To the editors:

As I was thumbing my way through last weekend’s Reader I was surprised to see a photo of two adjacent empty lots on my block. The article I am referring to was titled “Tina and Rosie Don’t Live Here Anymore” [April 22]. My first thoughts were “How nice, a tribute to my old neighbors.” Then I read the first lines of the article “the fat ladies” are gone.

I have never read a more mean spirited cruel article. What was the point of the article? Let’s see how mean a neighbor can be to two senior citizens who have moved away? The author made cruel, unjustified remarks. The two women were not classy enough for her snobbish taste.

Thirty good neighbors gathered at Margot’s house on a cold Sunday evening in January for a farewell party for Mrs. Tina Weniger and Mrs. Rose Hernandez. We gave them corsages and all enjoyed a potluck supper brought by the neighbors. The young stockbroker who purchased their properties was also there to wish them well. He was very sensitive to the fact that he was displacing citizens who were members of this block for over 30 years. Tina and Rose, like many other senior citizens, who live in changing neighborhoods, live frugally on a fixed Social Security income. Taxes have been rising dramatically in the last ten years. Rose would walk down to my house with her tax bills complaining that she could not afford to pay them even with a senior citizen discount.

The block party so maliciously described in the article is one of my fondest memories of all the past ten years of block parties on the 1700 block of Cleveland. A group of rhythm and blues musicians lived on our block that played in clubs on Lincoln Avenue. They came to our block fest and brought their instruments. My husband provided the keg of beer and Tina made huge bowls of mostaccioli (not lasagna, never in ten years lasagna!). Rose sang with the musicians and we all applauded. It was a warm summer evening and it was the essence of what living in the city means. The great mix of different kinds of people enjoying neighborhood life together.

Mrs. Tina Weniger is also a member of St. Michael Church. Tina often stayed up all night cooking and baking for many of their events. Tina brought over a large bowl of mostaccioli one winter when my husband was very sick. Mrs. Rose Hernandez is an animal lover and would help out working couples by walking their dogs and feeding their cats when they went on vacation. These are examples of people who know what it means to be good neighbors. Not the sarcastic critical eye of the mean spirited neighbor who wrote last week’s article.

The neighbors who were at the farewell party gathered on the street last Sunday and shared their sorrow and horror of thinking about Tina and Rosie reading this article and feeling bitter and betrayed by a neighbor.

A good neighbor,

Barbara W. Siebel

N. Cleveland