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The North County News 'Goof of the Week'

November 7, 2007

The North County News has done it again. Their sloppy reporting this week calls attention to their continuing need for accurate fact checking. In a story detailing the history of the affordable housing project in Croton to be known as Symphony Knolls, reporter Adriane Tillman describes the property as having been owned by “Levenia McClure who lived in the house at 15 Mt. Airy Road into her 80s.”

For the record, Ms. McClure’s name was Levina—not Levenia. A genteel lady who served juice and cookies at parties for her pupils, Levina McClure figures in Home Before Dark, Susan Cheever’s memoir of her father, John Cheever. Both father and daughter took piano lessons from Levina McClure. One of John Cheever’s first stories written in Westchester was titled “The Music Teacher.”

Also for the record, Levina McClure was born October 27, 1911, and died June 1, 2003. This would have made her almost 92 at the time of her death. By our reckoning, it can quite accurately be said that she lived into her 90s.

On November 9, 2007 10:26 AM, PoliAnna said:

Two small comments on this discussion. It is Symphony Knoll, not Symphony Knolls. And the name is a memorial to Levina McClure because it her name for her music school. Engraving her name on the front of the building might produce a rather odd effect, but perhaps someone would like to provide the funds for an explanatory/memorial plaque in the lobby.

On November 7, 2007 2:58 PM, TeaDrinker said:

Piano teacher Levina McClure is also mentioned in Scott Donaldson’s compelling 1988 biography of John Cheever. Like many fiction writers, Cheever drew on personal experiences for his plots. In Cheever’s story mentioned above, the music teacher gives her adult male pupils annoyingly repetitious finger exercises to practice on at home.. This may perhaps explain why in Cheever’s story the music teacher is found strangled.

“Symphony Knolls” doesn’t cut it as a memorial to her. Levina McClure was indeed a genteel lady who deserves to be remembered and perpetuated with her name on the building to be constructed.

Perhaps other readers will share memories of her. As my mother used to say, I “couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.”


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