Thank you for the soul-satisfying article on Rocky Dennis (PEOPLE, March 18), the young man whose life is portrayed in the movie Mask. I salute his mother, Rusty Dennis, whose strength and love enabled her child to live a high quality of life. Rocky's problems in dealing with society because he was "different" make the problems of my son, who has Down's syndrome, seem like a piece of cake!
June S. Hession
Fort Washington, Md.
We attend a class for physically impaired high school students, and we believe Rusty Dennis was right to make sure her son attended public school. People can only know what's inside a person when they look past what's on the outside. Our class doesn't judge people by their looks but by their actions. In this way, Rocky was a beautiful person.
I wonder if Rusty Dennis remembers two little girls, one blond and one brunet, who used to talk to Rocky after school. The blonde was my best friend, and she and I really enjoyed Rocky's company. He was bright, energetic and very funny. I was greatly saddened to read about the death of such a wonderful young man.
Key West, Fla.
I was Rocky's camp counselor. When I first saw him I was mortified and confused about his disability. It was absolutely grotesque. But as days passed I viewed him differently. I realized that he had the same emotions, the same need for acceptance, the same drive to achieve as his peers. What he looked like on the outside disappeared, and the true self was evident. Knowing him and working with him brought great satisfaction to my life.
Ilene Holly Sandick
Venice Beach, Calif.
I find it hard to relate to the criticisms of readers Mike Womeldorf and Gina Marsala. Mike saw our effort to record We Are the World as "just a vehicle to make the stars look charitable." Many of these stars do give substantial portions of their incomes to charitable causes. Lionel Richie and Kenny Rogers, for example, are personally involved in underwriting the administrative overhead of USA for Africa so that every dollar contributed can go to relief work. More important than the money collected, however, is the fact that these stars lent their names to a project that can influence people of this country to give the elimination of hunger the attention it must have. As for Gina's criticism of what the stars ate that night, I would like to emphasize that everything it took to make the record and video, including the catering, was donated. Harry Chapin pointed out to me years ago that there is enough food in the world to feed the world's people. We ourselves should never feel guilty about eating. What we must feel guilty about is the grain and cheese and other products stored by our government to keep prices up while so many go hungry. May I ask that all readers devote their energies to doing something about these problems, including writing letters to their senators and congressmen, urging them to take action to help the hungry.
USA for Africa
Contributions may be sent to USA for Africa, 6240 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1900, Los Angeles, Calif. 90048.
Thank you for running the special section "Where Are They Now?" In 1969 I graduated from high school, and as a female, I was not all that concerned with Vietnam. When I left for college, several of my male friends left for Vietnam. The letters I received from these 18-year-olds were full of fear and anguish. They were children killing children, and they did not even know why. I became active in campus marches and protests, and I tried to understand what was happening. In the years since, I have spent untold hours with friends who needed to talk about what they saw. The pain and guilt are still there. I hope that 20 years from now you are still writing about Vietnam, and that I am still trying to understand.
Robin D. Richardson
It seems like everyone involved in this conflict is insulted over the $500 check that Bantam Books wanted to give barber Gio Hernandez for introducing his client Lee Iacocca to them. There are a lot of people who would love to be insulted by that check; in fact, you're hearing from one now. If it's still floating around, you could always send it along to me.
I read your article about Dr. Wayne Bardin and his new birth control device that requires the implanting of rubber capsules under a woman's skin. It's time the medical profession changed its way of thinking about birth control. Women have suffered so much from unsafe devices and pills and have been used so often as guinea pigs. It takes two people to make a baby. Let doctors implant capsules under a man's skin for a change.
New York City
I must protest an item that you printed about my work in the Oct. 22, 1984 issue. You stated that I have "developed" a "heat treatment." For many years I have been endeavoring to promote the use of pulsed electromagnetic energy for healing. This method works by inducing energy into the tissues without a heat buildup, thus avoiding the contraindications that are associated with heat. I never claimed to have developed this treatment, but I have worked with doctors in this country and the U.S. trying to propagate its beneficial qualities.