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updated 10/22/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/22/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Readers were nearly unanimous in their admiration for First Lady Barbara Bush (PEOPLE, Oct. 1), though not all shared her faith in son Neil. Actress Mariette Hartley's candid tale of life with alcoholic and suicidal parents touched many readers, especially those who had been through the experience themselves.

BARBARA BUSH
These libbers crack me up. As they denigrate Mrs. Bush for her commitments to family and community service, she somehow eludes the meager role they would allot her. Her candor and grace under fire make her contemporary in the best sense.
Rose Lieske
Phoenix

In moments of reflection, I'm sure many of us wish that Barbara Bush had been our mom, grandma or friend. She proves that first class is indeed a way of life and not a seat on public transportation.
Beverly Bruner
Green Valley, Ariz.

How can our President wish for a kinder and gentler society in one breath and talk of "kicking ass" in another? Your article features Barbara Bush saying "sweetly" that if you argue with her you get thrown over her shoulder. Mother Bush is also proud that sons Marvin and Jeb "nearly resorted to fisticuffs" to defend S&L director Neil's "honor." Yes, we do need a gentler society, but the image and verbiage set down by our First Family will never achieve it.
Merle R. Miller
Huntington Station, N.Y.

I can understand Mrs. Bush wanting to defend her son Neil. She is his mother. She should also understand that the public wants some answers to his apparent conflict of interest. The savings-and-loan fiasco will cost us billions, one billion of which comes from the bank where Neil was a director. Barbara should save her outrage for things that affect our nation instead of her private little domain. We are tired of paying for the greed that makes others rich.
Alan Sindler
Colorado Springs

MARIETTE HARTLEY
All my deepest respect I extend to Mariette Hartley. I too am the adult child of an alcoholic, and in the past year I have begun the rocky yet lifesaving road to recovery. It is reassuring to know that others, especially those in the public eye, have the courage and strength to begin the journey. It is even more of a revelation to hear someone speak out about it so freely.
Amy J. Sharp
Harrison, Mich.

No, not another "sense of doom" book! Isn't it a shame that people like Mariette Hartley, Kitty Dukakis and countless others who have appeared in PEOPLE week after week have to blame someone else for their personal failures? I'm tired of reading about these chemically addicted, therapy-dependent people and their faulted mothers, fathers, grandfathers or whomever else they can dredge up. The majority of us take responsibility for our lives and behavior. There are many people out there who succeed without blaming the past or anyone in it.
Jeannette Krebs
St. Louis

ALTOVISE DAVIS
Give us a break. Please, PEOPLE, no more stories on widows of rich entertainers staring at us with puppy-dog eyes. If Sammy Davis Jr. left millions of dollars in taxes to be paid, just how much did he make in his lifetime? Most widows with debts to pay and children to raise dry their tears, go to work and get on with their lives. Most widows don't have 22-room mansions to sell either.
Terri L. Hanke
Colby, Kans.

MAIL
Responding to your cover story "Mom Goes to War," John L. Wallace said, "Real mothers put the well-being of their children ahead of everything else in the world—even patriotism." Mr. Wallace seems to have missed the point; those "real mothers" are in Saudi Arabia doing just that—making sure there will be a free and safe world for their children to grow up in.
Leslie A. Fred
Burke, Va.

So, Mr. Wallace, it's okay in your book for fathers to go off and play "Mr. Rambo" as long as Mom stays home barefoot and pregnant? My book says it is time for you to get off your chauvinistic, bigoted high horse and try to enlighten yourself to the fact that it's not easy for any parent to have to leave a child, but the values we can instill in the next generation by working and sacrificing for a better world far outweigh adhering to your single-minded mentality. Women (mothers especially) are concerned about what our children will inherit, and our desire to do something about it deserves a little support and respect. Grow up.
Pamela O'Malley
Littleton, Colo.

Yours may be the only publication with enough guts to print letters giving what is surely this country's majority opinion: that women will just have to live up to the responsibilities, military and other, that they have shrieked that they wanted. Congratulations.
David C. Morrow
Corpus Christi, Texas

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