Telling us that E.T. is simply three different kinds of models (PEOPLE, Aug. 23) is like saying that Tinker Bell does not exist, that Santa Claus is a myth or that the Easter Bunny is just an animated cartoon.
New York City
The article on Henry Thomas of E.T. was totally awesome. My friend Erika Eleniak was the girl Henry had to kiss, and she felt just like he did—because she had to kiss a younger boy. Totally embarrassed! Barf me out—gag me with a spoon! Us Valley Girls have to endure a lot. Omigod!
Van Nuys, Calif.
For more about Valley Girls, see page 90 in this issue.—ED.
In January of 1969 I had never heard of Guillain-Barré syndrome. Then, 202 days in the hospital at ridiculous prices. Four months in the intensive care unit, watching death every few minutes, yet unable to die myself. Nothing moved but my eyes and a brain that wouldn't stop, wouldn't give up. I had two advantages Joseph Heller didn't have: a wonderful physician and a wife who wouldn't let me die, staying with me every waking moment. All this happened 14 years ago, but I remember the first fall, the fingers that could not hold a pen, as if it were only a few minutes ago.
John J. McCarthy
Guillain-Barré syndrome is a total shock and a real scare. All of a sudden you can't move. I was a sophomore in college when it hit during Christmas vacation. The first decision I made was to return to school three weeks after the diagnosis, against the advice of my doctors and parents. I had to because I wasn't about to sit around and wait for something to happen. I wanted to appear as normal as possible. There were nights when I literally crawled up to my room, and I spent many agonizing hours in physical therapy. Today I am symptom-free. It's taken me nearly two years to recover, but I learned a lot from this experience. Without the love and help of my family and friends I would not have made it.
Joseph Heller complains that his doctors came by to see him every day while he was in the hospital?!
Glenn R. Stoutt Jr., M.D.
Like Joseph Heller, I too have experienced the helplessness and utter despair of Guillain-Barré syndrome. I was also treated at a teaching hospital where I was put on display, experimented on and examined by more would-be doctors and egotistical shouldn't-be doctors than I care to remember. The medical profession is the biggest rip-off going and is in immediate need of major surgery. I made it back in spite of the medicos and so, too, will you, Mr. Heller.
As a resident at a teaching hospital, I was distressed by Joseph Heller's statement that he will "never go to a teaching hospital" again. Aside from the obvious fact that teaching hospitals are essential for the training of new doctors, I doubt very much that the residents, interns and medical students who visited him every day charged him for their visits. Finally, I doubt that those who saw him had no interest in him except as "a spectacle." Having cared for several patients with Guillain-Barré, I can assure you that this is a very difficult and an emotionally draining task. Over a period of weeks or months, when progress is measured only in inches, a physician may be overwhelmed by his affection for his patient and by a horrible feeling of powerlessness.
David Wlody, M.D.
Picks & Pans
I must take exception to your review of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Charles Durning gives the greatest performance of his acting career. You claim that the film is "filthy." It's true that the film is full of cusswords, but they're the old-fashioned variety that don't start with F. To steal a line from the movie: "They're not obscene, just obsolete."
Yoko Ono's appearance after Elton John sang his tribute song for John Lennon was very touching to me. Despite all the sadness of trying to live through her husband's death, she can still think about the fans and thank us! She is incredible for her strength.
I enjoyed your article about Leslie Nielsen, but why are you shocked to learn that he enjoys playing celebrity golf "even in Moline, III."? Don't knock it till you've tried it. We've got a bowling alley with automatic pin setters in all five lanes, a movie theater with air conditioning and now cable television.
Rock Island, Ill.
For readers on the coasts, Rock Island is down the road from Moline.—ED.
Helen and Scott Nearing
Thanks for the inspiring account of the Nearings' 52-year relationship. It's encouraging in this age of video vanity to read about a couple who found the good life through hard work, dedication and love for each other.
San Rafael, Calif.
In Chatter (PEOPLE, Aug. 30), you identify Alan Alda as being connected with the liquor bottle modeled after a M*A*S*H intravenous feeding bottle. I would like to inform you that Alan Alda is in no way connected with the endorsement of this product and that, to the contrary, he has been opposed to the endorsement.
Harris L. Katleman
Chairman of the Board
20th Century-Fox TV