03/16/1981 at 01:00 AM EST
Seeing Ringo Starr smiling on the cover (PEOPLE, Feb. 23) along with his lady, Barbara Bach, and then reading the interview inside generated tender thoughts—like a letter from a close friend.
I sense Ringo's resentment of the media exploitation after John Lennon's death. But we are all mourning the loss of someone we loved and honored, a rare spirit who, in some mystical sense, led us through the passages in our lives. We buy the magazines, the records, and read every detail as part of the grieving we must do before we go on.
I too dislike all the cashing in on John Lennon's death. Still, I find myself buying any magazine with an article about John or the former Beatles. I need to remember the Beatle years. They were among the happiest of my life. I hope Ringo doesn't judge us compulsives too harshly. After all, he wears a Lennon button too!
New Bedford, Mass.
Regarding your article on Key West, maybe Ponce de León should have searched a little farther. If novelist Jim (Hit Me with a Rainbow) Kirkwood is 50, as was stated, there must be a fountain of youth. I went all through high school with him. He was a year ahead of me, and I am now 55!
Natalie B. Neeson
Discipline in the classroom has long been a controversial issue. I'm sure Mr. Maas had no intention of causing Danny Lassiter harm when he ordered 200 push-ups as punishment for being continually late with assignments. A worker who is habitually late meeting deadlines eventually gets fired; teachers don't have that option. We can either fail the student, take disciplinary measures, or ignore the situation. Mr. Maas chose discipline. If Danny had been as conscientious about turning in his work as he was about finishing those push-ups, there would have been no problem in the first place.
Cynthia L. Sauer
The gentleman pictured in your story who is identified as teacher Kurt Maas is not the teacher but the lawyer, Richard H. Zimmermann, who defended Danny Lassiter. You have not only incorrectly assigned Mr. Zimmermann the "bad guy" role but have chosen to mention him only by referring to his fee from the settlement. That will be 200 push-ups, please.
Richard Zimmermann was inadvertently misidentified. Concerning the attorney's efforts in behalf of his son, Bobby Lassiter says, "Richard's a damn good lawyer and deserves our thanks." Now we'll do the push-ups.
Erland van Lidth de Jeude
Your article on my brother Erland, Stir Crazy's big (380 pounds) bad baldy, was excellent. However, it was not Erland singing Down in the Valley in the movie. He has a lovely bass-baritone voice, but because of the actors' strike was not able to loop his voice into the sound track, so a country & Western singer, a tenor, sang the ballad.
Philine van Lidth de Jeude
Although Donna Summer, Natalie Cole and Diana Ross are talented, they will never match the creativity and genius of Aretha. If anyone can reshape the sound of the '80s, it's Franklin.
In my opinion, the Special Project on American Renewal made that issue the best you have ever done.
I would like to take exception to the American Renewal introduction endorsing the draft. You say we must pay for our world power status with more than money. We would pay for the draft with our freedom—by requiring our young men, under threat of prison, to register and by having an unelected, unrepresentative local elite deciding who surrenders time, income, even life, and who doesn't. American Renewal does not include cowed or casual forfeiture of freedom for the government's use and abuse.
Floyd W. Rudmin
I sympathize with Roger Volkman and his painful discoveries about single parenthood. But there are millions of women like myself who work swing and graveyard shifts, even two or three jobs, and are unable to make his $22,000 a year—who come home exhausted, cook a decent meal, listen to the problems of our children, dispense correction and love and still manage to get four hours of sleep before we start again. But a social life? Only in our dreams, Roger, only in our dreams.
I'm writing to praise your Special Project, American Renewal. The section on "Caring" especially touched me. Our family has just started volunteering in a small way, and it's been such a blessing to all of us.
Your article about Henry Winkler's work with mentally and physically handicapped children was inspirational. It not only presented a new dimension of this well-known actor, it has given me a new interest in volunteering to work with the handicapped.
Since your story on voluntarism, we've had calls from all over the country—invitations to speak and queries on how to set up similar programs. With this enterprise I believe Time Inc. is doing the most important public service I've seen the American press undertake. It now needs to snowball.
Governor James B. Hunt