Thanks for a great story on Dan Rather, who is head and shoulders above all TV newsmen and newswomen (PEOPLE, Sept. 5). But you did not explain why he wears his wedding band on his middle finger!
The ring was slightly too large at the time of his marriage 21 years ago. Says Rather: "I put it on my middle finger until my ring finger could grow into it. That hasn't happened yet."—ED.
Martha Smilgis credits much of Mr. Rather's success to his good looks. Granted, Mr. Rather is an attractive gentleman, but it seems to me that his effectiveness is due to his own immense believability.
Martha Jane Johnson
When you praise "his solid work those next sleepless days" in Dallas, I hope you're referring to Dan Rather's schedule and not his performance because he made a glaring error during his coverage of President Kennedy's assassination. After viewing the Zapruder film of the murder, Rather described on national television the President's head being driven "violently forward" by the final bullet(s), when in fact the film reveals the opposite. Rather's version, however, was indelibly etched on the minds of millions who later accepted the Warren Report because it fit the initial impression he supplied. Other than that, he's done okay.
Assassination buffs for years have brought up this point. Rather calls it "a major omission but certainly not deliberate."—ED.
Dan Rather may have missed Korean combat as a Marine, but he more than made up for it in Vietnam. As a combat commander I had occasion to personally witness his fearlessness under fire on several operations. With Dan, the story always came first. His fairness and honesty were fabled among the troops. If CBS is looking for a believable anchorman to follow Mr. Cronkite, then they should look no farther than Mr. Rather.
Rocky Mount, N.C.
I'll bet Elvis would be amazed to know how many "close personal friends" are standing in line to tell his deep dark secrets. I've read so many statements exposing them just for the sake of sensationalism. Then along comes Linda Thompson like a breath of fresh air, and the only one to offer a compassionate and completely believable account. You can tell she really loved the man, really knew him and, best of all, understood him.
From the time I met Elvis Presley in 1968 until I dated him in 1975, he really had changed. In 1968 he was happy-go-lucky and full of life. In 1975 he talked about depression. He said, "I've been so far down I've felt I could look up at mud puddles." He gave us many years of entertainment and became a prisoner of his own fame and fortune. Can't we now be thankful for the gifts he shared with us and stop telling tales that don't need to be told?
Barry & Suzi Kaufman
As a parent of autistic twin boys aged 3½, I am offended by the Kaufmans' implication that their process of acceptance, or showering an autistic child with love and affection, would be effective for all, or a majority of, autistic children. My children have been in an intensive behavior modification program for two years. Love is an essential ingredient, but discipline is necessary too. I do not understand Kaufman's philosophy—"To love is to be happy with." Has he ever seen a child bang his head repeatedly or chew his fingers to the bone? I can only feel, through my personal experience, that to love is not to settle for.
Van Nuys, Calif.
Joyce Rebeta-Burditt, with the help of PEOPLE, joins the ever-increasing number of AAs gone public. The 11th tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous states: "We need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films." Mrs. Rebeta-Burditt compromises this tradition for her own personal gain—publicity for herself and her book. Both she and PEOPLE do a disservice to the thousands of truly anonymous alcoholics in this country. In compliance with this tradition, I will sign this only
A Recovering Drunk
I know what alcoholism is like because I've been there. My own years of drinking and pill-popping were a desperate attempt on my part to be what I thought everyone else expected me to be. In the end I hated myself and didn't really care what others thought either. Today I like and am comfortable with me and consequently with others. Through AA I too have learned how to deal with my problems and anxieties one day at a time.
Anita M. Miller
I was in San Francisco a few weeks back applying for a job at a showroom and gallery when a Western Onion messenger came in and sang "Happy birthday" to one of the secretaries. It certainly livened up the office atmosphere and made me feel good as I answered all the questions on the employment application. Unfortunately, I didn't get the job. Does Western Onion sing consolation messages?
In Southern California you can also call Live Wires for singing telegrams in Hollywood, Costa Mesa and San Diego.
You're a little late! We've been creating them at Music Box, Inc. in New York for three years.
Lady Harlech is properly described as my daughter, but her mother is not "a Vogue editor." Her mother, throughout our marriage and before, has been an interior designer and the head of her own firm, Talmey, Inc.
Ralph F. Colin
New York City