11/24/1980 at 01:00 AM EST
Like millions of others, I grew up listening to the beautifully crafted and insightful songs of Paul Simon (PEOPLE, Nov. 3). It never ceased to amaze me that his songs could reflect my moods so accurately. His lyrics have always mirrored the times, from the idealism and disenchantment of the early '70s to the whimsical cynicism and paranoia of now.
Patricia J. Miller
Atlantic Beach, Fla.
Paul Simon need not feel guilty over the size of his paycheck. Anyone who brings such joy and beauty into the lives of others deserves every penny he or she gets. I only have one question—is there any way I can pay my taxes to him instead of the government?
Redwood City, Calif.
I probably wouldn't have survived those traumatic years in the '60s when I was in high school without Paul Simon's soothing music. Thank you, Paul, for helping me. Although I am 26 now and over all those bad times, I still get quite a tingle out of your songs.
Pat Lee's story about the stress and mental anguish she is experiencing is really hitting home. It's no longer just a news item.
Santa Ana, Calif.
I am compelled to answer Pat Simmons Lee who, in the article about her life as the wife of an American hostage held in Iran, says—in speaking of herself and other wives of the hostages—"We're the only ones who know exactly how the others feel." Mrs. Lee, you are wrong. Ask the wife of any POW from any of our wars.
Oxford American Dictionary
The list of differing American and English expressions takes me back to a business trip I made to England about 18 years ago. During the day my wife looked for early editions of P.G. Wodehouse. One evening she told me enthusiastically about a nice young man who was eager to help. "So," she said, "he promised to 'knock me up' tomorrow and then show me other sources." I was taken aback, but my wife had never heard of the crude American use of "knock up," meaning "make pregnant" (rather than the English equivalent of "to awaken"). Nor apparently has Robert Burchfield.
Burchfield replies: "It's become a traditional joke between America and Britain. Most American travelers are perfectly familiar with the phrase. Now it's the first-time British visitors to the U.S. who are embarrassed when they use 'to knock up' innocently." ED.
An American friend who recently moved to London writes that she had offered guests some homemade peach cobbler for dessert and had been met with shocked looks. Later a sympathetic person took her aside to explain that "cobbler" is a vulgar word for a part of the male anatomy.
Linda Gramatky Smith
Glen Rock, N.J.
Jackie Gleason was a classic comedian in his own time and a wonderful talent. But I feel it was unfair of him to refer to Saturday Night Live as "horrible" just because today's popular humor is so sharply different from his.
Christy L. Hammer
Who does Norman Mailer think he is? Talk about overpopulation! His last two children are not legitimate by his proposed No. 5 and No. 6 "marriages"—they are legitimized. Will his conscience be clearer and his ego bigger after this ceremony?
Ugly Dog Contest
If Elaine Hobbs hopes to work with animals, she could start with her own dog, Snuffy. Help is available from any good veterinarian. Snuffy could be restored to the healthy, full-coated, dancing dog he once was. Even at 11 years old. Wouldn't that be better than capitalizing on his misery...?
I became an avid Good Morning America watcher as I was expecting my baby the same week Joan was. It was a real boost to my morale to watch her every morning during "our" pregnancies, as I got ready to go to work at Global Communications. It was nice to see that there are other businesses as understanding as mine has been. My daughter has come to work with me since she was 1 ½ weeks old.
I would like to see how Joan Lunden would manage without a chauffeured limo, a baby nurse, a willing employer and household help. No accolades from this corner for Joan Lunden, "Working Mother."
Ann Marie Nickl
Joan Lunden should be aware that the most dangerous place for an infant in the event of an automobile accident is in an adult's lap. She should postpone the breast feeding till the limo arrives at the studio. Jamie would be a lot safer in a dynamically tested car seat.
Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
I was one of those who got to talk to Tom Robbins that afternoon in the San Francisco bookstore. When I asked the esteemed author what he was wearing around his neck, he turned the seemingly innocent green corncob to my view and I discovered the harmonica underneath. I asked if that's what he used to amuse himself in large crowds, and he replied no, that was what he used to call the spaceships. I asked him if I got a green corncob for myself would the spaceships come to me as well. Yes, he replied, and then they would take all the people away except for the two of us. Unfortunately, he forgot to tell me where I could get my corncob. I'm still waiting, Tom, and am very much looking forward to having the earth all to ourselves.