Letters to the Editor

A few words from our readers


A Tallahassee Legend

Your story about “Mary Call Darby Collins” (July-August edition) proves once again that she is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable women of the 20th century. Mary Call has, throughout her life, given selflessly to the people of her beloved city and state. Her appreciation of history led her to recognize the importance of the preservation of many significant papers, records and photographs pertaining to our state’s history that would otherwise have been lost. Mary Call’s unfailing good judgment was extremely influential in the design and construction of the Governor’s Mansion, and it was her vision and perseverance that were responsible for the restoration and preservation of The Grove as one of America’s great houses. Through the years she has also worked for the preservation of the beautiful trees and canopy roads that grace Tallahassee. When the historic old Union Bank Building was earmarked for demolition, it was largely through her efforts that it was saved. She has always worked to promote family values and the importance of education, and her generous and continuing support of the public library has been of great benefit to Tallahassee. 

At a young age she had the strength of character to overcome the overwhelming loss of most of those she held dear and went on to finish her studies and a degree in Education at FSCW. Certainly she must rank as its most outstanding graduate! Throughout her life, from the time she was a child involved with her mother in domestic support for the soldiers of the First World War; later as a hospital volunteer; as a member of the Mount Vernon Board; and as a volunteer in too many other community services to list, until today at the age of 95, hers has been a life of lending support to and caring about others. Her profound humility and incredible modesty have kept her many accomplishments and her caring nature a secret from all but those closest to her.

While she is perhaps best known for her contributions in concert with, and in support of Gov. Collins, those who know her well recognize that in addition to fulfilling magnificently her roles of wife, mother and family matriarch, Mary Call has touched so many other people’s lives and has been a supportive mentor and role model not only for women, but for all those fortunate enough to have known her. Such praise undoubtedly will embarrass her, but Floridians, young and old, need to understand what a precious gift she is for all of us.

Jeannette P. Windha

The Rest of Merlin’s Story

In the last issue’s publisher’s letter, Brian Rowland shared a story about a dog that had been hit and killed by a car and his efforts to find its owner, along with his thoughts about death and dying. The following letter was written by the owner of that dog, named Merlin.

After Merlin was killed in February my husband had no idea how to reach you nor was he able to remember your name. I am very thankful you delivered the issue of Tallahassee Magazine to our doorstep so I would finally be able to send this out to you.

I cannot begin to explain to you how much your actions meant to us that day. However, I would like to try to introduce you to what was probably the most special dog we have ever had the pleasure to share our lives with.

Merlin was 100 percent miniature schnauzer in every way. For eight years, he was my husband’s evening lap dog while the two of them chilled in front of the TV, my foot warmer in bed and my daughter’s protector during thunderstorms (they were both terrified of them and would hide under the bed covers together). Not a day went by that Merlin did not get in trouble for rummaging through the bedroom trashcan to see what new treasures awaited him. But more importantly, not a day went by in the past eight years that he did not meet every new person at the front door with total excitement and acceptance. He had such an amazing understanding of the English language that he had an uncanny ability to seem very humanlike. But, like any good terrier, he absolutely could not resist the urge to dig and any new adventure. This, of course, led to the events of that fateful day.

While those events were heartbreaking to our family and nothing can be done to alter those events, we would have been far more devastated had we not been able to perform that one final act of love for our beloved best friend.

Please accept my apologies for not sending this as soon as I received your contact information. You see my husband’s brother, Jack, from Bald Point had been fighting emphysema and cancer for the past several years. He spent the last couple of months going through the final stages of dying. His battle ended on July 28, 2006, ending his pain.

I feel I must tell you your article is certainly very truthful. Death is something that we as a society certainly have difficulties accepting and discussing. While the death of a loved one is something we can never truly be prepared for, we certainly should try to address the issues they will probably leave each of us during those first few days and hours following their death. Even the simple things such as where or how they want to be buried, what type of service they would prefer and even the names and phone numbers of the people they want to be contacted. These are just some of the items likely to escape the mind of the average person in those first few difficult hours unless they have been seriously discussed and even written down.

Sharon Little

Categories: Quick Reads