To the Editor: When I was a youngster, up the block lived an elderly couple. She was baker of apple pies — the best ever. Her husband was my wordless mentor. When I wanted to build a birdhouse, he handed me the materials. When my bicycle tire went flat, he handed me a wrench. If I was on the right track, he nodded. When I was making a mistake, he raised an eyebrow — always the left one. In the fall of 1952, a button on his overalls read: I LIKE IKE. "Who is Ike?" I asked.