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Our Readers Take Their Turn

A sample of letters and comments sent in by Home Forum Fans

Dear [Editor], On the story by Ann Scott Tyson regarding the birth of her son in China [``Beijing Softens at a Baby's Smile,'' April 12]. This was a very moving piece, one of the few human glimpses we have been permitted to see in China since last spring.

Barbara Nimri Aziz, New York

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Dear [Editor]:

The Monitor's ``Poet-in-the-Classroom'' series has ... provided me with an extra little nudge to risk some creative activities with my students.

Our elementary school had a contemporary dance company for a week's residency. The dancers helped the children choreograph poetry and present it in a program for their parents.

I told my 6th-grade students that instead of interpreting someone else's work, we were going to write our own group poem and then interpret it through the use of non-pitched percussion instruments. The decision was made to use environmental topics in celebration of Earth Day. [For the result, see the poem in the column at left.]

Jana Lind, Highland, Wis., Music teacher

Dear David [Mazel],

The first thing I do when I receive my copy of the Monitor is to turn to the Home Forum page hoping to find an article by one David Mazel. That is the point of my letter. I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your articles. You have a talent for making words dance and characters come alive.

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Larry G. Toft, Saginaw, Mich.

Dear [Editor]:

Will you please tell John Gould how much I enjoyed his essay, ``When The Ancient Mariner Was in Style,'' [Jan 12].

I was a teacher of high school English in New York for 37 years, and I included ``The Rime'' in the curriculum. A former student of mine wrote me during [World War II] to report an experience [similar to the one Mr. Gould described].

When he was shot down over the Pacific, he and the other men on his life raft managed to keep their sanity by reciting poems they had memorized in high school. ``My'' young man was able, with the help of his friends, to piece together ``The Rime''!

Evelyn Garrett, E. Stroudsburg, Pa. Dear, dear Mr. Gould:

After all your warm, funny, flawless columns that have given so much pleasure - a main reason I love the Monitor - you've done it. You gave me something to carp about [``The Proverbial Man-Bites-Dog Story,'' March 9].

Only three paragraphs after the Old Editor told you to get his name and spell it right, we get a quote from Alexander Woolcott. Round about 1935, when I thought he was great (I was young) I learned indelibly [how his named was spelled.]

It's delightful to know you're human.

Alice Fritz, Bryn Athyn, Pa.

Editor's Reply:

Dear Miss Fritz,

Thanks for your note to John Gould - alas, he was correct in his original manuscript, and Woollcott had its proper spelling. Somewhere in the editing process we botched the name up - glad you caught it, and hope you don't blame Mr. Gould!

Dear Mr. Gould:

Through your writings in The Christian Science Monitor, I think of you as a cherished friend.

Having just finished reading ``A Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe,'' [May 11] while eating breakfast on Mother's Day, I had to write to thank you for sharing such a delightful memory.

Hope chests, cedar chests, and silver chests are very much a part of my earliest memories. It did not seem a bit unusual back then that our mother suggested I select a silver pattern at 12 years of age. [I] hope you continue making [silver chests] for those fortunate enough to be numbered among the recipients.

Virginia R. Clements, River Ridge, La.


Mrs. Gould has a real ``treasure.''

Regarding: ``The Appearances of Good Reporting,'' March 30, by John Gould:

While I am not familiar with the circumstances surrounding the firing of a woman reporter in Maine for wearing jeans, it seems likely that she lost her job, not because of sexist discrimination, but according to corporate America's decree that clothes determine credibility. No doubt a male reporter in sweats would also have been fired.

Instead of making this point, John Gould indulges in irrelevant nostalgia for the good old days, when he was frequently ``fired'' by his editor to appease angry readers.

Mr. Gould makes an absurd appeal to the ``contradiction'' he sees in an unfeminine, but feminist woman. The two terms, while etymologically linked, are clearly unrelated in meaning: ``Feminism'' refers to the struggle for women's rights, whereas ``femininity'' is an arbitrary social construct which glorifies weakness and frivolity in women.

I don't ask that John Gould be ``fired'' yet again. I only ask that he recognize that his obsolete and patronizing fantasies do not qualify as standards for anyone else's behavior.

Megan F. Coffey, Pennington, N.J.

Dear [Editor]:

In a newspaper distinguished for the vividness and clarity of writing, [Hallett] Stromholt [``Hauling the News to 11,000 feet,'' Feb. 23] stands out with his eerily beautiful recollection of a time and place few of us can know, but all of us can now relish and treasure as if we had stood on that ridge beside him.

John V.H. Dippel, Piermont, N.Y.

Dear friends,

Just a happy note to say ``Three Cheers'' for ``The Serial Approach to Adventure,'' [Jan 30] and the first installment of ``The Last Horse!'' I loved it and look forward with eager anticipation to what happens when the ``dripping and weary'' man and horse arrive at Cardoza's.

Alta B.C. Drake, Whittier, Calif. Dear D[avid] H[olmstrom] -

Wow! What a zinger you spun for us - and beautiful, besides. Do it again, and I promise to read that rascal Gould after you.

You have the feel for the West, I'm sure!

Billie Antipa, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Dear Ms. Giordan:

Thank you for your most enjoyable article in the Monitor [``The Blue Renegade of Birddom,'' March 11].

I also admire the noisy jays - your descriptions are so graphic and it is evident that you know them much better than I do. Mine is just a fleeting acquaintance.

Margaret Purviance, Hillsboro, Mo.

Dear [Diane] Witters,

I commend you and the Monitor for such a perceptive and gracious article about modern Navajo people represented by Aggie, entitled ``Turquoise, Polyester, and Grace,'' Feb. 6.

While I don't recognize Aggie I knew her kind, having lived in Chinle, Ariz., from 1953-72 as pastor of the Presbyterian church. Great changes came to the reservation in the '50s and I helped the people adjust to the changes while holding to valued elements of their tradition. They should have a good future and others should appreciate them as quality people.

Joseph Gray, Duarte, Calif.

Dear [Editor]:

The article, ``Life after Post-Modernism,'' [Jan. 2] was like a breath of fresh air. As a painter I am fed up with egotism and negativism of deconstruction and some of the other critical yardsticks used ad nauseam in so-called intellectual journals. Ms. Marien's article was perceptive and witty. I do so want her to be correct. Up with New Mo. Down with Po Mo!

Charles McVicker, Rocky Hill, N.J.

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