06/25/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT
This child (PEOPLE, June 4) was put through the trauma of divorce by two people who were preoccupied with their own excesses, exposed to anything and everything money could buy, given love and attention at whim; then he was thrown on his own. How could anyone expect Griffin O'Neal to land on his feet? He should get credit for having the fortitude to stay at Habilitat.
Griffin has the same sorts of problems that many teens who do drugs have. I am 18 and see so many kids who feel they just can't cope and think drugs are the only way out. In fact, they are just making their problems worse. Perhaps they will look at Griffin's example and get help or maybe not even do drugs in the first place.
For those who wish help or information, Habilitat, the drug rehabilitation program in Hawaii where Griffin O'Neal is a resident, runs a 24-hour hot line: 800-367-5690.—ED.
After reading your story on Sam Kushnick, the child who died of AIDS contracted from a blood transfusion, I was depressed and angry. It's hard to accept that Sam was given transfusions and his parents were not even told. My little boy is 1 year old, and he too was born with a bacterial infection but didn't need blood transfusions. Nonetheless, his pediatrician told my husband and me every little thing that was being done to our baby and asked permission for each thing. The Kushnicks deserved the same respect
White Plains, N.Y.
It's time to start a nationwide movement to screen blood donations more effectively, even if some have judged it "not cost-effective." At what cost human life?
Pfc. David B. Hodges
Fort Polk, La.
As a pediatrician and one who has been involved in child advocacy issues since 1971 feel compelled to comment on your feature, "Baby It's You." The public needs to see these "beauty pageants for the pint-sized," which you have documented, for what they really are: blatant exploitation of children. These youngsters who are paraded in front of the judges and audience are caricatures of childhood, some adults' idea of what is ideal. They are seen—and treated—as objects and not as individuals with preferences and choices of their own. Sadly, they soon begin to see themselves as objects, valued for external assets, with personal needs that are readily subordinated to those of others.
Susan G. Larson, M.D.
My daughters participate in pageants occasionally, and I direct pageants in five states for Little Miss North America. In my experience Regina is not a typical contestant. My 7-year-old Sarah was 1983 National Little Miss North Dakota, and the title she held was but one dimension of her life. She remained a normal first grader with skinned knees who generally thought boys were "gross." Most of these kids have a ball and do not suffer, as Regina did, from "frozen smiles" and "shaky knees." They gain self-confidence that they will carry with them through their lives. Whether they grow up to be entertainers or schoolteachers, they have had a moment of magic under the spotlight. By being themselves and doing the best they can, they are all "crown princesses!"
Kerri Rankin Polk
One night we won't forget was the night Andy Kaufman played Taxi for us, the comedy team of Michael and Mikul. It was late. Amateur night at the Palomino Club was over. The buses had stopped running, and we had no money for a cab. Since Andy's was the only familiar face in the club, we came up with a half-serious idea for a way home. "Ask Andy." "All right." Ten minutes later we were enjoying the company of Andy and his girlfriend on the Hollywood Freeway. His destination lay in the opposite direction from our homes, but he didn't mind at all. We'll remember not only his brilliance as an entertainer but his brilliance as a caring human being too. Thank you veddy, veddy much, Andy, for the ride of our lives.
Ice Cream Contest
You missed one. The best ice cream in the U.S. can be found at Lovin' Spoonful in Ann Arbor, Mich.
...Happy Joe's Pizza and Ice Cream Parlor in Decorah, Iowa.
...A.J.'s Gourmet Ice Cream & Cookie Factory in Richmond, Va.
New York City
...Ben & Jerry's made in South Burlington, Vt.
West Dover, Vt.
Picks & Pans
Your review of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is all too true. Because of the PG rating we took our sons, ages 5 and 8, to see it on opening night. The younger one was absolutely terrified, the older one not much better. The rating is quite misleading. This is not a movie for children.
Short Hills, N.J.
I and others even more squeamish than myself are wondering what all the hysteria over Indiana Jones is about. Perhaps it's part of a Steven Spielberg backlash. But whatever your critic's reasons for disliking it, he should let parents decide for themselves. That's what PG stands for: parental guidance. And let the rest of us enjoy the film without making us look like bloodthirsty vultures.
Redondo Beach, Calif.