I have little sympathy for Sheika Dena Al-Fassi (PEOPLE, May 2). It is too bad she is strapped for cash and had to pay attorney Marvin Mitchelson with $50,000 in jewels for handling the divorce suit against her prince charming, Saudi Sheik Mohammed Al-Fassi. Meanwhile, some people have to hock their wedding rings just to keep food on the table.
Having immigrated to this country 20 years ago from Cuba, I am unable to understand all the controversy over Linda Wolf's Tell-a-Maid phrasebook. When I first arrived, I could have used a Tell-a-Teacher or a Tell-a-Friend pamphlet, rather than having to look up every word in the dictionary. As to the suggestion by Wolf's critics that employers who hire Hispanics should learn Spanish, I feel it would be more beneficial for domestics to learn the necessary phrases in English.
Sophia Esparza of the Chicana Service Action Center argues that people with Hispanic maids should learn Spanish because "anybody with half a brain would be able to learn repetitive statements." Is this to say that the domestics have less than half a brain and therefore cannot learn simple English statements? Let's face it, there isn't a good argument for coming to this country and demanding that government agencies, schools and employers communicate in a foreign language. With her Tell-a-Maid guide, Linda Wolf has attempted to make the hiring of Hispanic domestics easier for both employer and employee. She has filled a need and turned a profit—the American way of life.
Kendra L. Matson
With so many Americans unemployed and looking for work, I wonder why the estimated 100,000 Hispanic domestics in the Los Angeles area and everyone looking out for their welfare can't just be thankful they have jobs without expecting their employers to cater to them by learning to speak Spanish. Granted, everyone appreciates a little common courtesy, but if I balked every time my employer forgot to say "Please do this for me," I'd soon be replaced by someone who would gladly accept a steady paycheck in place of a few kind words.
San Gabriel, Calif.
I can't tell you how grateful I was to read about basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar coping with his migraines. I have suffered through the agonies of these headaches for 20 years. Still, nobody seems to take me seriously, possibly because I am a woman. My husband says, "Oh, another headache." My employer says, "Your period, huh?" But sometimes it hurts so bad I feel suicidal.
Fort Myers, Fla.
Among the estimated 12 to 15 million Americans like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who suffer from migraines or other types of serious headaches, there are many who must take time off from their work because of severe pain. But significant advances have been made during the past decade in understanding migraines, which can have many triggers, including stress, diet, allergies, low-grade infections and vascular sensitivity. There are now several proven methods and medications for the prevention and treatment of these headaches. In particular, successful results have been achieved recently with biofeedback techniques and propranolol, a drug commonly used for cardiovascular disease.
Seymour Diamond, M.D.
For more information, readers can write to the National Migraine Foundation at 5214 N. Western Avenue, Chicago, Ill. 60625.
My husband, Stephen, was lucky to receive a liver transplant in September 1981, a few weeks after tests showed he had a tumor in the bile duct. The operation was conducted by Pittsburgh surgeon Dr. Thomas Starzl, who was mentioned in your article "The Desperate Hunt for Life." I hope the story encourages more people to think about becoming organ donors. It can help save lives.
Elizabeth Anne Davis
A lack of donors is not the only problem with the organ procurement system. Sometimes the people involved are not able to respond quickly enough. Last October my 2-year-old son, Geoffrey, was hurt in a tragic accident. When I was told there was no hope he would survive, I asked the hospital to make arrangements for an organ donation to another child. We waited five hours for the necessary personnel and equipment to arrive from a different hospital, during which time I stood by my son's bedside praying he could hang on just a little while longer. Finally a man arrived holding a cooler packed with ice, but he was 15 minutes too late. My son's death was a waste. I had hoped someone else would be given a chance to continue living. Knowing some other child was unable to benefit from this tragedy leaves an empty spot in my heart.
What a shame that the showbiz mothers you interviewed about maternity and fame seem to have chosen pregnancy as a diversion from being all caught up with themselves. Would they do it again if they had to give up the luxury of nannies, mother's helpers or live-in baby-sitters?
Actress Blair Brown must come from a different planet if she thinks women can't manage a career and family by themselves without outside assistance. Go back to your Altered States, honey, because it has been done for many years.
Stephanie D. Mallozzi