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updated 03/09/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/09/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

Actress Tracey Gold's struggle with anorexia (PEOPLE, Feb. 17) prompted dozens of correspondents to write of their own eating disorders. AH wished Tracey a complete recovery.

TRACEY GOLD
As a recovering bulimic, I read with great interest your article on Tracey Gold. Like her, I felt that I would only be happy if I was "thin and perfect." It's a real shame that so many young women feel pressured to be a size 6 and cellulite-free, when the average woman will never look like Cindy Crawford or Cher without the help of good lighting or a few nips and tucks. We've got to relax our standards or we'll continue to lose not only our Hollywood celebrities to anorexia and bulimia but all the other lost and scared young women who try to emulate them.
KATHLEEN M. IVIE, Lexington, Ky.

It seems to me that the writers and producers of Growing Pains should share the blame for Tracey Gold's battle with anorexia. Over the years one running gag has been Mike Seaver's tormenting of his sister, Carol, too often centered on supposedly funny jokes about her weight. Surely Miss Gold's fragile self-esteem was known to these people. There must have been numerous chances for someone to say "Stop!" Makes you wonder if the end result was worth a few laughs.
JULIANNA JONASSEY, Dallas

Fortunately for Tracey Gold, she is in the position to receive the medical and psychological attention she needs to battle her anorexia. Thousands of us who endure the ravages of an eating disorder are not so lucky. After a 12-year battle with bulimia, I finally received approval from my insurance company to receive outpatient care. At the end of the treatment, it was the consensus of doctors and therapists that I would require more intensive treatment in the hospital. My insurance will not cover it, and financially I cannot afford it. In the meantime, I see both a psychotherapist and nutritionist weekly—neither covered by insurance. Tracey is right—fighting an eating disorder is hard. But what's even more difficult is fighting against insurance companies who cannot see the severity of our plight. Keep fighting, Tracey!
NAME WITHHELD, Florence, Ky.

It was a pleasure to help with your article on Tracey Gold. Ms. Gold's courageous presentation of her struggle with this cruel and demeaning disease will certainly save many lives and give hope to countless others. Incidentally, my name got bashed—it is Dr. Vash, not Dr. Bash!
PETER D. VASH, M.D., Los Angeles

We apologize for the error.
—ED.

KELLY THE ELEPHANT
In your article "Terror Under the Big Top" you state, "No one knows why she went berserk." Could it have possibly been that that poor elephant Kelly was taken from her homeland, shipped thousands of miles, held prisoner in chains, trained with a hook, then forced to ride insensitive people endlessly around a ring for 10 years?
DAWN HERNANDEZ, Port Washington, N.Y.

INVENTORS
So, at last the perpetrators of the VCR Plus have been unmasked! This danged devil's tool is supposedly designed to make VCR programming a snap. Building an atom bomb in your basement is a snap; getting this fiendish VCR Plus to work reliably is merely a lifetime career. Well might inventors Daniel Kwoh and Henry Yuen exult in their success; I for one Yuen for a return to the status Kwoh ante.
JESSE BIRNBAUM, New York City

PICKS & PANS
I can't tell you how tired I am of hearing about how good the old Saturday Night Live was and how bad the current Saturday Night Live is. There's a new generation of viewers out there who don't consider a drug addict dressed in samurai garb and bass being ground up in a blender funny. How can you possibly criticize the show that brought us Wayne's World, Hans and Franz, Toonces, Massive Headwound Harry, the Church Lady? Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers and Chris Farely are pure comedic genuises. Maybe someday the fans of the old and the new can live together in harmony, but not until the old realize that the Coneheads are dead and forgotten.
DARREN SHANNON, Indianapolis

PUPPY MILLS
Contrary to your article "A Life No Dog Deserves," which featured dog breeder Letha Hamilton (Feb. 10), I did not write that I had "taken up her case with the USDA." Nor did I state, "The agency was backing off on the consent decree." Even the final quotation, "I'm for better government, not bigger government," is incorrect. I always end with "Yours for BETTER—but LESS-GOVERNMENT." I oppose abuse of animals and believe those who place them in intolerable conditions do not deserve to own, let alone be in the business of breeding them. Any implication that I support such abuse is false and misleading.
REP. MEL HANCOCK, Washington, D. C.

Congressman Hancock did in fact refer Letha Hamilton's complaint to the USDA and forwarded its response to her. However, we regret any implication that he supports abuse of animals.
—ED.

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