Publishing the history & culture
of Southeastern New England  •  Since 1981


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The Ed Letters
Memories of a New England Boyhood

By Edwin & Cliff Ashley
Edited by Diane deManbey Duebber
Illustrated by Charles Parsons

Paperback • ISBN 978-0932027-627 $9.95

112 pages • 7.25” x 10” • 12 Illustrations

   Born in 1909 and 1913 respectively in a little town called Marion, on the south coast of Massachusetts, brothers Ed and Cliff Ashley shared a childhood filled with simple country adventures and colorful characters. Remarkably, the Ashleys' cherished memories have been preserved in the letters that Cliff, who moved to Maine as a young man, wrote to his brother Ed over the course of 60 years. Cliff wrote of the scrapes they'd gotten into as kids, the games they'd played, the townsfolk they'd known, and the sleepy little town they called home.

  Ed read and saved each of those letters, until his failing eyesight made them difficult to read. That's when editor Diane deManbey Duebber stepped in. Working for the Council on Aging, she began reading Ed's mail to him, including the letters from Cliff. After hearing each new treasure from his brother, Ed put it in a box in his closet with the others. Realizing the value of those stored memories, Diane compiled Cliff's letters in a book, putting Ed's memories to writing in the form of replies.

    Here, then, is the result…a wonderful collection of letters, filled with quaint stories and a colorful cast of small-town characters, reminiscent of television's Andy Griffith Show. Readers will enjoy stories about "Mr. Midnight," the mysterious traveling salesman…ornery Bessie Nelson and her cats…Mr. Whitmarsh and his boney old horse, Gracie…Neal Potter, who hornswoggled the grocer with a bottle-return scheme…and many other delightfully funny characters.