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Love Notes

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Marianne's Q&A with local letter writer Lawrence Fury

His name is a fixture among the Daily Bee “Letters-to-the-Editor” contributors. His versatility is apparent through the wide variety of topics upon which he comments: the schools, the Byway, the tunnel vision, world politics, and any issue threatening to diminish the folksy charm of old-time Sandpoint. Some readers think he’s a grumpy old man who just sits at home all day thinking negative thoughts to pen for his next signed editorial-page submission.

Lawrence Fury is anything but old. He’d gladly settle for 40-something, but admits to an upcoming 52ndin the old one-story Green hospital moved up from Farragut.” He figures that 95 percent of his life has been spent in Sandpoint with 5 percent in Southern California, Oregon and Coeur d’Alene. birthday, having been born here “

This locally employed bachelor does not sit home stewing, but he has published a cookbook. He knows his opinions can grate on a few readers, but his only regret about his long history of submissions to the paper is a little repetition. Sometimes, though, he believes topics demand background for readers to understand current situations—hence, occasional repetition. Lawrence believes he offers a voice for a lot of folks with opinions similar to his own, but he figures if he might be too polarizing if he sought public office.

Like anyone who stirs up opinion, there’s plenty more to Lawrence than meets the reader’s eye. He’s a Sandpoint High graduate with two years at NIC and additional travel agent studies. He loves mountain biking, road cycling, weight training, and cooking. He’s a Trekie because the Star Trek series “portrayed loyalty, adventure and a positive future for humanity---not JUST running around blowing things up.” Besides listening to ‘80s pop music, he enjoys the British series Dr. Who as well as many old ‘60s sitcoms.

There’s plenty more, and Lawrence has kindly responded to several questions from my “enquiring mind.”

Describe your typical day. Wake up. Go to work. Come home. Cook dinner. Play a computer game. Go to bed. Do it all over. Unlike at least one or more of the opponents of the Byway, my weekends include bicycling or the gym, according to the weather/time of year. Biking with a friend of several years during the summer. Talk to my neighbor(s) sometimes and a longtime friend in Olympia, Wash.

Who has influenced you most? Why and how? Probably not one individual. On a wide scale, President John F. Kennedy. He inspired us to better things. Where is he or a successor now when we need him/her?

What genres do you enjoy reading? Favorite books? Sci-Fi, adventure, supernatural. King’s Salem’s Lot in my top five. Summer of Night by Dan Simmons. I am Legend, the new Will Smith Movie, is based on a remake of Omega Man with Charlton Heston from the early ‘70s.

What or who have been your writing inspirations? Always wanted to write for TV or movies.

When, where and how much time do you devote to writing? Do you write by hand or by computer? Not as much as I used to; only occasionally now. Making a living intrudes on too much. Hope to do another cookbook (gourmet this time) as well as a book of local and area ghost stories next year. I use a computer . . . a Macintosh by the way.

What writing are you currently doing? Where has your work been published? A short story years ago in a monthly Sci-Fi digest-size magazine and a cookbook called Victorian Sunday Dinners (2003 -- Quixote Press, 35544 Blakslee St., Wever, IA 52658 (800) 571-2665, $11.95) five years ago featuring a recreation of a 1915 book of 52 complete-menu Sunday dinners. My mother’s mother, as a young woman, lived in New York, actually Long Island where she worked briefly in a small publishing house a year before moving to Wyoming where my mother was born in 1916. This was a book Grandma (I never met her) brought West.

Mine is not much different from the original except some modern suggestions/shortcuts if you don’t have all day to prepare all 6 to 12 menu items from scratch as you had to do long before the proliferation of prepared foods. Menu items: Meat loaf (originally called Hamburg Roast), boiled cod w/egg sauce, peach cake w/sweetened cream, watermelon pickles, lemon/peppergrass and onion salad, figs in sherry jelly, roasted stuffed shoulder of lamb . . . .My Inspiration? It was just neat to preserve a piece of history in some fashion. I also like to cook. Too bad I never made someone a nice wife. Ha, Ha.

Describe memories of your early days in Sandpoint? Open vacant lots where a number of neighborhood kids and I played . . . especially a half-acre lot of woods three blocks from our house called the Bumphills where we rode our sting-ray bikes over a bumpy trail of probably a quarter mile and played the usual kid games.

How has the community changed since you were young? No more open spaces like the above to play in. The Bumphills is all just new houses on Hickory, the block down from Boyer now. Now everything, even here for the most part, seems structured. “No Trespassing” signs all over. We have to go further and further afield for recreation/fun in the outdoors. All housing developments.

The quality of the life we used to have through the mid-‘90s is fast evaporating. This is a main reason I’m so against the real power behind NICAN, the Realty/Development complex. They want to develop the east bank of Sand Creek into an upscale/exclusive community whose residents, when they are here, would be a customer base for the little high-end, over priced specialty shops that dominate downtown now. These have less and less to do with the lives of those of us that have to live here full time and go to work every day.

What positive aspects of local growth have you've seen? At best, a slightly brighter job market. Other than that, nothing.

What do you miss about old Sandpoint? Different, unique local characters, organizations, etc. Now they’re only a shadow of their former selves. We’re fast becoming little more than greedy developers, fast food joints, and the other victims of Walmartization, McMansions, upscale, gated communities occupied by those who force more and more of the average wage earners out.

What next? Three-million-dollar average home prices? Cops driving BMW’s. Have’s and have more’s.

If you could change anything about this community, what would it be and why? The undue influence of those who only want to benefit themselves. This is why I was thrilled to see that the realtors and the construction company/developer candidates lost their bid for city council seats. Things are served up on a silver platter to them now. What would the rest of us be in for if they actually could vote on issues that directly concerned their vested interests?

What was the topic of your first-ever letter-to-the-editor? The first attempt to pass a local recreation district about 20 odd years ago.

About how many have you written since? Never counted them.

What provokes you to write letters? Frustration at people pushing agendas that benefit their own interests and not the false front they often state that they know is best for everyone. The “Letters to the Editor” column is the only real forum for the average person to rebut these people.

What preparation do you do to write your letters? None, I just sit down and write what I’ve been thinking.

Do you keep copies of all your letters? I’m not a narcissist.

Which of your submissions have tended to be most influential? The pro-Byway ones of course, but I think the ones I did a year and a half ago against the new recreation center in Ponderay. I believe they went a long way in putting a knife in the heart of that campaign. It was defeated 83 percent to 17 percent.

Are you an angry old man? More like common-sense guy. And, definitely not old. How many my age still do 20-30 miles combined trail and road bicycling rides? Bench 225 pounds? Or, curl 100 pounds?

What kinds of behind-the-scenes reactions (both negative and positive) have you received from your letters? Mostly either calls of support, but a few negative ones: the latter, anonymous. They don’t have the courage to tell me who I’m talking to. One tirade then hung up, or rather I hung up on after about 90 seconds with a ‘Have a nice day.’ She was still jabbering when the receiver hit the cradle.

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Author info

Marianne Love Marianne Love is a freelance writer and former English teacher who enjoys telling the stories of her community. She has authored several books, the latest of which is "Lessons With Love."

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