* Cocaine at Work: Writer Courtland Milloy's look at the increasing use of cocaine and other drugs on the job struck more of a chord than even Dale Masi, director of the Department of Health and Human Services' employe counseling program, was prepared for.
"We have," she says, "been inundated with calls. I know the problem is big, but I'm still amazed at the number of people who want to know more."
Among callers requesting HHS assistance in setting up employe drug and alcohol programs: a large hospital chain, several government agencies, a national transportation union, an electrical cooperative, a District manufacturer, an area fire department, an overseas employer, "and a lot of mental-health professionals."
The addiction problem, says Masi, now rarely centers around the "pure alcoholic," but around the use of alcohol and some other drug. "The question is: 'What is the primary drug?' "
Before coming here "on loan to the federal government," Masi set up employe counseling programs for 51 Boston companies. It is a trend she believes will continue. Among those in the vanguard with ongoing alcohol and drug programs: General Motors, Mobil Oil, ITT, The New York Times, HHS and the Department of Defense.
And there was this poignant note from the mother of a 15-year-old in a drug-rehabilitation program: "I was glad to see the article on cocaine use. It's important for readers to be aware, and especially of cocaine, because damage to the personality is so subtle it is hardly noticed at first."
* Family Bed Cont'd: Another emotionally loaded subject. To writer Barbara Mathias' attack on familial bedding down, NBC "general assistant" Mary Ann Sust hammered out a terse reply.
"Our society has substituted Freud for God and has assumed his own sexual preoccupation and fears. The next time you feel lonely and in need of comfort, YOU try hugging a teddy bear."
Meanwhile, Mathias reports thank-yous from the anti-family-bed faction in the mental-health field. "We therapists," said one, "were sure we had a lot of work ahead of us."
* Your Little Corner of the World: Little did we know--when we pasted that headline atop Steve Weinberg's story on researching your neighborhood and dropped in a 77-year-old picture--that we would be zooming in specifically on one person's first corner of the world.
"I almost fell off my chair," says Mary Trant O'Donoghue. Turns out she was born 76 years ago in May above the pictured Trant tavern/restaurant (now site of the Market Inn) at Second and E SW. It was her proprietor father standing in the doorway.
Born in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland. John M. Trant ran three Washington taverns and served the first beer here (5 cents a glass) when Prohibition ended in 1933. "I still have the original mug," says O'Donoghue, now of College Park.