03/06/1989 at 01:00 AM EST
Hedda Nussbaum was obviously a very sick person who tolerated much physical and mental abuse (PEOPLE, Feb. 13). "Tolerated," however, is the key word, since she was not held prisoner. I do not see her private hell as an excuse for not getting her children out of that environment. Had she taken them to the police or a children's agency, she most likely would have endured another beating, but Lisa might still be alive.
Marilyn N. Holbrook
Before your article on Hedda Nussbaum, I had almost no compassion for her and considered her equally responsible for Lisa's death. It was easy to believe her a monster because of her appearance, until I saw the photos of the beautiful woman that Hedda had been before Joel Steinberg virtually destroyed her. I have reached the sad conclusion that a woman who could allow herself to be so physically and mentally demolished was in no condition to save anyone, Lisa or herself.
I question your judgment in portraying Hedda Nussbaum as a victim. Hedda is a grown, educated, responsible adult. She had decisions to make in regard to her life with Joel Steinberg and the lives of her children. How can we condone her actions? She was an accomplice to the murder of an innocent child. She is not a champion for the cause of battered wives and lovers. She is a criminal.
Beverly Z. Craul
There will be many, many people who will not understand Hedda's view of herself and her relationship with Joel Steinberg. I do because I lived it. Hedda said, "I didn't see myself as being battered. To me, these were isolated incidents. I always thought each one was the last." Truer words have never been spoken. My husband has been dead more than nine years. I have spent the past 10 months undergoing intense therapy, and after years of denying and minimizing, I have only recently begun to realize the full impact of what the bastard really was and what he did to me physically and emotionally. He was only 27 years old when he died the excruciatingly painful death he deserved. I will always believe God took him out of my life before he killed me. I deeply regret the same fate didn't befall Steinberg before it was too late for Lisa.
Isn't it nice that Hedda has an opportunity to have dinner with her friends? We even saw pictures of her kissing her parents. Too bad Lisa didn't know hugs instead of cruel blows from her "parents." Too bad Hedda and Joel weren't equally punished for the senseless torture of an innocent child.
Carolyn G. Knox
We have discussed the Joel Steinberg case many times in our fourth-grade class. One sad fact is that Hedda Nussbaum did not believe in herself, which led to her abuse, even though she was a talented writer. Last year we learned that we have only one body, that we are responsible for taking care of it, and that no one has the right to abuse it. We wish Hedda Nussbaum well, and hope Random House will give her another chance. We have her two science books in our library and found them full of important facts.
Grade Four, Jefferson School
You really got me this time. The story about Paul Daniluk finding his mother and his family finding their grandmother was so beautiful. Maybe because I live with my loving grandmother, I couldn't bear thinking how different my life would have been without her.
It has been said that real-life stories are better than fiction. The story of Mrs. Daniluk was the most tragic yet beautiful story I have ever read. I only hope that my belief in the hereafter is right and that Mrs. Daniluk will be able to remember her reunion with her son through eternity.
Reading your recap of Michael Jackson's final performance, I felt sad and empty to think that I'd never have the opportunity to feel his electricity in person again. I'm sad my 3-year-old son will never have the chance either. At least I know that every time I hear his songs I can close my eyes and remember the magic of those special nights. Thank you, Michael.
I saw Michael Jackson in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. I waited in line (twice) all night for tickets; won tickets; and, yes, even bought the hated scalped ticket. I hope Michael gives me the chance to do it all again.