03/14/1983 at 01:00 AM EST
Thank you for the story on Karen Carpenter (PEOPLE, Feb. 21). I listen to music as it comes and goes, but the Carpenters' records will always have a place at the very top of my collection. Karen's voice is sweet and overflowing with energy and real feeling. How could someone who spent her life making us feel so good have been suffering so much of that time?
I have also had anorexia for almost two years and have been in and out of hospitals. I'm still 20 pounds below normal weight. At first I thought I was special, and for once I felt truly good about myself for not eating, for exercising and becoming more perfect every day. Now nothing seems so special; it's only sad and lonely. I understand Karen's suffering to some extent because of my own. I hope she's at peace now.
Readers who need information about anorexia can write to: American Anorexia Nervosa Association, 133 Cedar Lane, Teaneck, N.J. 07666.—ED.
I was appalled by your cover photo of Karen Carpenter. Your article stated that she had lifted her weight from 85 to 108 pounds, but your cover exploited the 85-pound Karen instead of celebrating her 108-pound victory. It is apparently true that anorexia ultimately led to her demise; however, printing that photograph was as unfair to Miss Carpenter as a cover of John Belushi with a needle in his arm would have been to him.
Reading about Karen Carpenter's death, I thought how ironic it must seem to people all over the world who are dying of malnutrition that there are people in America who would actually choose to starve themselves to death.
I was very angry and surprised when I read that anorexia expert Dr. Raymond Vath told PEOPLE "the greatest strain is put on an anorectic's heart when lost weight is regained." Do you realize how much damage you might do to kids who are still fighting the battle against anorexia by suggesting that they may have a heart attack if they put on weight? My daughter has been struggling with anorexia for more than three years, and when she read this statement she came to me in tears. What could I tell her?
Dr. Vath advises patients to regain weight slowly, one or two pounds a week. He recommends a high-protein, moderate-fat, low-carbohydrate diet with little sugar and lots of vegetables. But most important of all, he insists, "We've got to get these kids to stop treating themselves and go to a physician who knows what he's doing." When the starved anorectic begins eating again, food comes as a tremendous shock to the heart and other organs whose functioning has been sharply reduced. Dr. Vath cites studies in the September 1982 American Journal of Psychiatry and November 1982 Western Journal of Medicine about heart failure in anorexia victims.—ED.
May I add an amen to your article on Kevin Ross, the basketball star who has gone back to school to teach himself to read? As an eighth-grade teacher of basic skills (that's fifth grade and below), I work with younger versions of Kevin Ross every day. We need to prepare every one of our students to contribute to society. Very few can become professional athletes. Kevin Ross' story will be required reading—or listening, for those who are not yet able to read all the words—in my classroom.
Robin D. Coleman
Forget Tom Selleck. Give me Jan-Michael Vincent any day. That neck! Those cheekbones! They should be bronzed for a national monument.
Your article on the two women who consult on jury selections only bolstered my lack of faith in our judicial system. Although Cathy Bennett "donates about 25 percent of her time to defendants who cannot pay," 75 percent is still devoted to those who can afford to pay $500 to $1,500 per day to try to sway the verdict in their favor.
Karen E. Lehr
Margaret Covington's remark that nurses don't make good jurors because they "have seen injury and become calloused to it" shows a poor attitude. When the battered child with cigarette burns on his body or the old man who has hypothermia because his landlord shut off the heat or the DOA hit by a drunken driver comes my way, I wish I were calloused. Instead, I think, then act and treat—emoting comes last. Usually it is my family that bears the brunt. There have been nights after days like this when I could not sleep without my husband holding me because I know it happens and I can't stop it. Nurses are a caring, proud group of people who do their work by choice, despite the fact that they are underpaid, overworked and underestimated.
Alice Merenda, R.N.
I was a "New Talent Player" under contract to 20th Century-Fox with Tom Selleck in 1967, and I remember being awestruck not only by his appearance, but also by his pleasant demeanor and gentility. And I remember thinking that he probably wouldn't "make it" in the business because he was too nice a guy. I was wrong, and so is the Enquirer. Tom has made it, he was a nice guy, and still is anything but what they may have labeled him. A total gentleman. I hope he wins his case. I rest mine.
Samuel Chew, Jr.