Military service woman's father responds
To the Editor:
I'm writing this in response to an insensitive letter that appeared in last week's Rumford Falls Times that was written by Cecile Smith of Hartford, CT.
The Rumford Falls Times asked our daughter, Elizabeth Perry, to grant them an interview as a local, young person serving our country.
I was shocked to read what you wrote about her. The paper published an inspirational article about a young woman who is excited about her service to her country and the travel opportunites that it is providing her.
First of all, at no time did say say Rumford was the worst place to live. I read the part about her wanting to come back to town and meet with other students about being in the service. She also said she wanted to meet new people. I read the part about her learning how important it is to continue her education. I see nothing wrong with that.
Secondly, I found it hypocritical that Mrs. Smith talked of Rumford in the past tense. What was said in Mrs. Smith's letter was the person who left Rumford over 40 years ago, who made a life and career for herself and never returned to live here. You have become the consummate flatlander who sees Rumford as the Norman Rockwell painting of the 1940's but you don't want to live here in the reality of 2013. So Mrs. Smith, if you feel so passionate about Rumford that you felt moved to smear a young servicewoman, why aren't you living here now?
I can answer that for you Mrs. Smith. There are not many opportunities for our young people to stay in town. Our population has been decreasing for the last 50 years. There are not many jobs available, and especially no afterschool jobs.
When she was in high school, she to travel to Sunday River to work. Rumford is below state average for family income. We have many empty homes and apartment buildings in town, and our largest employer has seen their employees decrease to probably a quarter of the jobs there was when you left.
Forty years ago, you could get a livable income job in Rumford easily. That's now the way now. There are not many activities for younger people to do either. There are very few stores to shop in. There is no movie theater, and few restaurants to eat in. We do still have a bowling alley, in which she was on a youth league.
My wife and I are very proud of our daughter. Elizabeth has many friends and the support of this community. She is very well liked.
Her outgoing personality and smiles is just a couple of her qualities. I can say we all miss her in town. She has touched so many people here.
Folks are always asking how she is doing. As a parent, I hated to see her leave, but she wanted to spread her wings and see the world. We are saddened that she was insulted by someone who has the nerve to write such a letter as yours.
One thing I will agree on with you is Rumford is a beautiful little town with many good and hard working people in it. We are happy to call this our hometown. But what upsets me the most is your comment of "I hope she doesn't plan to return -- let the Marines keep her."
Instead of disgracing Elizabeth, you don't you just thank her for service she is doing for this country. And one more thing, I hope Hartford keeps you. We don't want people like you here.