05/09/1983 at 01:00 AM EDT
Your article on David Soul (PEOPLE, April 18) was one of the best I have read in the magazine. It meant a great deal to me because I am a board member of Project Safe, an organization that helps battered women. Thank you for being honest but sensitive, not just to Patti Soul's ordeal but also to David's. I hope their marriage grows stronger and that they use this experience to help others in this situation. It took strength and courage to publicly admit their problem, but it takes even more to stay together and work on the problem instead of ignoring it or hiding it with excuses.
Barbara Kelly, R.N.
We can't have made much progress toward getting society to recognize violent wife abuse as the serious crime it is, if PEOPLE can dedicate a cover to trying to elicit understanding and sympathy for a man who uses a pregnant woman as a punching bag. If Soul were a common street thug and his victim a pregnant stranger, would you characterize him as a "gentle, sincere, sensitive, honorable and loving person—when he isn't drinking"? Is it Soul's fame and talent that make him deserving of compassion, or the fact that the victim of his savagery is his wife?
New York City
I know the fear that Patti Soul has experienced for I, too, was a battered woman. The day I left I had had a knife at my throat and was beaten about the face. I also called the police but little was done. I had allowed myself to be terrorized for five years, trying to save my life-style, until the day when I had to save my life, not my life-style. Today, two and a half years later, I am a respiratory therapist, supporting my children, enjoying life and helping other women in their daily struggles against wife abuse.
Father Peter Jacobs
It's a shame that the Catholic Church is creating problems for Father Jacobs and his restaurant; his generosity and thoughtfulness should be used, instead, as a constructive example of the Christian spirit. I was fortunate in finding him when my husband and I ran into a roadblock arranging our inter-faith marriage. Through the assistance of a local rabbi, we "imported" Father Jacobs, who performed a beautiful combination ceremony but, more important, reaffirmed my husband's faith in his religion, which had been shattered by the behavior of local priests. Everyone, not just the teenagers he seeks to support by his restaurant, profits from meeting this compassionate man.
Susan S. Pettengill
I read your article about Sally Struthers and her work with the Christian Children's Fund, and I am interested in sponsoring a child but do not know how to go about it.
June Lake, Calif.
For information, write to Christian Children's Fund, Inc., P.O. Box 26511, Richmond, Va. 23261.
Doesn't Sally Struthers see the need for help in her own country? She should send checks to her neighbors, then send what's left over to Kenya.
I have been a John Hillerman fan since he appeared in the Ellery Queen show, and he is the reason I watch Magnum, P.I. Several articles have been written about Selleck clones, but I wonder how many people have noticed the Hillerman clones like Edward Mulhare of Knight Rider and Roddy McDowall of Tales of the Gold Monkey?
Donna L. Solomon
Lynn Haven, Fla.
I read the story on Gilda Marx and couldn't help writing. Egos are peculiar things. Here is a woman who has 12 exercise salons and a line of dancewear that brings in $25 million a year, and she complains about not getting enough recognition. Let Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons have the glory. I'd take the cold hard cash.
If Pauline Kael really found Richard Gere's performance in An Officer and a Gentleman "colorless" and "unexciting," then the only taste she has is in her mouth.
Years ago, when I was 19 and an aspiring film critic, I sent my reviews to Pauline Kael whose criticism had deepened my love for movies. In two letters, she encouraged me and suggested ways I could turn my "bright, lively" but "somewhat glib" reviews into prose that was more personal and enduring. The important thing, she said, was that I decide whether I really wanted to be a writer. If the answer was yes, then nothing—not even years of nonrecognition and little or no pay—should stop me. I'm no longer a film critic, but I am still writing and, because of Pauline Kael, I expect more of myself when I sit before my typewriter.
Most people consider Christian music long-drawn-out and boring, but Amy Grant has proven that it isn't true. She doesn't drill Jesus into you either. She just lets you know that He really is around for everybody.
Yes, I ran a joke item in my column in the Boston Phoenix describing Andres Segovia as a punk/New Wave guitarist; and yes, only one person called for an explanation. But why conclude that Phoenix readers don't care about classical music, or read the Phoenix in their sleep? A more plausible explanation is that our readers are bright enough to recognize and enjoy an obvious bit of nonsense. By the way, I'm a green hippopotamus with three heads.