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To the Editor:

I just read the message from Don Keelan in the Manchester Journal and have pondered the same question. I guess it's time to put some thoughts on paper. I have not read the book, but did receive one for Christmas. After reading the comments and information on the content of the book, I can't bring myself to read it.

I am Phyllis Decker Mason. I grew up in West Arlington, in "Norman Rockwell Time," which probably was the best time I could have lived there.

I posed for one picture - an Upjohn Medicine ad. However, my father, Clarence Decker, and my brother Clarence Decker, posed for many pictures.

Peter Rockwell was in my class in the West Arlington School, through sixth grade. Norman was a member of Battenkill Grange as was all of my family. Norman Rockwell was a good Grange member and wonderful person. He took his turn working our famous dances held on the Green Platform where we all (including the Rockwell kids) learned to dance. Norman took his turn, as a Grange member, selling tickets, or hot dogs and soda, or sprinkling corn meal on the dance floor! So what if he found some ideal people to pose for him?? He was part of the community and well respected. If you haven't read James 'Bud' Edgerton's book, "The Unknown Rockwell," you should do so. Growing up as the Rockwell family neighbor was a great experience for the Edgerton family as well as the Rockwell family. This book is true, factual and not looking for something that wasn't there. In West Arlington's Rockwell time, the world was a much different place than it is today. We had great childhoods and the things facing young people today are much different. I don't know when or where this person, Deborah Solomon, grew up, but perhaps she would have been better off experiencing the small town life I feel very fortunate to have lived. I don't know you Mr. Keelan, but thanks for speaking out.

Phyllis Decker Mason



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