By People Staff
October 16, 2000 12:00 PM

Olivia Newton-John

While many others have discounted Olivia Newton-John as a “has-been” or an ” ’80s star,” your magazine chooses to show her as the survivor she is. She has overcome breast cancer, the death of her father and godchild from cancer, and a failed business and marriage. Many of us will never experience one of these, let alone all of them. She is the true meaning of success.

Ronnda Simpson, Chicago

You could not have selected a better cover than Olivia Newton-John, especially with the Olympic Games in Australia. Olivia is the ideal symbol of what the Games stand for: courage, determination, tenacity, talent, spirit and grace. Australia, England, America— think we should all claim her!

Lance Maxwell, Coppell, Texas

I’ve always known Olivia Newton-John was a class act and saw it firsthand when, in 1998 in Detroit, she attended the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure presented by the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. She was a surprise guest and was so inspiring to the several hundred breast-cancer survivors who attended, as well as to the other 17,000 participants. She even took the time to speak in private to a young mother who had been recently diagnosed. Is the fact that I named my daughter Olivia a coincidence? I think not.

Valerie Fred, Rockwood, Mich.

In the mid-’80s, I worked for a record producer in Los Angeles who is a good friend of Olivia’s. She would frequently drop by, and I occasionally looked after Chloe for her. Even though I was nobody famous, she always took the time to chat and made me feel like I was important. I met a lot of different celebrities, and no one even came close to being as nice and as sincere as Olivia.

Lois Haesler, Whistler, B.C.

My name is Del Shores, not “Mel” Shores. I am the writer-director of Sordid Lives, the movie Olivia just starred in. My first time in PEOPLE and my name is wrong. I am so much cooler than a “Mel.”

Del Shores, via e-mail

We’ll take your word for it, and we regret the error.

—ED.

I honestly love you for featuring Olivia Newton-John. She’s as beautiful as ever and a great testament for anyone facing life’s challenges.

Gregg McBride, Los Angeles

Bobby Knight

As an Indiana University alumnus who witnessed the famous chair-tossing incident, I am appalled at Coach Knight’s refusal to show remorse for his infantile behavior. I knew many players, and his “lessons” to some of them were unusually harsh (e.g., leaving one at Ohio State for a mistake on the court). Maybe Coach is finally reaping what he sowed.

Nancy Finguerra Baxter, New York City

When a son is entrusted to a university far from home, the parents hope for a good education, role models and mentors. Knight is somebody I would pray never moved in next door, much less have contact with my son. As a retired police officer, I would have had no problem booking him on aggravated assault.

Gerard MacManus, Panacea, Fla.

Bob Knight missed an opportunity to promote his “good manners and respect” policy when he failed to condemn those students who hanged the university president, Dr. Myles Brand, in effigy, and caused enough havoc to create a need for police protection for Dr. Brand and his wife.

Albert LaBarbera, Indianapolis

Most people who are passionate about their jobs will have emotional outbursts, however inappropriate, at some time in their careers. Coach Knight was passionate about coaching IU basketball. He will be remembered as one of the greatest college coaches ever, while Neil Reed and Kent Harvey will be remembered as two little whining children who. probably cost Indiana University a whole lot more than a winning basketball team.

Libby Beaty, Mooresville, Ind.

Shame on the apologists for this thug, who helped create the atmosphere where this petty tyrant could rule.

Oren M. Spiegler, Pittsburgh

Rebecca Corneau

I in no way condone cults. However, in the case of this woman, I do not think it is up to a judge to tell her how to deliver and take care of her child. You don’t see juvenile court judges telling a woman who smokes and drinks during her pregnancy that she must submit to a prenatal exam. I think this is a good example of just how far the American courts have taken their power and just how much they seem to think they can control.

Kristen Mancuso, Buffalo

I agree that Ms. Corneau should be jailed and her unborn child taken from her at birth. When are these child abusers going to get it through their heads that their children’s rights will always supersede their so-called “religious” rights? The only people I feel sympathy for are the innocent children being born to these idiots!

Tonya Magana, Whittier, Calif.

Mailbag

Correspondent George Eischeid wrote of gay couples, “These people do not fit into the natural scheme of the American family.” What exactly is an American family? The reality is that an American family is the single mom and her children, the single dad and his children, the interracial couple and their children, a teen mother and her child, a grandmother raising her child’s children, a lesbian or gay couple and their children. I think Mr. Eischeid is still living back in 1950. This is the year 2000, and the American family is as varied as Americans themselves.

Teresa Arthur, Philadelphia

My American family cannot believe the narrow minds of people like George Eischeid and his wife. These are the same people who encourage hatred, then wonder what the world is coming to when they read of wars, murder and mayhem. My husband and I are the proud parents of three adult children, including our son who is gay and has a life partner. They are both hardworking, honest men who fill our lives with laughter, love and joy along with the rest of our gang. Who are the Eischeids to decide what the parameters are for “the natural scheme of the American family”?

R. H. Roberts, Rancho Mirage, Calif.

I am so tired of people like Swaran Singh claiming abstinence is the answer to all issues sexual. Although I respect anyone who chooses this path, the fact is that these people are not in the majority. Knowing this, do we arm ourselves with every resource possible to protect ourselves, or do we sit back, do nothing and then, when something happens—like an unwanted pregnancy—just say, “Oh well, my fault, I shouldn’t have been having sex anyway”? Getting behind the fight to make insurance companies cover the cost of birth control pills will help reduce the need for abortions, and I think that sounds good, no matter what side of the picket line you’re standing on!

Jody Lynn Osceola, Hollywood, Fla.

Swaran Singh writes that state insurance should not cover birth control pills because people will expect abortion to be covered. Welcome to the modern world. As a billing specialist for an HMO, I can assure you that abortions are already covered under most insurance plans. A woman has every right to choose when she will have a child or not, and her insurance company should provide for that. Instead, it’s there to pay for the “mess” that an unwanted pregnancy creates.

Susan E. Kurek, Buffalo

Excuse me, Ms. Singh, but you-make it sound like the only people who use birth control are people who have casual sex. Married people use it too. I think it is only fair for birth control to be covered by insurance. The money I save goes to the care of the daughter my husband and I did not have until we felt we were ready. Why shouldn’t responsible people expect the insurance industry to help pay for responsible decisions? They pay for irresponsible people all the time.

Karen Staffiera, Amelia, Ohio

If you were a 30-year-old, happily married woman with two or three children and felt your family was complete, would you simply tell your husband, “Sorry, honey, no more sex until I hit menopause”?

Ann Lewis, Bayonne, N.J.

Dr. Thomas Holbrook

Bravo! Maybe now, since eating disorders have infiltrated the male population, there will finally be better understanding and treatment of these disorders. It’s a shame that so many women have lost their lives because there is still the mind-set that we are only concerned with our appearance, when the truth is that eating disorders have little to do with appearance and everything to do with self-esteem.

Daria Nese, via e-mail

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