Alys Drobnick of Santa Monica has a beaver fur coat that needs to be tanned. Her son bought the coat in Alaska, but he has not been able to find somebody down here eager to do the work. Can you help solve Drobnick's upcoming cold-weather problem, or will she feel like tanning someone's hide?
Dixie Chaney of Littlerock would like to find an adjustable hat stretcher for her husband's 100%-cotton hats, which he wears when golfing. Even when she washes them in cold water, they shrink the first time, Chaney claims. Can you help before her husband develops headaches, or will he soon dash cold water on her intentions?
A Laguna Hills reader has a bidet that is attached to the toilet in his bathroom. However, he is unable to find a plumber or someone else to service the bidet. Can you help before our reader plumb runs out of ideas?
Reader-to-Reader Help Line: Here's something that will curl your hair--two readers in search of out-of-stock hair curlers or hair rollers. Margaret at (213) 478-7544 needs old-fashioned aluminum hair curlers with holes and rubber fasteners . And Veronica at (213) 478-5511, Ext. 575, is looking for the yellow hair rollers that you put in boiling water for three to five minutes. Please help, so that our two readers can stop tearing their (or each other's) hair out.
Note: The Reader-to-Reader Help Line is only for one-time items and for products that are no longer available in stores. And you must give us written permission to publish your telephone number, so that other readers may contact you directly.
Lucille Walker of Beverly Hills, who was looking for Toe Peds (Style 2904), no longer has to worry about tiptoeing around the house; we have plenty of sources. The best known seems to be Sav-on Drugs. We heard about the Sav-on connection from Ruth A. Phillips of Los Angeles, Shirley A. Goodman of Culver City, Barbara Conlee of San Juan Capistrano, Virginia Dare Ludwig of Tustin, Sylvia Cohen of Thousand Oaks and Peggy Whitehead of Del Mar. Other sources include Parklane Hosiery in the Northridge Mall (Daria Gan of North Hollywood), J. W. Woolworth (Alice Rishoff of Oceanside), K mart (M. Lyons of Palm Springs) and the Liberty House in Honolulu (C. Akins of Laguna Hills). Carol Colver of Montclair told us that one distributor of the product is Consumer Convenience, P. O. Box 5035, Port Charlotte, Fla. 33949. And to see whether we were on our toes, Cele Schreiber of Goleta and another reader even mailed us some Toe Peds for Walker.
For A. H. Buchman of Los Angeles, who was looking for a telephone with large push-button letters for a partially blind person: We've got the message. (This should also be good news for Virginia Jean Brooks of Los Angeles, who needs a similar instrument for her 88-year-old mother.) Case coordinator Elena Halpert-Schilt of the Center for the Partially Sighted in Santa Monica, (213) 458-3501, tells us that such telephones are available from the special needs/handicap services of the various telephone companies. For AT&T;, the number is (800) 233-1222. For Pacific Telephone, the number is (800) 722-3140.
For M. Holditch of Laguna Hills, who must be a wonderful mother-in-law because she was looking for silk evening socks for her son-in-law, we have a source. V. Wallen of Santa Barbara says Bullock & Jones, 340 Post St., San Francisco, Calif. 94188, telephone (415) 392-0443, sells black over-the-calf silk stockings for $25 a pair. We also heard from a reader who is willing to sell several pairs of men's black or brown silk stockings in size 10 1/2B. If interested, please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
Jewell Allin of Balboa Island, who was looking for mushroom powder, need no longer feel like a toad. M. C. Chapman of Poway writes that Spice Island makes a mushroom powder. Christa Wolpe of Granada Hills says Schilling sells (or used to sell) Imported Powdered Mushrooms. And if all of these sources have taken a powder, Patt Hart of La Quinta, citing Jeff Smith's book, "The Frugal Gourmet," suggests chopping a quarter of a pound of dried mushrooms, grinding them to a flour-like powder in an electric coffee grinder or food blender (not a food processor) and keeping the powder in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator.
Herb Hain cannot answer mail personally but will, space permitting, respond in this column to readers who have--or need--helpful information. Write (do not telephone) to You Can Help!, You section, the Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.