Bobby Kennedy Jr.
The assassination of Bobby's dad in 1968 was a tremendous loss to the nation and an even more tragic one for his family. Everything I have read about RFK Jr. (PEOPLE, Oct. 3) suggests that he has inherited his father's compassion, intelligence and desire to make the world a better place. I am certain that he also inherited the Kennedy strength and will become the kind of person his father would have respected.
Pam Creighton
Lansing, Mich.

I sure wish I had a "crisis management" team to take care of my kids. God help us if this is what a $400-million fortune produces. I am a struggling farmer, but my kids are something to be proud of and my "crisis management" was a good spanking.
Sam Etchepare
Maxwell, Calif.

Why is it that public figures like Bobby Kennedy Jr. have chemical dependency problems, and everyone else is simply an addict or alcoholic?
Ruth Becker
Huntington Beach, Calif.

I was amazed and shocked by your cover photographs and story. So Robert Kennedy Jr. is a heroin user—big deal. Vanessa Williams made American history, and she got only a passport-sized photo in the upper left-hand corner of the cover. What a patronizing gesture. Please let the Kennedy family rest in peace and give the rest of the world a break.
Ann Marie Gordon
Tacoma, Wash.

Vanessa Williams
Thank you for the lovely article on Vanessa Williams, the new Miss America. Not only is she a lady of outstanding beauty, she is also a kind and gentle person. I think she wears the crown very well.
Andral Jackson
San Francisco

As a student at Syracuse University, I was excited to hear that one of our own had won the Miss America Pageant. But somehow I feel that Vanessa Williams' triumph is not as big a step for blacks as it is being touted. She does not look like a black woman as much as she does a white person's view of the ideal black woman.
Chris Andrews
Syracuse, N.Y.

John Ethan Wayne
I would like to thank you for your article on John Wayne's son, Ethan. It is nice that he wants to make it on his own merits, but he should never mind if people compare his acting to his father's—he should be proud.
Kathy Murphy
Wilmington, Mass.

Cheryl Merser
My beloved husband of 48 years died a few months ago. I miss him constantly, but I have beautiful memories. Reading Cheryl Merser's description of present-day dating practices, so far removed from earlier standards, leaves me sad and concerned. My husband was brilliant, cultured, considerate, passionate, fun, and neither of us ever had any other sex partner. How will these promiscuous young people live with themselves? How can they mature, avoid remorse, develop a commitment or even a semblance of real love?
Dorothy L. Thompson
Brunswick, Maine

I was interested in Cheryl Merser's suggestions about when to introduce the kids to a new lover. I think the lover should be introduced before you jump into bed. Why should the kids wake up and find a stranger in the house? Merser must think children are fools if she believes that they will fall for euphemisms like Aunt or Uncle. They already know who their aunts and uncles are, and furthermore, they should wonder why you would be getting sexually involved with relatives.
Johni George
Detroit

Rick Bowen
Thank you so much for your startling and scary article about Rick Bowen, the man accused of attempting to poison his wife. I am a frightened, confused, battered wife, and your story helped me see that I should stop believing that it will get better and get out now. I hope it helps other women to see that there is a way out besides a hospital bed or a coffin.
Name withheld
St. Petersburg, Fla.

Steve Goodman
Hurray for singer-songwriter Steve Goodman and his positive attitude toward his cancer treatment. Our society associates cancer with dying when, in fact, cancer is a catchall term for more than a hundred different malignancies, some of which are chronic diseases with exacerbations and remissions. As a nurse and an oncology patient for six years, I could identify with Steve. I had meningitis that left me deaf, and with four relapses, I've had chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. It wasn't easy, but I would and might have to do it again; nonetheless, I am also glad to be still "in the game." Aside from the love, prayers and support of my family and friends, the best thing anyone gave me was hope. Steve's article will give that to thousands who read it.
Deborah L. Evans
Columbia, Md.

I just finished reading your story by Steve Goodman. I, too, am a leukemia patient, and I have sat here in my hospital bed for the last month and felt sorry for myself, asking a thousand times, "Why me?" and dreading the loss of my hair. After reading such an encouraging article, I can now ask myself, "Why not me?" and remember that my hair will grow back. I have a wonderful team of doctors and nurses, and my family and boyfriend are unbelievably encouraging. I want to thank Steve Goodman for helping me to see this disease in a new light and for giving me the strength to hang in there.
Michele Simone
New York City