Love/Hate Mail 

When he was a boy...

When he was a boy...

The news of June Carter Cash’s death and the ensuing coverage (Cover Story, May 22) left me feeling like I’d lost someone I’d known my whole life. In a sense, I had. When I was growing up outside of Knoxville, my mother sometimes left me at radio station WNOX to watch the Midday Merry-go-round, a two-hour live radio show, while she went to town to shop. June Carter, her mother and her sisters are the first entertainers I remember hearing in person. I’ve been a fan of the Carters and acoustic music ever since.

Circumstances put June and Johnny Cash together with me for the better part of a day a couple of years ago. While most people would probably have been star-struck by her more famous husband, I was delighted, after all those years, to meet June. When I shared about my early visits to the radio station where she had performed, she told me that was in 1947 and 1948. That would have made me 6 years old.

The Cashs were flattered that I wrote about them in one of my books, Touring the Middle Tennessee Backroads. They made me feel like the celebrity. They were such gracious people, as testified to over and over at June’s funeral. Just as her passing severs an important link to the origins of modern American music, it severs a link to a happy time in my past. I feel privileged to have met her.

Robert Brandt (Nashville)

Losing a “true icon”

Just a quick note to say what a great piece Bill Friskics-Warren did on June Carter Cash (Cover Story, May 22). Fantastic! I’m sure nobody will miss her more than Johnny will, but American music has certainly lost a true icon. By the way, I think she was wrong in her interview: God didn’t miss her. He touched her too, and said, “You’re going to be June Carter Cash,” and we’re all grateful for the time she shared with us.

Jim Mahanes (Murfreesboro)

One of the millions

By 1971, the ’60s, Vietnam and weird counterculture cults had taken their toll on me. I was paranoid and full of fear, constantly wondering if I would ever find my sanity again. I’d tried to escape from all this by moving back in with my parents in Sarasota, Fla. One morning in the fall of 1971, I wandered into a Sarasota drugstore and, for some reason, bought an album by Johnny Cash called Man in Black. I don’t know why I did because I never listened to country music. I went home and played it over and over, and some sanity began to come into my soul. It was like the prodigal son “coming to himself.” I still don’t listen to country music, except for that album as well as many others by Johnny and June, because the sincerity of their music transcends style. There’s definitely a healing there for me. That’s why I want to thank you for your wonderful tribute to June Carter (Cover Story, May 22). I’m just one of the millions her life touched and helped.

W.C. Carter (Nashville)

Treasured...for now

I enjoyed your column noting the 100th birthday of the Nashville Arcade (News Briefly, May 22). I wonder when they’re going to tear it down.

Joseph V. Purcell

2242 Maplecrest Drive (Nashville)

Randy in Nashville

Thanks—finally—for a swimsuit issue cover a middle-aged woman finds easy on the eyes (Summer Guide, May 15). Two weeks ago, I’d never even heard of Drew Bennett. Now I’m in love—er, lust, anyway. (Drew was wearing trunks, wasn’t he?)

Stacy Harris

4215 Harding Road (Nashville)

Dissed in the dugout

After reading the little box you had about your May 15 Summer Guide cover model, Drew Bennett, I expected him to be a genuinely nice guy. But after meeting him at the Jeff Fisher & Friends Charity Softball Game, I realized your account of Mr. Bennett was inaccurate. All of the other players were nice, came up and said hello (I was hanging out in the dugout) and seemed interested in meeting a fan. Drew, on the other hand, was arrogant. (Can you imagine having that feeling while standing next to the impeccably mannered Eddie George?) Several of the words that first popped into my mind are not printable in your magazine. Drew, if you’re going to live in the South, I suggest a crash course in Southern hospitality before your next public appearance!

Jennifer Jackson (Nashville)


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