TENNIS WITH DENNIS
Congratulations on the thrilling and farsighted story on Dennis Ralston by Jack Olsen (His Own Menace, Aug. 26). Denny has grown overnight from a petulant teenager to a top menace to all opponents. When I saw him fight into the semis and finals of the National Clay Court Championships last July without giving the grandstands the slightest reason to suspect that the whole palm of his racket hand was blistered as raw as an uncooked steak, I concluded for the first time that Dennis Ralston had matured.
Twin Lakes, Wis.
You spoke of Dennis Ralston's courtesy and thoughtfulness. I had an opportunity to observe this 10 years ago when he was just a lad. It was in Bakersfield, Calif., and a tennis meet for youngsters was in progress. In the doubles matches, both boys' and mixed, Denny drew partners who were not at all experts in the game. He would have done better if he could have played the entire court by himself. But I was impressed with the way he drew his partner up beside him, gave counsel and advice and directed the play in the most efficient and kindly manner.
RAYMOND F. BELLAMY
While I am as patriotic and loyal as the next fellow, I feel these two young men, Chuck McKinley and Dennis Ralston, are vastly overrated. They were very fortunate to win this year's American Zone Davis Cup semifinals against a superior but unlucky Mexican duo of Rafael Osuna and Antonio Palafox. Osuna thrashed McKinley, America's best, in singles. Only when Osuna was under the handicap of fatigue could Ralston beat him. Palafox, although not in Osuna's class, could easily have beaten either American had he played better. And Osuna and Palafox, for my money, are still the best amateur doubles team in the world.
Dennis Ralston might be less of a menace to himself if he cut down on his intake of sugar and caffein. "Coke by the quart and ice cream by the gallon" could key up any sensitive person's nervous system in a way I have seen many times in my patients.
BERNARD D. ROSS, M.D., Ph.D.
Fort Pierce, Fla.
Your item "Back to Nature" (SCORECARD, Aug. 26) is an outrage. The criticism that "only a tiny minority of those who visit the parks realize that they were set aside as nature sanctuaries to be preserved forever in their pristine state" is a falsehood. You state that there are too many car campers who douse campfires with kerosene or toss underwear into pools, etc. This may be true with some, but certainly not a majority. Instead of reducing the number of campgrounds, the Park Service should increase it. As a car camper of five years, I have seen very few violations of park rules.
EARLE E. JACOBS III
The necessary task of preserving our wilderness can be done in two ways: 1) seal it up now and deliver it intact to the future (whenever that is) or 2) use it with respect now and keep it well for the future.
The first way seems to be that used by the National Park Service (Department of Interior). You say that the space for car camping will be reduced though "backpack campers will be welcome." Actually, even the backpackers have cause for complaint. Last week in Rocky Mountain National Park, I gladly left an already criminally overcrowded car camp and made my way up to the high country only to be told not to take shortcuts or build fires except in the two camps for which I had permits. At one of these I stayed five days—a tiny campground whose sanitation facilities were insufficient to say the least and whose wood supply was beyond a swamp or way down the trail. This while all around, as far as I could see in each direction, there was scads of room.
In contrast, I had spent a week earlier in the summer backpacking as a guest of the Forest Service (Department of Agriculture), which seems to be operating the second way. Specifically, I was in Idaho's Sawtooth Wilderness Area. There I wandered at will, selected my campground from numerous undeveloped camping sites and built my fire by choice (though with extreme care). Although I had previously written to the district ranger, who had given me sound recommendations (the superintendent of Rocky Mountain National Park had not even answered my similar letter to him), still I sensed a glorious freedom in the pristine forest and did my best to keep it that way.
WAYNE D. WARDWELL JR.
GOOD RIGHT HAND
Why did Robert Creamer, in his story on Alvin Dark (Crossing the Delaware with Alvin Dark, Aug. 26), have to apply the unwarranted description "the best right-handed pitcher in baseball" to Juan Marichal? An avalanche of letters from all the indignant Broglio, Drysdale, Herbert and Maloney fans is inevitable. And the Face-Radatz controversy might even flare up again. The fact is that despite a mediocre record with this year's weak Detroit club, Jim Bunning is still the best righty going.
Bill Monbouquette is the best.
Old Fort, N.C.
THE PRICE OF DUCKS
We were very grateful for your enthusiastic review of the Department of Interior's new waterfowl identification guide, Ducks at a Distance (SCORECARD, Aug. 19).
However, I think it only fair to inform your readers that most of the 900,000 copies which we sent to our Fish and Wildlife Service field offices for free distribution have already been exhausted. Copies of the guide are now available only from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. at 25¢ each. Clubs and groups can obtain a 25% discount on all orders of 100 or more.
DWIGHT F. RETTIE
Ed Graham has put my mind at ease (On the Trail of a Hero, Aug. 26). As I am now 18, I was beginning to wonder if idolizing Mickey Mantle at this stage of my life was abnormal. However, just knowing that, a man in his 30s feels the same way will give me peace of mind for at least 12 more years.
BACK TO BLOCK
Carleton Mitchell's article on the cruise of the Finisterre along New England's coast was absolutely marvelous (East of The Race and West of the Cape, July 22). I dream of the day that a first-rate writer-sailor will take a good ship on a slow journey down the Atlantic islands, Maine to Florida, and write a book about it. Mitchell obviously is the man to do it.
Having spent too-brief segments of my summers on Block Island for several years, I can add one or two interesting points of history to his tale. According to the ladies of the historical society there, Verrazano, the explorer for whom the Verrazano Narrows off New York City is named, was the first man to chart the island. Evidently he was not so thoughtful as to provide a name for it. This was a good many years before Adriaen Block anchored off Manisses. Block never actually came ashore. When a small number of relatively prosperous men and their families came out to settle the island in the middle of the 17th century, they apparently did so to escape the strictness of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They named the island New Shoreham, after a town in England, but the name didn't stick, except officially. How could it, against Block?
In the case of the wrecked ship Palatine truth has been so clouded over by legend that no one is ever going to be able to determine exactly what happened. It seems certain, however, that there were a few survivors, and they were taken in by the Block Islanders. Many died on the island, exhausted by their ordeal. One survived, however, a woman called Dutch Kattern or Long Kate. She was something of a mystic, and a good deal of island superstition is traceable to her. Her great-grandson was the official greeter at one of the hotels Mr. Mitchell speaks of. Among other things it was his task to transport residents of the hotel down to the excellent ocean beaches by oxcart. This was during the latter part of the 19th century.
Howsoever, it was a fascinating article and much too short. We want more.
I was most interested to read Mr. Dave Grube's letter, '"Love Call for Curly" (19TH HOLE, June 10), concerning the scarcity of curly-coated retrievers in the U.S. and his difficulties in locating a mate for his own curly. Has he thought of importing a wife for his dog? Here in England we are keeping the curly flag flying with a membership of 35 in the Curly Society and 67 curly-coats registered with the Kennel Club in 1962. They are a wonderful breed, as Dave Grube and anyone else who has owned one knows, highly intelligent, most handsome and such faithful friends. They deserve to be much more widely known and bred.
Incidentally, I have a beautiful litter of pups just now by one of our show champions and a field-trial winner.