Many readers who were upset that Jim Henson did not appear on our cover the week he died were delighted by our June 18 cover. As one correspondent wrote, “You redeemed yourselves magnificently by providing my daughter, and all children, with a loving memoir of a man whose genius touched child and adult the world over.”
When Jim Henson died, I felt we had lost a member of our own family. Because of his vision and talent, my 3-year-old is learning his colors and numbers and what it means to cooperate. I often find myself sitting with him and learning too. Mr. Henson was a shining star in the often too violent world of children’s entertainment.
Like so many others, my daughter was profoundly shaken at the death of Jim Henson. So much so, she completely rewrote her high school graduation commencement address, charging her fellow classmates to adopt the Henson philosophy of man’s humanity to man.
I would like to thank PEOPLE for dedicating a cover to Jim Henson. I would also like to extend my deepest sympathy to the Henson family and give them one final thought. Although Jim’s death was a tragedy, he did accomplish his goal—he left this world a lot better than when he arrived.
David J. Hamburg
On April 8, 1989, my husband passed away of pneumococcal sepsis or, as I was told, blood poisoning caused by complications of an infection and pneumonia. Since then I have tried to search for information on his death, which was very sudden. I wanted to be able to explain to my son, who is now 4 years old, what happened to his father. There were many similarities between his death and Jim Henson’s. My husband thought he had the flu and would be fine. When the doctors anesthetized him to put him on the ventilator, it would be his last conscious moment. He died just shy of 32 hours later. I can’t begin to tell you the feelings that rushed through me when Jim Henson passed away. My only hope is that people will learn that this illness can be very serious and that they will not always “get better in time.” Jim Henson and my husband both felt this way, and they didn’t get that time.
Carol A. Humes
Only a “butthead” would refer to Tom Wilson’s childhood interests in art, debate and the school band as the “full-scale geek route.” Promoting such a stereotype is an insult to the many talented students participating in these activities. More power to Tom and his tuba!
Your article on deaf journalist Henry Kisor’s accomplishments was both inspiring and misleading. Kisor’s professional success despite his handicap may be attributed to a number of factors—early speech acquisition before the onset of deafness, high intelligence, a natural lipreading ability, plus extremely “aggressive” parenting. Since the majority of deaf children do not have most of these advantages, there is a real need for support given by special education programs and facilities. Your article completely ignores the complexity of the entire sign language debate and gives one the impression that stubbornness and a sense of humor conquer all.
John Loengard’s photo of Henry Kisor and a pig brought joy to my friends and me. It’s a picture that people hugged! Thanks, Kisor. Thanks, Loengard. Thanks, pig.
New York City
DR. MICHAEL R. HARRISON
Your article on Dr. Michael Harrison’s new surgical technique to repair a fetus’s diaphragm was amazing. The fact that an unborn child can be partially withdrawn from its mother’s womb for surgery is miraculous. However, there is an irony to this story. While it is certainly fortunate that many lives will now be saved, it is tragic that thousands of unborn babies are put to death every day through abortion.
Dr. Harrison’s inspirational work not only makes medical history but is also a slap in the face of the so-called doctors who perform abortions as well as each and every pro-abortionist. As seen in his drawing of the surgical procedures, he is not pulling out of the womb a mere “clump of tissue” to be repaired, but a tiny human being whose heart has now been beating for weeks.
“Saving lives not yet begun” has a dark side. This trend toward treating pregnant women as mere containers for the real patient was the last straw in my decision to be sterilized last January. I really think that women can be fertile or free, but the two shall never meet. I shudder at the thought of birthing a daughter into such a paradox.