In a Style update Thursday on the Harmonic Convergence, Rita McInnes, a minister of the Science of Mind Center, was misquoted. She did not say Washington was "sick"; she said Washington was "thick." (Published 1/5/88)

Gary Hart said, "Follow me around." Everyone knows what happened to him.

Peter Holm said Joan Collins should pay him 80 grand a month. No one cares what happened to him.

Doug Williams said he wanted to play. For now, at least, we know he's got his wish.

But whatever happened to Michelle Valentine, who adopted a baby with AIDS? To Hollywood wannabee Catherine Hearne? To Stephen Baccus, the World's Youngest Lawyer? To Kea Tawana, the Ark Lady of Newark, N.J.? To the Melrose Diner, scheduled to relocate on the Mall, or to the sales figures for the hugely hyped 50-year-old Spam?

Herewith, some updates on selected Style subjects from 1987:

Christina's World

A few weeks ago, when her foster daughter Christina could not smile, breathe normally or fight a life-threatening fever, Michelle Valentine wept and opened a phone book.

She called D.C. foster care services, spoke calmly to officials, then hung up smiling. "I knew I should try to get another abandoned baby with AIDS," she says now. "When I thought I was losing Christina so soon, I realized I should do this again."

In February, the 26-year-old Valentine became the foster mother of an infant no one else wanted. Christina -- the name she uses to protect the child -- was born three months prematurely and was abandoned one day later. The baby was brain-damaged and addicted to drugs and tested positively for a virus that, a few months later, doctors identified conclusively as AIDS.

Christina weighs 12 pounds. She cannot walk or crawl. It is unlikely she will live past her third birthday.

"But we had her first birthday party a few weeks ago," Valentine says. "It was great. About 40 people came, and some of them were people who had called or written me after they read about us in the newspaper ... All the support has been overwhelming."

Valentine says she received letters from as far away as Australia after the story appeared last summer. A law firm offered her free legal services. A Hollywood production company expressed interest in making a movie. A congressional subcommittee asked her to testify at a hearing. Friends' and coworkers' fears of contracting the disease have diminished, she says, and she is trying -- in what she calls "the countdown" -- to gain full custody of the infant.

Each week, though, still brings frustration and tears. Christina suffered a seizure in November and stopped breathing. A baby sitter had to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Minor seizures have continued, though she regained strength this week.

Valentine says she has not spoken to her brother since February, when he asked that she and Christina not visit his home. And her father, who lives in California, asked her to cancel a Thanksgiving visit. "He turned on us, but at least he sent a Christmas card. He cares, but, like a lot of people, wants to be kept at arm's distance.

"I know so many disappointments lie ahead, but I just try to think about now," Valentine says. "Christina's getting a lot of more personality, and a lot more spoiled. It was like, what didn't she get for Christmas? You should see all the stuff. We've had a great time. I mean, she's even been to a Redskins game ..."

Rene Sanchez

Home Free

Carl Fogel is no longer a prisoner in his own home.

In April 1986, the 59-year-old attorney pleaded guilty to a single count of receiving stolen property in connection with a Florida Avenue fencing operation. Under an innovative sentencing program designed to reduce prison overcrowding, he was sentenced to spend a year in his Potomac home.

"Every once in a while I look at the wallpaper and say, there's 10 petals in that flower over there, but that one over there only has nine. Which is the nine, which is the 10? You start getting bonkers after a while," he said during a July interview.

On Sept. 2 his time was up. "At 12 o'clock that night I met with some friends and we went roaring out of the driveway to an all-night pancake house, Pancake Cottage in Rockville," he says. "It wasn't the feast we contemplated, but at 12 o'clock in the middle of the week, it was the best we could do."

Fogel is working as a personal injury claims negotiator and hoping to be readmitted to the Maryland bar. He received a $4,300 refund from the federal government because he was overfined, and his case was alluded to twice in Senate Judiciary Committee hearings by Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, who ruled in Fogel's favor in a complicated double jeopardy case.

"It's over," Fogel says. "I'm letting bygones be bygones." He spends his time "getting caught up on stuff I couldn't do when I was denied mobility." A circulation problem in his left leg has cleared up now that he's on his feet more often.

Fogel, who weighs 350 pounds, was once a regular at Mel Krupin's and Duke Zeibert's, but says he hasn't been back to either restaurant.

"My wife Carol is on a diet and I'm on sort of a halfway diet," he says. "We've had nice clothes made. When we start going back there we'll go back looking like people, not like caricatures."

He wholeheartedly supports the home incarceration program, but says it takes people like his wife and his parole officer, Aaron J. Lucas, to make it work.

"I was lucky I had Carol," he says. "A lot of people are going to break up or not be able to hack it. I was blessed because this guy Lucas is a gem. My wife baked a cheesecake and brought it down."

Jim Naughton

Band on the Run

Violent Speed Death is no more.

Dave Benser's head-banging, metal-thrashing rock band VSD broke up this summer, the victim of the end of childhood. The boys in the band have gone their separate ways -- on to college, to military service, to the dreary reality of being a grown-up. Benser, who sang lead on "Metal Breakdown," "My Life Ain't Worth Living," "Lubrication" and the crowd-pleaser "Life of Scum," isn't doing much moshing and thrashing these days. He's laying tile and "just jamming," his mother says.

Though many parents would be relieved at this seemingly inevitable turn of events, Benser's mom is not crowing. She always did believe in dreams. "It's kind of sad because David had this dream that they would go on to fame and fortune, but the rest of them didn't have the drive he did," Evelyn Benser says. "His senior year, he stopped pursuing the bookings as avidly, so he could finish things up at school. He was on the honor roll when he graduated. His English teacher said he was the best writer in the high school."

Last spring, as graduation loomed on the horizon, Benser was hoping for a future in the pantheon of metal immortals and conceding that college was a more likely alternative, but not right away.

Ten months later, "Shane {the lead guitarist} is at Essex Community College," Evelyn Benser reports. "Ed {the drummer} moved to Ocean City this past summer and got a job with a group. They always called him 'Weird Ed.' This is certainly weird. Most people go to Ocean City and come home after the summer. Ed is staying for the winter. Jack {the bass player} is going to Harford Community College in Bel Air and also joined the Navy. He called us up one day and said he had done it. He's not leaving until August, so he'll finish out the year.

"Bunky {the second guitarist} is working full time, driving heavy equipment for a construction company. He's hurt. He had an accident at work, trying to set a fire for work. His face was burned, and both hands burned. When David saw him Christmas Eve, his right hand was still completely bandaged ... He's not playing guitar, of course."

Benser still lives at home with his parents in Joppatowne, Md., in a room that is a shrine to metal energy.

"I don't think David's given up completely," his mother says. "For a while David and Jack worked at trying to get another group together, but it hasn't panned out. David's working full time for a tile-laying company. He wasn't ready to pursue college. He really is a nice child. He's been getting home around 6 p.m. He's working at a veteran's hospital in an empty room."

She isn't worried about David's future. She knows her son. Sooner or later, he always ends up doing the right thing. "He told me this morning he's going to get his hair cut after New Year's," she says. "Just the bangs."

Jane Leavy

The Master of Disaster

When we last checked in with Washington attorney John P. Coale, he was just back from Puerto Rico (San Juan's Dupont Plaza fire), gearing up for the Amtrak train crash litigation, looking into that British ferry that capsized off the coast of Belgium and worrying about his girth.

"I'm fatter," he said the other day, by way of an update.

The roly-poly lawyer's intercontinental ambulance chasing earned him the moniker "Bhopal Coale" in 1984, when he flew to the site of the Indian poison gas leak to round up clients within hours of the disaster.

A self-proclaimed cowboy and troublemaker, contender for the title of "Sleaziest Lawyer in America," Coale was vilified in the press for his maverick ways and unabashed self-promotion. A book and mini-series on his exploits are still in the works, he says. Coale, 42, once quipped that big-time disaster lawyers were like "a professional tennis circuit," which led the president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association to call him, among several less flattering things, "a vulture."

Yes, Coale says, 1987 has been a very good year.

"There have been an incredible amount of plane crashes," he notes. "There have been a lot of overseas disasters."

He is currently representing several families of passengers who died in the Northwest Airlines crash in Detroit, as well as the Continental plane that flipped over on the runway in Denver last month.

And what about the Philippine ferry that just went down?

"I looked into that," Coale says, "but there wasn't any American connection."

This month, Coale took on a more socially respectable role with litigation involving Ritalin, a powerful drug used to treat so-called hyperactive children. Coale says he has already brought two lawsuits against doctors who prescribed the drug for children and also has filed a $125 million class action suit against the American Psychiatric Association alleging that it approves the drug for "normal childhood behavior." Litigation over Ritalin, he believes, could become "another Dalkon shield."

And he's involved in cases over the District's "Peeping Tom Murders." "We're gonna sue the psychiatrist and the parole board," he says excitedly. "That's gonna be a wild one."

It was also a banner year in the romance department, Coale reports. He married his on-again, off-again sweetheart Greta Van Susteren, another Washington attorney.

He chuckles. It could be another disaster. Who knows?

Stephanie Mansfield

Stephanie Goes Home -- Again

In July 1977, when Stephanie Michno was 3 years old, she was abducted by her father, who raised her in New Mexico and told her that her mother was dead, burned up in a fire.

Ten years later, after a neighbor recognized Stephanie from a picture on a direct-mail advertisement, she was reunited with her mother in North Carolina. For six months, they struggled to invent a relationship. Twice, Stephanie tried to run away. The first time, the plot was foiled and a woman who was attempting to help return Stephanie to her father was arrested on charges of conspiring to kidnap (the charges were later dropped). The second time, Stephanie's mother, Sue Fowler, found airplane tickets in her daughter's bedroom.

On Aug. 26, Fowler voluntarily put her daughter on a plane back to New Mexico. "I told her when I found out she was going to run away I had made a decision to let her go back," she said then. "Not because of her daddy but because I love her ... Putting her on the plane was the hardest thing I ever had to do."

Reunions do not always end with happily-ever-after, especially in a case of parental abduction. "Parentals are the worst because they never end," says Carla Branch, director of the National Hotline for Missing and Exploited Children, who was instrumental in reuniting Stephanie and her mother. "The kid had so many scars. She never got involved in counseling. She never worked through the things she needed to work through. It's not a good situation. But the situation of her constantly trying to run away wasn't good either because it destabilized two homes.

"The tragedy of parental kidnaping continues," Branch says. "The child's life is disrupted to send her back to a family she didn't know. But the tragedy wouldn't have occurred if the original lie hadn't been told."

Sue Fowler retains legal custody of her daughter. But Branch says her father, known as Edward Kopiak, is seeking custody in New Mexico, and that Stephanie's contact with her mother is limited. "It must be dreadfully painful," Branch says.

At the time of Stephanie's return, her father was quoted as saying, "Everything was one-sided. I was always the bad guy."

Stephanie said: "I wanted to come back for a long time. I missed my dad and all my friends."

Branch says: "This mother was searching for years and years and even when she found her, rather than allow her to run away to unknown circumstances, chose to send her back to her father, into the care of someone that she knew. We all took a lot of lumps. You know, 'How could you wreck this family?' I said, 'Kids have a right to know.' Now she knows."

Jane Leavy

The Boxers

The Fightin' Fields are still fightin'. The four boxing brothers from Prince George's County are racking up wins like a one-armed bandit gone crazy. The most recent stats: Anthony, 13, has 100 wins, 13 losses. Jermaine, 15, is 106 and 6; Leonard, 16, is 108 and 8; William, 17, is 113 and 10. Sugar Ray, eat your heart out.

The Hyattsville youngsters, who fight under the tutelage of their pop, William H. Fields Sr., trained at the Sugar Ray Leonard Amateur Boxing Center in Palmer Park earlier this year, but two months ago switched over to the M-PAC Boxing Club at 1475 Kenilworth Ave. NE. Ken Stribling, known as "Cap" -- a veteran trainer with 35 years' experience -- now shares the coaching duties with Fields.

"They're better than good," Stribling says of his new charges. "You'd be surprised at what these kids can do at their age. On the other hand, they're so young, they have to take their time."

Which is what father Fields had in mind when he told his boys, all of whom train five days a week after school, to rest their gloves during October and November. "My father wanted us to take a break," Jermaine reports.

Now they're back at it. Anthony and Jermaine will travel to Miami today to fight in the Silver Gloves Regional Championships. Leonard and William will fight in the Golden Gloves Regional Championships on Jan. 15 here.

Because he's the oldest, William, at 147 pounds, will be the first Fields eligible for an Olympic team berth. His record, reputation and experience make him one of this area's leading contenders in the welterweight category. "William has an excellent chance," says coach Stribling, adding that his performance in the Golden Gloves will go far toward determining his 1988 Olympic possibilities. The Largo High School junior himself is cautious but hopeful. "It's something I want to do," he says. "I want to make it there {to the Olympics} and win."

And if he doesn't make the '88 team? "All of us could be at the '92 games together."

Now that's brotherly love.

James McBride

Spam Takes a Dive

From all the hype and hullabaloo last July, you'd think Lion d'Or would be serving Spam a' l'orange to all its tony customers. But alas, though Spam turned 50 this year, it has done little but perhaps turn our stomachs.

Sales for 1987 were down.

Hormel executives are a little perplexed, and are laying the blame on overstocking and other problems that occurred in 1986. "For our fiscal year, which ended Oct. 31, sales were slightly off," says group product marketing manager Mark Johnson. "For example, if we were selling 100 pounds in 1986, we sold 98.5 pounds in 1987. We would have hoped for an increase."

Seems only reasonable. Back in July, Spam was everywhere. And with such commemorative events as the Spam-O-Rama recipe contest, the Spam medallion hunt, the Spam-O-Rama cookoff, a breakfast featuring Spam 'n' hotcakes, a Spam sandwich stand, a gigantic Spam display and such anniversary souvenirs as Spam T-shirts, Spam hats, Spam banks, Spam "Meat Meals in Minutes" recipe books, Spam cutting boards and the Spam air mattress, you'd have thought there'd be some Spam in every pot.

But the folks at Hormel are undaunted. "We have a variety of support planned for '88," Johnson says. "There will be a variety of TV spots, radio campaigns and billboards," all targeted at specific audiences the company believes will rush out to stock up. And you can look forward to seeing more Spam coupons in the Sunday paper.

"We feel good about '88," Johnson says. Which is better than a lot of people feel after eating Spam.

Scott Patton

Hopes and Soaps

Good news may be coming soon to Catherine Hearne, an actress who has spent the last 11 years struggling in Hollywood. Then again, it may not.

Hearne, 33, the subject of an October profile in which she recounted the hardships of her showbiz career ("I've eaten a lot of baked beans and a lot of baked potatoes and a lot of lettuce"), recently was hired for two episodes of "Days of Our Lives" and three weeks ago was called to the office of Robin Stoltz, a casting executive at ABC Television. Stoltz phoned Hearne's agent to arrange the meeting after reading the article, Hearne says.

"I went in in a great mood, really up and happy, kind of like the young Goldie Hawn," Hearne says. "All of a sudden she {Stoltz} started talking about how sad it really was about my life, that it probably happens to a lot of actresses and it's a real shame. Then she said, 'If somebody doesn't do something, you may end up as a street person or a bag lady.' That sort of hit me. Nobody in such a high position had ever spoken to me like that before, and well, I started crying right there in the network casting office. She had an assistant there, another lady, who I guess was really moved, because she got up and put her arms around me and started sniffling also."

After a good cry, they all watched videotapes of a couple of Hearne's TV roles, "and we left it that she is going to try and help me." Hearne is still waiting.

She did receive an offer, however, from the syndicated TV show "Hour Magazine."

"They wanted to have me on with a psychiatrist," Hearne says. "He was going to try and talk to me, to help me make a career change. But I didn't want to do that. I didn't feel like I have any mental problems. And it turned out that the psychiatrist thought I was pretty healthy, too."

Lloyd Grove

After the Arcadia Fire

Late last August, a year after Clifford and Louise Ray learned that their three sons were infected with the AIDS virus, their house in Arcadia, Fla., was destroyed by fire. By then, the family had outlasted bomb threats and a long court fight to have Ricky, 10, Robert, 9, and Randy, 8, all victims of hemophilia, admitted to public school.

Last fall, the Rays testified before the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee in hopes of changing the climate and conditions for infected children. They left Arcadia, a community they had grown up in, "with nothing but what was on our backs," leaving behind a place seemingly united in its demand for mandatory AIDS testing of students and teachers.

Today, according to Judy Kavanaugh, a friend involved in the family's legal battles, the Rays are living a relatively tranquil life in Sarasota, Fla. The boys, she says, "are doing fine ... Everyone has been very kind to them." They are participating in school activities, inviting friends to their house. "I can't even describe the totally opposite attitude of the Sarasota school system," Kavanaugh says. "The day they arrived, there were cards and candy on the desks welcoming them."

The bellwether case has prompted the state education chairman to adopt nonmandatory guidelines on the question, which say that a child with the AIDS virus should attend school, subject to review. Says Kavanaugh, "I feel it's made a major difference, but I'm afraid the ignorance persists."

Myra McPherson

Kea'a Ark

Despite the rising-from-the-rubble metaphors, the letters to the governor praising the structure as folk art and the flurry of media coverage, Kea Tawana's 80-ton, homemade ark will have to leave its makeshift construction site on the grounds of a church in downtown Newark.

Tawana, who'd been salvaging materials -- scrap lumber, paving blocks, discarded plexiglass -- for 20 years and bolting them together for six, called her ark "a dream that will float." The City of Newark called it an illegal eyesore without a building permit and threatened the church with daily fines if the ark were not removed.

Last fall, Tawana's lawyer and city officials reached an agreement: By March, Tawana must have an alternative site for the ark or begin demolition.

"We're quite pleased," says her attorney, Fred Zemel, who considers the agreement a victory. But can Tawana move the 100-foot-long ark with the clothesline pole for a bowsprit?

"Physically?" Zemel hedges. He is no longer in touch with Tawana. "I don't know. I don't know her exact plans. It's a thing that could be moved. Whether she has the financial ability, I don't know. Possibly a benefactor will donate his services."

Meanwhile, as part of the agreement, Tawana was forced to vacate her onsite trailer, which the city deemed unfit for human habitation. She is now homeless, Zemel believes. "She told me she lives any place she can lay her head. A vacant apartment building, anywhere."

Paula Span

Liz's Baby

Five months after sparking national controversy by announcing that she was pregnant and did not intend to marry her child's father, Boston newscaster Liz Walker gave birth Nov. 29 to Nicholas Charles Walker, 5 pounds, 15 ounces.

Walker's decision to become a single mother became the subject of letters, phone calls, editorial columns and private discussion, with some applauding the 36-year-old black woman for her independence and others claiming that at a time of high rates of teen pregnancy -- especially in the black community -- she was setting a bad example for the young.

Last summer Walker said, "If I could go to everybody, one on one, and say, 'Let me explain this to you,' I would, but I can't ... I need support from friends and viewers alike."

WBZ-TV did support the city's top-ranked newswoman, and since the birth, according to WBZ spokesman Andrew Radin, the viewers' response has been "overwhelmingly positive. We've received hundreds of congratulatory letters, close to a thousand. People have made a lot of homemade items, baby clothes, that sort of thing."

Walker is on leave until February, and doesn't want to talk publicly yet.

Elizabeth Kastor

Harmony and Summitry

All that chanting and meditating and drum-beating during last August's Harmonic Convergence was not, according to two participants, for naught.

"The effect, I would say, is felt everywhere," says Rita McInnes, a cominister of the Science of Mind Center, a branch of the United Church of Religious Science, which is headquartered (not all that surprisingly) in Los Angeles. McInnes, who led 150 Washingtonians in the summer's converging, says she feels "the whole concept is shifting. The Harmonic Convergence was focused on peace. And we have the signing -- a beginning at least -- between the Russians and the United States. I'm sure the Harmonic Convergence helped."

She and her husband, cominister Noel McInnes, have weekly meetings at the Marriott Key Bridge hotel to keep the convergent spirit going, and this morning they plan to lead several hundred in an annual event called variously the "Global Minilink," the "World Peace Celebration" and the "World Healing Event," a prayer and candle-lighting ceremony that will take place simultaneously around the world and that Noel McInnes hopes will unite a billion like-minded people.

Rita McInnes admits Washington is not the best place for such spiritual events. "I think Washington is sick," she says. "Unless there is prestige, a big-name-something behind it to make people come out -- it has to be a kind of drama, excitement, thrill. Praying for peace is probably too simple for Washington. What can I say? It's too bad. We realize it's not easy to break through that energy and shift people."

Elizabeth Kastor

Princess Desiree

For a time, Lucy de Barbin, who claimed to be the mother of Elvis Presley's love child, was considered proper fodder for David Letterman jokes. Then, suddenly last summer, the world's opinion changed. A poem said to have been written by Presley to de Barbin was authenticated by New York handwriting expert Charles Hamilton, who said, "It establishes that Elvis Presley had a lifelong affair" with her.

The story was told first by author Dary Matera, in his book "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" -- written with the help of de Barbin. Life has not, it appears, changed greatly for de Barbin or her 28-year-old daughter, who took the name Desiree Presley.

De Barbin, 50, continues to work as a fashion designer in Dallas. "We're working very hard on new designs, specialty items and a fragrance," she says. "I just came back from France and had a marvelous book tour there. I was asked to sing on one of the shows there." What song would that be? " 'Until It's Time for You to Go.' "

Desiree Presley, who bears a striking resemblance to the legendary rock 'n' roll star, could not be reached this week. She continues to pursue work as a model in Los Angeles, according to her mother, and is involved in selling and promoting international real estate. De Barbin hinted that she may have received some acting offers, too.

Mother and daughter have said they will not seek to claim any part of the vast Presley estate, and haven't changed their minds. "We didn't do it for that reason and we never will," says de Barbin.

For Matera, "the book enabled me to become an author and stay home and work on other projects. It didn't sell as well as predicted, but it sold pretty well. The poem changed everything. They were on the 'Donahue' show. They were accepted. That was the breakthrough."

Matera says a paperback of "Lonesome" will be issued next summer and that he and de Barbin have been hired as consultants for a planned NBC mini-series. "It's going into production next summer," de Barbin says.

Jeffrey A. Frank

More Trouble in Murder City

Kids are still shooting kids in Detroit.

Clementine Barfield founded Save Our Sons and Daughters (SOSAD) in January 1986 as a response to the gunfire epidemic. Three hundred sixty-five youngsters -- age 17 or under -- were hit by gunfire that year. Forty-eight of them died. Two years later, her organization has established itself as the conscience of Murder City, but the shooting continues. Four hundred fifty kids were shot this year. Sixty-eight of them died.

"The reasons for the shootings are shifting," says Barfield, whose son Derrick was shot and killed by a boy who ended up spending just 10 months in jail. "In 1986 the shootings resulted from poor conflict resolution and fights over materialistic things. This year they have mainly been drug-related. The crack-cocaine problem here in Detroit has escalated."

So have the efforts of SOSAD, a group composed of the relatives of murdered children.

"In June we had two youth rallies," Barfield says. "One at Michigan State Fairground and one at the city's main recreation park. We had a citywide march in July under the theme 'Kids killing kids must stop.' In August we had a conference sponsored by the Detroit and Wayne County mental health boards. And in October we had a statewide victims' conference. Not just for victims of violence but all victims, victims of Agent Orange, victims of war, victims of malpractice."

Last year the group was considering a statewide push for gun-control legislation, but Barfield dropped the idea.

"The guns that are coming into this city and winding up on the street are military weapons, machine guns, submachine guns, automatics, carbines," she says. "They are not guns that people are buying in stores. The police have arrested children with carbines."

In Washington, Mothers On the Move Spiritually (MOMS) has been born of similar circumstances. The District has the fifth highest murder rate in the country. On Tuesday a 15-year-old boy was killed in an argument over a jacket.

Barfield remains unconvinced that Detroit Mayor Coleman Young's administration is doing all it can to stop the killing. But, she says, the root of the problem may be beyond Young's control. "The drug culture in this city is stimulating the economy. Drugs are the largest employer of young black men ..."

Jim Naughton

Withering Hite?

Yogi Berra once declared that "if people don't want to come out to the ballpark, nobody's going to stop them." The same principle seems true of Shere Hite's 922-page analysis of women's disgust with men.

"Women and Love" was published in October by Knopf, and if getting your name in the paper and on the airwaves were the key to selling a lot of books, Hite would have been No. 1. Instead, the book has never appeared on either the Publishers Weekly or the New York Times best-seller lists -- the two benchmarks in the industry.

"The general expectation is that publicity, whether good or bad, generates sales," says a Knopf insider. "On this title, publicity generated sales but not to the magnitude that it should have. It was almost as if the consumer saw it as just another slanted or biased view."

Knopf printed 50,000 copies of "Women and Love" and immediately went back for a modest reprint of 13,000. But not all of those copies sold. Says a buyer for a national bookstore chain: "We've had a 60 percent sell-through, which for us is not good at all. Basically, we'll have copies to return."

New York literary agent Richard Curtis speculates that "maybe the price just turned people off. Who wants to spend $25 to be told how miserable they are or how lousy their marriage is?"

A book that generated the media attention Hite's did -- the cover of Time magazine and two separate articles in Newsweek, a fawning People feature, Oprah Winfrey and Phil Donahue's shows, plus articles, attention and reviews from nearly every major newspaper and talk-radio show -- should have sold "no fewer than 200,000 copies," Curtis adds. To sell only 50,000, he says, "is really shocking."

The problem was, of course, that much of that attention showed Hite in an unfavorable light -- most notoriously, in her tussle with a limo driver. "She became the Sean Penn of the 1987 literary circuit," says Stuart Applebaum, a Bantam vice president.

Equally damaging were the critical comments on Hite's methodology. "With a nonfiction book where its very credibility is at stake, she may have done more damage than good" by being so much in the public eye, says the bookstore chain buyer. And possibly, he suggests, the market is saturated with relationship studies. "With so much out on the subject and after her two previous books, she may have gone to the well once too often."

Hite's agent, Irving Lazar, understandably has a different view. He was reported as saying in November that he would probably auction the paperback rights in January "after the book is a best seller." Yesterday, he said that "we have a deal, but we haven't concluded it."

When called for comment, Hite put her lawyer on the line. He said she did not wish to be interviewed anymore.

David Streitfeld

One Diner, to Go The highways of New Jersey have yet to see the 1940 diner on wheels rolling its way down to Washington. The old Melrose Diner from Trenton, chosen by Smithsonian curators to represent the new plastic and Naugahyde of the '30s and '40s in an exhibit called "Material World," still sits on its desolate highway corner, waiting.

"Mostly what happened is we didn't have the money to move it and renovate it," says National Museum of American History spokeswoman Marilyn Lyons Rue. "To move it alone we expect will cost something like 10 to 15 thousand dollars, and that all depends on the real condition of it, what the engineers would find when they look at it."

"We've received lots of letters from people saying, 'Oh, I have such fond memories! I courted my wife in a diner!' People saying, 'Oh, maybe I can help' " -- but, she adds, "not with money."

The museum originally planned for at least part of the diner to grace the exhibit, which opens this April, but in addition to the financial problems some curators were distressed at the thought of carving up the diner. Now, curators hope enough money can be raised to bring the structure down intact and install it on the Mall as a sort of advertisement for the exhibit. The final decision will probably come in the next few weeks, and Rue says she is "cautiously optimistic" that the Melrose Diner will, at last, hit the road.

Elizabeth Kastor

The Braden Memoir Last summer, New York book publishers were agog after reading a proposal for a memoir by Joan Braden, studded with tantalizing details of her encounters with famous Washington men of yore. A copy found its way to this newspaper.

The ensuing attention, Braden says, was "disastrous" for her. Audrey Adler Wolf, the literary agent who circulated the proposal to New York publishers last summer, says the Post's story "killed the deal."

Now, without the services of an agent or a ghostwriter, Braden says she has resumed work on the book. She has completed "three or four chapters," she says, and her husband, syndicated columnist Tom Braden, is "editing and rewriting" the manuscript.

When she visits local bookstores, Braden says, sales clerks still report calls from customers asking "when the book is coming." But she is taking her time. "Who knows?" she says. "Maybe the book will never be published."

Charles Trueheart

A Very Young Lawyer

Stephen Baccus, boy lawyer, brought an age discrimination suit against the New York State Board of Law Examiners and the New York Court of Appeals last spring, charging that they had unconstitutionally prevented him from taking the bar exam. Examinees are supposed to be 21; Baccus, who'd received his law degree from the University of Miami at 16 and passed the Florida bar, was 17.

While the wheels of justice grind, Baccus has moved back to Miami and started a law firm with two doddering friends, aged 25 and 32. Business is not yet brisk, but "we're definitely getting there," he says.

Baccus, Marinello & Brady does "some criminal, real estate, some divorce and some computer law," says Baccus, who also received a master's in computer science from New York University this fall.

His mother, Dr. Florence Baccus, who began working on his IQ with flashcards while he was still in diapers, is also keeping busy. She offers classes to parents who want to raise their children's intelligence and is working on a book tentatively titled "Superachiever: One Mother's Story."

Paula Span

Running for Glory

Sydney Maree, the black South African who ran from a shantytown into track-and-field stardom, continues his quest for an Olympic gold medal. Maree, 30, a former track star at Villanova University near Philadelphia, spent most of his collegiate career unable to compete internationally because of an International Amateur Athletic Federation ban on South African athletes. He became a U.S. citizen in 1984 and won a berth on the U.S. Olympic team, but suffered a leg injury just weeks before the '84 games.

Maree, the American record-holder in the 1,500, 2,000 and 3,000 meters, had a strong showing overall in this year's track-and-field outdoor season, but turned in a disappointing performance in the September Track and Field World Championships in Rome, considered to be the warmup for the summer Olympics.

He won the 5,000 meters in both Philadelphia's Penn Relays in April and the San Jose, Calif., USA/Mobil Outdoor Track and Field Championships in June, placed third in the mile at the Helsinki World Games (behind super-distance runner Said Aouita of Morocco) and took the 1,500-meter race at an invitational meet in Hengelo, the Netherlands, in August. But in Rome, Maree finished far behind Aouita, the world-record holder, in the 5,000-meter finals and didn't place near the top five.

"There was no injury, no excuse," Maree says. "It was just an off day for me." He came back with a victory in the 5,000 meters at the Rieti (Italy) Invitational a few days later, but the real test will be the Olympic trials in June and the Seoul games to follow. "I'm looking forward to the Olympic games," he says. "I haven't given up. I don't feel finished yet."

Last February, Maree won the mile at the Mobil 1 Invitational at George Mason University, and he will return to George Mason on Feb. 15 to defend his championship. He still lives near Philadelphia with his wife Lisa, their children and his younger sister Patricia; another American citizen, son Daniel, was added to the family only three months ago. "He's named after my uncle, who played a major role in raising me," Maree says.

James McBride

The Resurrection Of Gargoyle

Last spring, Richard Peabody, the coeditor of the Washington literary magazine Gargoyle, was worn out, what with the breakup of a 24-issue romance with his fellow editor, lack of funds, years of working in a bookstore to support himself and a two-year attempt to get out the final issue he and Gretchen Johnsen had created together.

"I need a real job now, or I need a benefactor," he said then.

Well, he's still working in a bookstore, but the long-nurtured issue is out, along with Gargoyle 34, a cassette tape of writers reading their work. And as for financial angels, Peabody says, "I've found a couple." Peggy Pfeiffer, a high school English teacher Peabody has known for years, is his new coeditor and -- along with several others -- has pumped some money into the 11-year-old magazine.

"One of the things I wasn't able to do before was pass along the work, delegate the authority, and I'm learning to do that," he says. "When you start something like this it really is a little operation and it gets out of hand. It's taken over my life. 'Go to a movie?! We've got to read 50 manuscripts!' "

Now, he sees movies. This winter, he'll even get American University interns to help out. "It's like that joke from 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' -- 'I'm not dead yet,' " he says, and laughs.

Elizabeth Kastor

Filofax Redux

In the land of Filofax, the high-priced leather organizer book, it seems nary a day goes by without some exciting development. Just last July, an entrepreneurial English soul came up with Safe-Fax, a leather insert designed to hold condoms. The Filofax family claimed no responsibility for the object, but did offer suggestions about how Filofax products could be adapted for condom storage, and continued the attempt to lure the organizationally crazed with ever-newer inserts.

Now, perhaps belatedly, the company is introducing a packet of papers and graphs and charts called "Stock Pack," designed for those not frightened off Wall Street by the events of the past few months.

"There are always going to be people who are always going to follow the market," says U.S. Vice President of Sales Helene Furst. If the minds behind the Fax had known about the October crash, she says, "I think we would have gotten it out six months earlier." She pauses, then laughs. "Of course, if we had known, we'd all be very rich."

Which is not to say that the people who own Filofaxes are not very rich. At $160 for the starter kit (a cost likely to rise soon, according to Furst), it's not what anyone would call one of life's essentials. And although a slightly cheaper line of leather books (around $100) will be introduced here soon, Furst says American stores will never feature what she describes as "the less-expensive books they do in England, the vinyls.

"We're not interested in doing that here. We want to be known as the best, and we want to stay in our aura of the best."

Elizabeth Kastor

Eastern Airborne

When last we left the Eastern High School Choir, it was attempting to sing its way across the ocean.

The 65-voice choir, which hails from one of the District's grimmer neighborhoods, has been invited to represent the United States in the International Youth and Music Festival, which will be held in Vienna in July. But to get there, these kids, two-thirds of whom qualify for the federal free-lunch program, must raise $150,000 by May. At last count, they were one-third of the way there -- airborne, but not quite at cruising altitude.

The choir's recent pops concert "Jam Tonight" played to a full house Dec. 4, and bookings have flooded in.

"They are very busy around Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday," says Jim Garrett, whose wife Joyce directs the choir. "And everybody wants them for February, which is Black History Month."

Anybody who wants to know what all the excitement is about can tune in Monday night at 8 when WHMM (Channel 32) features the choir on "Just for You." The program will be rebroadcast Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Jim Naughton