I read Monica Hesse’s Feb. 21 commentary about the famous end-of-World-War-II “kiss” photo. (“In the MeToo era, a kiss is not just a kiss. Maybe it never was.”) If my mother were alive today, she would be highly offended by anyone who would attempt to make the photo smarmy. She would tell them: “If you weren’t there; you don’t know what it was like when that war ended.”
She was newly married when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Two years later, my father, at 33, was drafted into the Navy and shipped out for the South Pacific, leaving behind my mother and my oldest brother, who was 6 months old. My mother and brother moved in with my grandmother for the duration of the war.
I was a little girl in the 1960s when my mother showed me the well-known kiss photo. She told me that spontaneous celebrations sprang up all over the U.S. on and after V-J Day. She recalled how she got a babysitter for my brother and that she and my grandmother hopped on a streetcar and went to downtown St. Paul to celebrate the end of the war in what became a massive street party. People were laughing and drinking and smooching; spontaneous snake dances broke out and wound through downtown St. Paul’s usually sedate streets.
My mother, never one to mince words, would tell individuals who think the kiss photo is akin to men abusing women that their notion is sheer nonsense. That night in 1945, men and women in St. Paul were hugging and kissing one another with joyous abandon. To my mother and, I suspect, a lot of her peers, the kiss photo wasn’t just an image of some guy grabbing a girl. It represented the end of the “good war” that wasn’t so good to the many people waiting and worried about their husbands, sons and brothers and the end of many other things — of rationing, of fear, of repression, of bloodshed. It also represented a sense of hope, at least for my mother. She was old enough to have lived through both of the 20th century’s world wars, with loved ones in both conflicts. The kiss photo with the image of two strangers locked in a celebratory embrace at the end of the second World War reminded my mother that at least for a brief moment, global peace had been achieved.
Sue Rohland, St. Paul
Decent pay and benefits could go a long way toward easing problems
Regarding the lack of mail delivery (“Mpls asks: Where’s our mail service?” front page, Feb. 21, and Readers Write, Feb. 22). The suburbs have also experienced days of no mail delivery. We live in Plymouth. Our mail carrier works very hard. The problem is that the postal workers no longer receive federal benefits. This is a demanding job. Who wants to work for $12 an hour with that type of workload?
I miss the days when we lived in St. Louis Park, where our mail was delivered at the door mailbox. I know that the U.S. Postal Service has not made any money, but there are many who still depend on it. Some of the elderly still depend on the mail service to deliver their bills. If the USPS wants to be fully staffed again, please give the postal workers decent benefits and decent pay, and we may be back to regular mail service. Let’s be kind to our postal carriers and give them an incentive to keep their jobs.
Peggy Doran, Plymouth
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I have lived at the same Shakopee address for nearly 24 years and have never had a single issue with mail service. On Feb. 2, I mailed a valentine with a $25 gift card to my daughter in Charlotte, N.C. On Feb. 4, I mailed a valentine with a $25 gift card to my other daughter in Minneapolis. Neither daughter received their valentines or gift cards. Additionally, we did not receive a $1,400 money order from our tenant who rents a home we own in Denver. He provided a receipt for this money order, and we don’t at this time know if it has been cashed. This seems entirely too coincidental.
Jessica Wiley, Shakopee
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I find it ironic that there was an article in the Star Tribune about people not receiving their mail. I stopped receiving my daily newspaper on Jan. 22. After I made numerous phone calls, my paper finally came on Feb. 21 and has been intermittent since. I know that my mail is far more important, and we are very lucky to have a great mail carrier (Gary), but what about the newspaper?
Sandy Daly, Minneapolis
With proposal for serious scrutiny of facilities, Walz is on right track
Maybe it is because I turned 70 last week. Or, maybe because of the suspicious death of my friend’s husband at an assisted-living facility. Whatever the reason, Gov. Tim Walz’s proposal for changed regulations, more fines, increased reviews and licensing of care facilities (“Walz targets neglect in elder care homes,” Feb. 22) appears to be spot-on. This is precisely what our governor and Legislature should be doing to help and protect the citizens of this state. I hope that our politicians can reach across the aisle to evaluate the common-sense proposal and the associated costs to enact these changes.
Kathleen Foley, Northfield
DRIVER AND VEHICLE SERVICES
Who could possibly navigate this convoluted scenario?
The other evening, Officer Friendly pulled me over to point out that my Minnesota license tabs had expired in July. I was flabbergasted. I went to my local license office and asked if they might know why we hadn’t received the notice in the mail. The two young ladies behind the counter agreed that the state doesn’t have to send those notices; they are merely “courtesy reminders.” And it says right on your license plate when your tabs expire.
Silly me. So I wonder why the “courtesy reminder” comes with a return envelope, a form to update, and instructions for including a check. I asked again why we hadn’t received that “courtesy reminder” when I had in my hand “courtesy reminders” for two other vehicles. The clerk looked at her computer and said there was a “hard hold” on our vehicle. Why? Because 10 years ago when we moved to Minnesota, we gave them our registration but not our out-of-state title. So, I asked, why have they been sending “courtesy reminders” and issuing us tabs for 10 years? Because 10 years ago it wasn’t necessary to send in the title, but now it is. Why hadn’t they told us this? Because, they both agreed, there are hundreds of people in the same situation and “they can’t send letters to everyone.”
I walked out with my new tabs, a stupid look on my face, and more questions. Like how much trouble is the state division of Driver and Vehicle Services in if it can’t afford a postage stamp?
Leslie Ritchie, Hastings
JON BREAM AND ELTON JOHN
Ridiculing performer’s body is unacceptable in a music review
In his review of Elton John’s concert Thursday at Target Center (“Elton John says farewell to his friends,” Feb. 22), Jon Bream describe the performer as a “paunchy rock icon who waddles around the stage like the Penguin from ‘Batman.’ ” Would Bream describe an older female performer in terms like that? Calling out perceived physical characteristics such as paunchy and waddling is demeaning, juvenile and mean-spirited. We can and should do better than this.
Melissa Abrams Caulfield, Golden Valley