Julia Roberts
I understand why Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt want to keep their romance under wraps. To report on what Julia is eating and then state that no one remembers what Benjamin orders is downright rude. This should be a story about two people in love, not who is the bigger star.
Stacey S. Sheeley, Waynesboro, Pa.

Why does it surprise people that Julia Roberts has had a few love affairs? Most women in their early 30s have a few relationship battle scars. Kudos to Julia for finding a person worthwhile to share her life. It is not an easy task, whether you are in the spotlight or not.
Diane Whittington, Toronto

Why do you guys automatically assume that the whole country needs to know about the fickle Miss Roberts's new conquest?
G. Echevarria, Princeton, N.J.

Do you think it would be possible to keep Julia off the cover until she gets married? She's not saving the world, she's dating. Let her do it in peace!
Randy Sindelar, Cleveland

Chris and Stephanie Spielman
Whoever said "the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy" must have met Chris Spielman. What a great guy!
Linda Flack, Seminole, Fla.

I was shocked when Chris made the announcement that he would not return to the Buffalo Bills for the 1998 season due to his wife's illness. As an avid Bills fan, I knew that the loss of Chris Spiel-man would be a blow to the team. To put aside the game he loves for the family he loves more is a testament to his character.
Liz Woods, Niagara Falls, N.Y.

One doesn't often say this about a woman diagnosed with breast cancer, but what a lucky lady! How wonderful for her that she has such a supportive husband.
Jennifer Hebert, Fremont, Calif.

Very rarely do we hear of such love between two people. What Chris Spielman is doing with his family is an example of complete, selfless love, and I can only dream that one day I will meet someone as special as he.
Missy Warren, Round Rock, Texas

Nothing against Julia and Ben, but the "serious romance" on your cover should have been Chris and Stephanie Spielman.
John Born, West Des Moines, Iowa

John and Gertrude Knight
I was so tickled by the saga of the world-traveling frog lawn ornament that I've been sharing it with everyone I know. The "frognappers" not only cheered the Knights, they have encouraged a sense of whimsical fun in many of us who shared the experience secondhand. Thanks for telling the tale.
Kate McFerran, Crestline, Calif.

Nkem Chukwu
I am so happy for Nkem Chukwu and Iyke Paul Louis Jr. In this day and age it is so easy for people to have several babies aborted. Speaking as the mother of twins, I'm sure the family will have a hard road, but I'll bet when those babies are 20, Nkem and Iyke won't say, "Gee, I wish we had cut back on the number of kids."
Tracy Foster, Little Rock

Multiple births are becoming a game of one-upmanship. I believe that both doctor and parents who create a situation where so many children are born so prematurely that they have a difficult time surviving should be charged with child abuse. And don't fool yourself—while it is my hope that God will help these children, this is a man-made situation. God had little to do with it.
Lisa Caldwell, Buchanan, Mich.

Last year the McCaughey septuplets were flooded with accolades, gifts and magazine covers. This year an African couple has eight children; they receive one page from you and cause nationwide debate and criticism. The Chukwu family has yet to see the public support and media frenzy that the McCaugheys had lovingly bestowed on them. Both are God-fearing families who, knowing the risks involved, took fertility drugs to be blessed with children. Can someone explain the difference?
Nicole Heaston, Houston

Danny Canal
In August 1997, after battling for his life for five days, my 10-year-old son, Ryan, died from a brain aneurysm. His heart was given to a 7-year-old girl, his lungs to an 11-year-old boy. My husband and I did this so others could have a chance to live the way we had wanted Ryan to live. Our son is smiling because he is a hero. I hope this article about Danny will help others see why organ donation is so important.
Kathy Noland, Manteca, Calif.

My 9-year-old daughter's kidneys failed this past summer, and she is scheduled to have a transplant in four weeks. We are fortunate because I am a match and am able to donate a kidney. There are so many children who bravely struggle through each day waiting for an organ donation. The courage of children like Danny Canal should be an inspiration to all of us. Carry a donor's card with you.
Denise Dapice, Old Chatham, N.Y.

Picks & Pans
I have looked forward to the movie Patch Adams ever since I met Patch two years ago at Southern Connecticut State University. Leah Rozen describes Robin Williams's portrayal of the character as "borderline bizarre." Patch is bizarre. That's why he is who he is and why someone felt the need to make a film about him. What do you expect from someone who is not only a doctor but also a professional clown? I left the theater with a bounce in my step, a tear in my eye and restored faith in the human race. No fiction could compare with Robin Williams's performance portraying the most wonderful, exhilarating, compassionate man I've ever met.
Maureen Dempsey, Meriden, Conn.

I have been a nurse for 19 years. I have laughed and cried with many patients. Patch Adams bizarre? Maybe so, but I'd rather have a laughing caregiver than a humorless white coat.
Amy Hill, Trinity, N.C.

I am an oncology nurse who has had the privilege of caring for many critically ill and dying patients and their families. I assure you there is nothing bizarre or disrespectful about humor as an attempt to lessen the stress at this trying time. God bless the real Patch Adams and all health-care workers who walk beside their patients and their families on this most lonely of journeys.
Sally-Ann Milne, Marco Island, Fla.

Your movie reviewer must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. None of the movies had good reviews, but everyone I've talked to who has seen Patch Adams comes away loving the movie. Tell your reviewer to take her happiness pill and try again!
Jill Cooper, Riverdale, Ga.

Michelle Thomas
As a faithful viewer of The Young and the Restless, I was saddened and shocked to hear of the loss of Michelle Thomas. She was a welcome addition to the show and a very bright young star who will be missed. Thank you for the article on her too-short life.
Rachael McKenzie, Sun Prairie, Wis.

Passages
I was surprised and disappointed to see Joan Rivers wearing a fur wrap at her daughter's wedding. Ms. Rivers is so attached to her pet dog that she travels with him, yet she has no compassion for the animals who were slaughtered to make her garment? When will we stop equating cruelty to animals and fashion?
Cherie Travis, Downers Grove, Ill.

Chatter
Famous people revealed their New Year's resolutions in Chatter. Tom Hanks said, "I gotta start taking those Pilates classes." What in the world are Pilates classes? I've asked several people, and no one knows. Anything to do with Pontius Pilate?
Cathy Onstad, Castro Valley, Calif.

Pilates is a series of more than 500 exercises involving the use of spring-based pieces of equipment invented by German-born Joseph Pilates during World War I.—ED.