity and a whole world mourned for him when he died.”

The author lived to be 75. Memories of Twain’s stories will never die, especially within older people.

Hazel Bell Nicholas
Marietta, Okla.

Fond of outhouses – I just finished re-reading the story about Mr. Elbert “Lee” Preston and his outhouse, and I admire his refusal to give up his desire for privacy (“Ohio man stalls long enough to get new outhouse,” August).

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