The Death of a Husband

Miv Schaaf's feature, "Putting a Husband's Death Into Words" (Jan. 9), poignantly described her marriage.

Through personal examples, she highlighted the qualities of a strong marriage. Certainly, it involves listening to each other and enjoying the present rather than having an obsession with the future.

Miv put her husband's death into words that really provided added meaning to marriage and to life.

HUGH C. HYDE Chula Vista 'Malfunctioning Face' I want to thank you for publishing the article by Ann Japenga entitled "Bell's Palsy: A Case of the 'Malfunctioning Face' "(Jan. 8). I too have had this disease and have had an 85% recovery. Having been to many doctors and therapists this past year, I found your article one I could relate to as far as the psychological aspects of the malady.

I have a couple of comments to make in terms of one's own well-being during the time when the face is totally, or even partially, malfunctioning. It is very important as one goes through all the therapy to surround oneself with truly positive people--people to make you laugh and give you a lift. We, the victims, will give ourselves enough self-pity. We don't need this from friends.

The other element is that everyone recovers at a different pace. I found it very discouraging to hear from the health care field that I would be over the paralysis in 10 weeks. In 10 weeks I still could not voluntarily smile, blow out candles, close the left eye--much less pucker lips to kiss!

In spite of it all, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I continue to do facial exercises and I feel nothing is impossible and I will eventually have 100% recovery.

DORIS L. HERRINGTON Glendale Stooping to Conquer Rhonda Bright's "Coin Spotter: She Stoops to Conquer" (Jan. 13), though factual, forgot to mention two byproducts of this fascinating occupation: effortless exercise generated by the physical demands of the "profession" (bending, stooping, squatting) and creativity.

When my luck is awful, when I stoop to conquer and only find an oil spot or broken glass, I begin to sing to the recalcitrant coins. Within seconds after these renditions, the genuine article comes into view. Yes, I do get funny looks, but ours is not exactly an orthodox profession.

Another creative tactic requires some acting ability (Method preferred). When a coin you have triumphantly spotted is too close to someone's feet, just bend down, pretend to adjust something on your shoe, and deftly scoop it up. The person usually apologizes for being in your way.

Rhonda, what have you done? Your article will probably bring competitors by the score into the marketplace. I sure hope they make tracks to your beach city, not mine!

TAM LIPSON Long Beach In Defense of an Author I write to complain about a very well-written review by Carolyn See on Dec. 26. "Gryphon's Eyrie" by Andre (a k a Mary) Norton and A. C. Crispin is the third novel in a series set in an imaginary world and culture that is quite clearly not Earth, and that has been the setting for a dozen or so earlier novels under the general rubric "Witchworld."

Carolyn See doesn't seem to know that, nor that the novels in this series are also written for a juvenile audience. . . . (Norton) has been writing her versions of science fiction and fantasy for about 40 years and much of her work has been kept in print nearly continuously via paperback reprints since 1950 or so.

Yes, the plot is pedestrian and familiar. All plots are. There are no more than 40 possible in our tradition of literature. This book is not very good and certainly not vintage Norton, but I don't think that it was worth two columns of sneers, either. Perhaps the great science-fiction love story is yet to be written for children, but I hate to see Mary Norton denigrated for the wrong reasons. She has done some fine work in the field, writing and ideas that have been copied and imitated by dozens of other writers.

Mary Norton was the first woman to find a large audience for her work in science fiction, but took a male pen name because in the 1940s that was the only way she could possibly sell her stuff. Like Clarke, Asimov and Heinlein, her books are reprinted frequently, but she doesn't play the political game in the publishing world and so is largely forgotten by the people who pretend to make opinion in that area now--except for her agent and publishers.


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