Newsmen used to say, "We don't make much money, but we meet such interesting people."
The money is better these days, and the stories we encounter remain as good as ever. Consider these excerps from recent letters to this column:
With a check for $21 for Children's Hospital: "I come from Pakistan, where we have been on the receiving end of aid from the U.S.A. Although this check is small, it is a token of my personal appreciation of the selfless giving by the American people to the developing countries."
With a check for $12.41: "Here I am again, the lady who picks up money from the street, parking lots and telephone booths. Slim pickings this year. I found only $2.41, not like last year, when I found $20 in December alone."
With a check for $10.36: "I am grateful that my grandson was diagnosed so quickly at Children's Hospital this past summer and is now a happier 5-yearold. When he overheard me telling his mother that I was about to write a check for the hospital, he took 36 cents out of his piggy bank and asked that I send that, too."
With a check for$100. "With special thanks to Dr. Belman, Dr. Fourcroy, Ms. Powell and the entire staff of 4 Yellow for the fine care they gave our son."
With a check for$50. "I give this in memory of my son, who was in Children's Hospital for two months of his three-month life. He died there a year ago today. Everyone at the hospital was very good to us. They continued to listen and explain over and over again, and to support me after he died. Children's is not just an excellent hospital for children; it is good at treating parents well, too."
With a check for$25. "Tomorrow our son enters Children's Hospital for surgery to correct a birth defect. We send this check because we are so glad there is such a place, where skillful doctors and sympathetic care are available."
With $28.48 in cash from Fredericksburg, Va.: "I am enclosing some money I've saved over the year and $26 my grandmother sent me to buy a present for myself. I decided the nicest present I could buy would be some extra time for someone else to love and enjoy being with their grandparents as much as I have with mine. I realize that this isn't much money, but every little bit helps."
With a check for $10 from Florida: "It has been five years since my family and I moved to sunny (?) Florida, but I see you are up to your old tricks and trying to get some bread for Children's Hospital. Well, it just so happens that I won $10 in a writing contest held by the Clearwater Sun. I was trying to figure out whether I should buy myself a pair of shoes, some cosmetics or a couple of six-packs, and I'm really mad at you for taking my money this way, but I hope to send more next year."
With a check for $12.50: "Simpson TV of Arlington fixed my television set for $7.50. Inasmuch as I had expected to pay at least $20, I am sending you the difference for the hospital."
With a check for$25. "Your cause is most noble. I can't stand to even walk through a pediatric ward. My 9-year-old daughter was killed in a car wreck, and that was 22 years ago."
With a check for $83.23: "This year my check to the hospital is $58.23 larger than usual. The difference is the amount I 'earned' on my last day of 'work' for the U.S. Government. I resigned in disgust after steadily being forced to do less and think less."
With a check for$50. "Last year we told you we expected a child in January (after losing our son the year before during open-heart surgery). We had some fears as to the health of this child, especially at the last moment when the OB said the baby's head was small, which meant one of three things: the child was ill, it was a girl, or in an unusual position. We assumed the worst, but she turned out to be a healthy girl with no apparent heart problems. Then, with that behind us, we had to start worrying about you."
With a check for$25. "I am sending this in gratitude for the care my grandson receivedduring the week he was in Intensive Care at Children's Hospital. He was 7 months old, and quite ill. The staff worked around the clock, all the while keeping us informed of his condition with great patience and honesty."
With a check for$25. "You weren't too sure you'd be around to use that old abacus one more time. I wasn't too sure I'd be here, either, because of pulmonary emphysema and respiratory failure. But here we both are!"
With a check for $5. "This is in memory of our 2-year-old, who died in a small town that had no hospital like Children's."