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Letter: Sweet Smell of Employment

To the Editor:

When Valley News staff writer Diane Taylor wrote about the Lebanon of her childhood (“Walk Down Memory Lane in Lebanon,” Aug. 20), a lot was left unsaid, and there was too much of her impression of the now-defunct Cummings Leather Co. The aromas emanating from the long-gone tannery were not pleasing to the olfactory senses, but her article prolongs and perpetuates the memories of those who wish to remember the worst about High Street, its adjacent areas and downtown Lebanon.

A great deal of credit has to be given to the tannery for the employment it provided to many men and their families. During those times, programs such as SNAP (food stamps) and other social services were not available, and men worked where employment was available — and the tannery was one place where it was. In those times, one worked or went without.

I think Taylor’s article would have created greater local interest if she had included Hough Square and places of business such as the A.& P. Store or the White Owl Diner and then continued her walk along Hanover Street through what is now a downtown mall and passed by a Woolworth’s Five and Dime, McNeill’s Drug Store, Hunt’s Department Store, Tom’s Toggery or Hildreth’s Hardware, to name a few. But perhaps she is too young to recall this sampling of the “old” Lebanon as it was, or to acknowledge the tannery’s merits. I also hope that she knows that her leather items (pocketbook, shoes, jacket, to name a few) once smelled like those odors that she so well recalls. To be sure, the tannery smelled (some say it stunk) but it had its redeeming points, too, and it must be revered by many considering that Lebanon recently named a street Tannery Lane, misplaced though it is in the Scytheville section of the city.

Gordon M. Stone

West Lebanon

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