Loving response gives strength to Vietnam vet


Letters, calls and the roar of the crowd:

Anna M. Marasco, Lawrence, Kan.: In your Simon Says column you ask: "Does anybody really know how to cut paper dolls?"

I do, and you can, too. I have enclosed a finished example and a pattern for you. I like to make paper dolls out of newspaper because you can fit more on a strip. Children, young and old, really like these. It's a good trick for baby sitters.

By the way, are Simon Says columns for people with short attention spans?

COMMENT: Huh? What? Sorry, I wasn't paying attention.


David P. Fruchtbaum, Baltimore: Let's be practical and call the new baseball field "Baltimore Stadium," and everyone will be happy including you.

COMMENT: Oh, yeah? Everyone will be happy? You mean all those people in Cumberland and Frederick and Gaithersburg and LaPlata and Potomac and Easton, who helped pay for the new stadium, are going to be happy naming it after Baltimore?

Surrrrrrre they will be.


Robert A. Pearson, Berwick, Pa.: I have been overwhelmed at the response I got from your column about me. [Pearson is a Vietnam vet, unable to find work, who criticized the parades and other events honoring gulf war veterans.] Letters have arrived from Baltimore, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and elsewhere.

What surprised me was that 100 percent of them supported me. One letter was from a multiply disabled man from Baltimore who took the time to cut up a yellow ribbon and enclose it in his six pages of praise for all Vietnam vets.

I've gotten calls from the commander of the DAV [Disabled American Veterans] in a nearby city to tell me he thought like me but his WWII buddies would "pitch him out on his ass" if he let them know how he felt.

Your column ran on the top of the front page in my local paper and, to be honest, I was a little worried about the reaction since the story came out two days before the gulf war parade.

But, surprisingly, no negative calls, comments, or letters were passed on.

One guy called me from Los Angeles on Memorial Day crying, to tell me he had just read his "own story" in that column. A doctor from Utah wants to fly me out for a month to work on his ranch.

A group of ladies from Catonsville Community College wrote a poem and dedicated it to Viet vets.

I can't tell you how much strength I got from this outpouring of love from these people and others.

COMMENT: I'm really surprised you got such a positive response. Americans still have a great deal of difficulty when it comes to thinking about the Vietnam War.

Our feelings are complex and conflicting: Were all those who fought in Vietnam heroes just like we're supposed to believe all those who went to the gulf are now heroes?

But wasn't the Vietnam War bad? And if the war was bad, how can the men who fought in it be heroic? Or maybe the war wasn't bad, maybe we just fought it badly.

But would an American victory have made the war right?

Even though the Vietnam War has been over for years now, it's going to take a lot longer before America is ready to reopen that wound and take an honest look at how we feel about it. Until that time, however, it's nice to know that in your one small case, we're not still beating up each other over it.

Jack Dewell, Ellicott City: Whaddya mean it ain't time for your poetry contest yet? We'll send you this stuff anytime we damn well please!

Schedule, schmedule, Rog.

Haiku knows but one season.

Poetic urge rules.

I search for a thing

which may already be found.

Does anyone know?

Can it be well done --

a haiku of but three words?

In truth, I think so.

Seven syllables --

such words are not prone to grace

I have sought in vain

My muse goads me on --

victim of fettered thinking

bound by common thought

Threats will not deter.

Thor and Moe hold no menace.

My quest must go on.

Others will conjoin.

Such a poem will be writ.

Ah, but will it sing?

One hopes for beauty --

three-word haiku masterpiece.

Perhaps at the shore --

Yes! At the seashore

There's time there to contemplate.

Genius will out.

COMMENT: I am still deciding on the right theme for my next poetry contest. But I think I'll stick to haiku of three lines of five, seven and five syllables.

If you can get a haiku down to three words, I might declare you thelifetime champion (or have you locked up.)

Anyway, the theme I'm contemplating is: "What I would do if I owned the Orioles."


Why spend money? Just

Go back to old Bird on caps.

Couldn't do much worse.


Martin Sadler, Cleveland, Ohio: I am officially applying for your new Cabinet position, Secretary of Progress, and am ready to take office as soon as you make President.

My qualifications are as follows:

* Whenever the phone company sends me info on some superfluous new service, I immediately dump the letter in the trash.

* I do not own an electric pencil sharpener.

* I have never used an Abdomenizer (a few old fashioned sit-ups seem a bit cheaper.)

* I have never bought a portable phone into a bar or other public place.

* In a million years, I promise never to wear a beeper on my personage.

* Owning a microwave oven is out of the question for me.

Additionally, as your Secretary of Progress, I will push for legislation outlawing the sale or usage of sweater shavers.

COMMENT: You're really missing something by not owning a microwave oven. Do you realize that by placing a glass of ice cubes in the microwave, you can make a glass of water in just seconds?

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