'Wretched' is in the eye of the beholder [Letter]

"A wretched single room"? So you quote author Carlo D'Este in your article "For Eisenhower, hard times at Camp Meade," in your edition of Feb. 23. No doubt Mr. D'Este got that description from someone else, but still, O the humanity!

Come to think of it, that room in that boardinghouse was nothing special when we moved in in 1990. If there had been no care given to it for the preceding 71 years, well, I suppose it could have been very wretched indeed back then.

So I take the liberty of submitting a photo that captures some of what it looks like now, where and as I write these words. This room was bigger in 1919, since a modern bathroom has been carved out of it.

Your article and possibly Mr. D'Este's book suffer from the omission of something else Ike did that summer. He and another Army officer went along on a 62-day expedition to test the driveability of the roads from here to Sacramento, and for those roads "wretched" is far too weak a word. No doubt that experience, combined with what General Eisenhower likely saw of the Autobahn in Germany during the war, was the inspiration for the interstate highway system that now bears his name.

Elden Carnahan


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