Helen Reddy

Their thoughtless actions make it evident that neither Helen Reddy (PEOPLE, May 16) nor Jeff Wald cares about the happiness of their son, Jordan. My parents were divorced in 1971 when I was 5. I will never forget seeing my mother lying on my parents’ bed, face down, full of tears. Every once in a while I am attacked by a memory of the past. Like Jordan Wald, I did not realize the seriousness of divorce when I was younger. Since the divorce, I have lived with my mother, then with my father, then with my mother again and finally with my father and stepmother. I have seen custody battles and tears. I now see arguments over visitation rights. I cannot hang a picture of my mother in my room because I constantly worry about hurting someone’s feelings. Once all the commotion surrounding the custody case is over, sure, Helen Reddy and Jeff Wald will think all is fine and dandy; only their son will realize that it is never over.

Robert Maitner Jr.

Derry, N.H.

Helen Reddy has long been my favorite entertainer. Your article was nonjudgmental and presented both sides of a very emotional and difficult situation. Thank you for your efforts.

Jim Keaton

Arlington, Va.

Samantha Smith

Samantha Smith is a “courageous and honest girl,” as Yuri Andropov stated in his reply to her letter. If he wants peace and friendship among nations, then he had better do something about it so that this little girl and all the children growing up now don’t have to live in fear of nuclear war.

Brian D. Seltzer

USAF, Berlin

Eileen Ford

If Eileen Ford will be “the first to admit” she has “helped to mold the taste of a nation,” perhaps she should also be among the first to take responsibility for some of the by-products of her taste, like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, caused in part by a nation’s “taste” for idealized beauty.

Mary Lins Shelter


Thanks to people like Eileen Ford, I was convinced by the age of 11 that I was the ugliest thing on two feet, and spent a good part of my teens and early 20s crying over the lovely faces and bodies in Seventeen and Cosmopolitan that set a standard I would never meet. It’s infuriating to know that it is not only men who have created this obsession with flawless beauty.

Susan MacDonnell

Amherst, Mass.

Get with it, Eileen Ford! With the graying of America beginning, advertisers should realize that there’s a lucrative market in “old trouts.” The older woman has money to spend on her home, her family and herself. It’s really sad if we don’t let Mrs. Ford know that we don’t need a young blonde to represent how we feel and how we wish to look. I’m 34 and I’m better than ever.

Janet Obrzut

East Brunswick, N.J.

I find it ironic that Eileen Ford, who “prefers few deviations from her Nordic norm,” cited as an example of a truly great beauty Nefertiti, the exquisite queen of Egypt.

Sherri Ford

Oakland, Calif.

Gee, Eileen, I have freckles. Should I bathe in Clorox or just shoot myself?

Jane Malin

Rye, N.Y.

Jennifer Beals

While Jennifer Beals is definitely terrific in Flashdance, my choice for a hot new talent is Marine Jahan, her double. What a body! What a dancer! I haven’t seen anyone with so much style and sensuality on-screen in a long time.

Kurt Leswing

San Francisco

I don’t care if a double did her footwork. Jennifer Beals can dance at my house anytime.

Brodie Peters

Concord, Calif.

David Gardner

David Gardner certainly deserves praise for his work as chairman of the National Commission on Excellence in Education and for its tough report on the tide of mediocrity that has endangered education in America. It was gratifying to see positive ideas about how to face our troubles. Let’s stop playing dumb.

Dave Bloom

New York City

In your article about America’s failing educational system, our system was compared with Japan’s. This is fine, if you obtain the complete facts—Japanese children have a high suicide rate and often suffer mental depression that is a direct result of their educational system. At what cost are the Japanese ahead?

Rebecca Choate

Bozeman, Mont.

Disco Fever

I am black and I am proud of my culture. Reading your article about Disco Fever, a rap club in the South Bronx, which exploits blacks as worshipers of lip smacking, toe tapping, jamming, rapping and jive talking, made me wonder if the minstrel shows are really history. This story not only stereotypes blacks but encourages the notion that most of us hang out at clubs and have no morals or social values whatsoever. Clubs such as Disco Fever are an unfortunate detour from the real world. They use clever persuasion to lead our youngsters to believe that partying and rapping all night long are a productive way of life. As a sophomore in college, I find that it is more useful to get an education.

Nan D. Haywood

San Antonio

Jamie Farr

Jamie Farr developed Corporal Klinger from a nose joke in a dress to the warm, caring and capable Sergeant Klinger—and still kept us laughing. He gave TV a positive image of an Arab-American and gave our children someone to look up to.

Jill Kobeissi

Pottstown, Pa.

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