An eye for quality

Regarding the May 14 Trib story about the mansion at 1503 Washington, one of the sequence of owners was downtown merchant and civic leader Elmore Rack, mentioned in a recent story in the Tribune-Herald as the former owner of the Witch House in Cameron Park. Mr. Rack’s son John and I were friends in junior high and high school from about 1956 to 1961. The Racks lived in the house on Washington for probably most of the latter half of the 20th century. Mrs. Rack was a school teacher.

While my parents played bridge over at 1512 Columbus, I would visit John and sometimes sleep over. We’d always visit the Palace of Sweets across the street, owned by the Karahoff family, and enjoy one of their wonderful fountain Coke floats. John’s parents slept in a massive antique four-poster tester bed with curtains and a plush canopy probably eight feet from the floor.

In 1986 or 1987, when Mr. Rack was edging into his early 90s, A&S held an estate auction on the lawn of the home and the bed and a handmade Oriental rug brought several thousand dollars each. The house was full of such treasures which brought more than the home was worth at the time. I visited with John at that time and Mr. Rack relocated to the Regis Retirement Center where he spent the remaining years of his life.

Mr. Rack may have been a second-hand furniture dealer, but he certainly had an eye for top quality and value.

Edward Mitchell, Waco

Flowering culture

The Hewitt Public Library is a great disappointment. I had hoped for more books but now I see Hewitt Public Library Director Waynette Ditto is proud that it’s turning into a “community center” rather than a library. I have asked for books and been told that the library cannot afford them. But they can afford to send Ms. Ditto to a conference in New York where she is inspired to buy musical flowers and not books.

I have been told that the library can get me books from another library so it doesn’t matter that they don’t have many books. But they want me to pay a $1 fee for them to borrow these books for me. For someone who really likes to read a lot, this can add up, especially for a retired person.

I have expressed my opinion to Ms. Ditto without any results and now I mostly go to the Waco-McLennan County Library. It’s further to drive but at least they actually buy books for their patrons to read.

Clydanne M. Reeves, Hewitt

Mideast mess

I can somewhat understand the situation in Israel this week. After all, just imagine all of the embarrassment, recriminations and headlines if something had happened to all of the “well-dressed” beautiful and rich people present as they were attacked by hordes of poor women and children who appeared unarmed.

Surely there could have been another solution. What happened appeared to be “overkill” — pun intended.

Nancy Marquis, Waco