Family at War
Shame on the Harmon family (PEOPLE, Sept. 7). Hasn’t Kris Nelson been through enough hell without the threat of her child being taken away by her own brother? Yes, there are cases when it is in a child’s best interest to live with another family member if a parent is in a crisis, but hearing Kris in interviews, she is clearly trying to rehabilitate herself and she obviously loves her son. Keep fighting, Kris.
Your story on Mark Harmon’s family problems makes one thing perfectly clear—Mark Harmon is a sensitive and devoted man. Although Sam Nelson was not blessed with much of a mother, his uncle sure makes up for it.
Beverly Hills, Calif.
I pity Sam Nelson (or anyone else for that matter) who is subjected to a callous remark from a judge who says, “What this child says doesn’t hold water with me.” With people like this presiding over our judicial system, it’s no wonder the trial became a ring-a-ding courtroom circus.
Kris Nelson should be ashamed of herself for trying to make her sister-in-law Pam Dawber out to be the bad guy. Pam was merely trying to follow the child’s wish to stay with her and Mark. Kris should concentrate her energies on rebuilding her relationship with her son, rather than putting down her new sister-in-law.
Beverly Hills, Calif.
So Pam Dawber may have used cocaine at some time in her life. Exactly what does that have to do with that poor, neglected child? He’s lived with major drug addicts all his life. Who can blame Mark and Pam for withdrawing from the case? The sad part is when something awful happens to Sam, people will say, where was his family?
Thank you, PEOPLE, thank you, Arlo. For the past ten years I have watched my beautiful, spirited and compassionate mother succumb to the effects of Huntington’s disease. Living with this and the knowledge that I have a 50 percent chance of getting Huntington’s is a painful reality. Yet it cannot compare with the possible ominous results that presymptomatic testing could provide for me and my family. Huntington’s is a terrible disease, but never knowing the joys of having children and not living life to its fullest, as Arlo has, would force us to lose control of our life and give in to Huntington’s. For Arlo and me a cure may be somewhere in the future. But our life is here now, and we must live it.
Claire Donaldson Herbert
Monmouth Beach, N.J.
I was disappointed in Arlo Guthrie’s attitude about Huntington’s disease. It’s not something to be taken so lightly. I lost my 32-year-old husband in 1978, and my 13-year-old daughter died in 1983. They both died from complications of Huntington’s. I have a 19-year-old son who lives with the dread of Huntington’s every day. After watching his sister die in such a devastating way, he has vowed never to bring children into the world. I met Marjorie Guthrie a few times before her death. She wasn’t obsessed with Huntington’s disease. She was a very dedicated woman who wanted to put an end to a hideous disease before it killed any more of the people she loved. If it hadn’t been for her, Huntington’s still wouldn’t be recognized. We don’t need Arlo as a poster boy, but we do need him to carry on in his mother’s footsteps to give people encouragement from someone who has been there and really cares.
Cheryl L. Hansen
Sean Young is a beautiful and talented actress, but it diminishes her appeal when she comes off so smug. Someone should slap her.
Yuba City, Calif.
I can think of one more word Sean Young should add to her radiator—humility.
Patricia A. Carlson
When I finished your article on Elizabeth Hartman I was wiping tears away and thinking, “But for the grace of God and medication, there go I.” Like Elizabeth, I too have a mental illness. I was left to suffer needlessly for years because my parents were too ashamed to get me the medical care I needed. I am so grateful that more articles are being published these days on mental illness and depression so that others may lose their misconceptions and fear. Mental illness can affect almost anyone at various times in life, and it is indeed a medical problem, just like cancer and MS.
I was fortunate enough to experience Elizabeth Hartman from the front row when she, Henry Fonda and an all-star cast gave their finest performance in Our Town years ago in Hollywood. Her films devastated me, remained with me for days thereafter. How many times I’d wondered, “Where’s Elizabeth Hartman? Why isn’t she working?” Now I know. We’ve lost yet another excellent actress. And my heart grieves after reading of her many years of pain and suffering.
George R. Becker
Studio City, Calif.