Since we live just 4.5 miles from the collapsed I-880 freeway, the earthquake that hit the Bay Area is still very much on our minds and part of our lives (PEOPLE, Oct. 30). Therefore we were amazed to find in our mailbox, just four days later, your magazine with a cover story of the quake. The speed with which you covered the event without sensationalizing or minimizing it in any way was gratifying.
As a fire fighter and emergency medical technician, I hope that I am never faced with the task of cutting apart a human corpse to save a life, as Dr. James Betts had to do. But as a mother, were I the body preventing the salvation of my son, I pray his rescuers would find the courage to do what had to be done in Oakland.
Catherine M. Reese
After spending a truly terrifying night in the midst of Hurricane Hugo's force, I can relate to the people of San Francisco. The majority of our state was devastated. Too bad PEOPLE couldn't relate to us. What about the Heroes of Hugo?
I live in the Santa Cruz mountains only one mile from the epicenter of the quake. Half of the houses on my street have been demolished, as have thousands of homes all over this region. I realize that San Francisco is a more widely recognized area, but I think it would have meant a lot to the people of Los Gatos, Santa Cruz and Watsonville if you had written a story about the heroes of our cities also.
Redwood Estates, Calif.
Eight women from Alameda were in a commuter van on the I-880 highway when the quake hit. Five were killed and three critically injured, and in those moments of horror and desperate need, all eight had their purses stolen. Not only angels of mercy were picking through the rubble. Unfortunately, the scum of humanity showed up too.
Lynn T. Wilton
DR. JOANN BITNER
My gratitude to Dr. JoAnn Bitner and PEOPLE for sharing a compassionate view of "the other woman." I have been on both sides of a love triangle. Even after two years of therapy, I find it difficult to comprehend the magnitude of the hatred and ill will directed toward myself as well as my family. Even more difficult to understand is how easily everyone forgave "the other man." Shame on whom?
Why should anyone involved in an extramarital affair receive support? I find it unsettling that a woman involved in a healthy monogamous relationship is considered dependent, possessive or in need of a family, yet the other woman is considered strong and independent. Religious reasoning aside, an affair hurts everybody and is selfish and unhealthy. Congratulations for the support group, but please don't ask for my support.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Sympathy for the other woman? Dr. Bitner must be joking! My father had extramarital affairs throughout his 37 years of marriage. As a 21-year-old woman, I now suffer great emotional trauma due to an awful childhood knowing of these affairs. How about sympathy for the children of adulterous marriages? These children grow up with the pain that doesn't end when the affair does.
Dr. Bitner claims that when she was the other woman she "wasn't trying to harm anyone and she doesn't believe she did." Bull!! Unless the wife was comatose, she was hurt.
Maria L. Duche
As for helping a woman overcome a traumatic divorce, I only wish Dr. Bitner had explained a bit further how getting involved with a lying cheat of a man can be a "nurturing and healing" experience.
Wendi G. Olson
Battle Ground, Wash.
I thought it took guts for Roseanne Barr to be so open with the public. She wasn't looking for approval; she was just helping us understand a little better what it's like to be Roseanne Barr. I applaud her courage and honesty. Keep it up, Roseanne!