And furthermore . . .
Many thanks to everyone sending general comment and encouragement about The Home Forum. Here are a few more specific items pro and con.
Dorothy Harris of Kirkland, Wash., says her family got a lot of laughs from a line in Theodore Wolff's ''Many masks of modern art'' piece on James Bama (Feb. 16). It praises the artist's exquisitely rendered depictions of leathery skin, stubble on faces, and ''determined eyes set under crooked noses.'' We don't know why no other readers - or editors - noted Mr. Wolff's unique perspective on the human face. Perhaps they have been too well conditioned by modern art. Clearly he has.
Another Wolff essay, ''Being cozy without being cute'' (Feb. 2), drew these words about life imitating art from Roberta Matthews of Long Beach, N.Y.: ''The Matthews family love, enjoy, and appreciate the friendship of cats. We live with 14 at present. One of them is a visitor cat. His owners, John Guare, our playwright friend, and his wife, Adele, are away, and Teapot is staying with us. As we studied the photo of the lithograph by Wanda Gag, all agreed that our living room scene bore a striking resemblance to the one pictured. . . . Hope you can read this (Pinky on lap)!''
For some reason, verse was the rejoinder of choice to The Home Forum's first spot of color printing (March 19). Quoth Alan Legg of Carmel, Calif.: ''If the editor/ Of the Monitor/ Thought enow/ Of a purple cow/ To empurple it -/ WOW!'' From Guernsey Le Pelley (yes, the Guernsey Le Pelley) of Venice, Fla.: ''A picture's worth 10,000 words/ As everybody knows./ Home Forum puts in purple art/ In place of purple prose?'' And Virginia Golden of Portola Valley, Calif., writes an open letter to Raymond Bottom, whose essay on apathetic verse (''I don't care'') referred to the ruminant in question: ''No one has seen a Purple Cow,/ I could love it, anyhow,/ I weary of old brown and white,/ That bovine scheme is very trite,/ To think of purple is a WOW!''
Citing the same page, A.M. Coates of Santa Rosa, Calif., read ''with great delight'' Jean Stearns's 'Must I explain?'' and sent along this verse to help: ''i before e except after c/ or when sounded like a,/ as in neighbor and weigh;/ and except forfeit, either, sovereign, or seizure,/ as well as weird, height, heifer, and leisure!'' Another Coates point from a teacher of Spanish who good-naturedly warned: ''Never! Never ask why anything when it comes to language.''
The Home Forum sometimes takes poetic license and accompanies an essay not with a literal illustration but with a picture chosen according to the Platonic principle by which, for example, all chairs express chairness. (Let's be serious about this.) Thus when Thyrza Funk wrote about whether to save her china (Feb. 27) we used a photo of china, though not the Rosenthal on her shelves. Thanks to William Muly of Madison, N.J., for reading so carefully as to note the difference. You're right, it was Royal Copenhagen like yours.
In the same sense we thank Beth Compton of Savanna, Ill., for her response to John Gould's ''excellent'' piece on the old cookstove, ''A range of possibilities'' (Feb. 17): ''Come on now. You're leading the younger generation far afield. Your illustration of a spindly space-warmer just doesn't tie in with pots of stew and oatmeal already cooking on back burners at suppertime. Not in the kitchen of my childhood was there such a dilettante of a stove. Nor John's either, I betcha.''
Finally, going back to the page of Jan.9, we chose illustrations for their basic nutness, and Beverly Taylor of Worthington, Ohio, plausibly points out that the nut in one corner is not a black walnut, though a nearby essay is about black walnuts. She wishes we would educate readers about this nut's unusual appearance and nearly impregnable shell: ''Our children used to crack the nuts for pin money, claiming all the while that some day their parents would be arrested for slave labor practices.''
Perhaps those children have something to tell George Du Brul of Abilene, Texas, who would like to know a practical way of breaking black walnuts ''so that halves and quarters can be had.'' We're not sure if the information we sent him from the Suffolk County Extension Service at the University of Massachusetts is just what he wanted: ''Wear rubber gloves when husking the nuts to prevent staining hands - one tactic is to spread husks on the ground and drive over them with a car.''
After our sins of commission and omission, we relax and enjoy the kind words of Elizabeth Y. Tashjian, director of The Nut Museum, Old Lyme, Conn.: ''The Nut Museum - a place where art, music, lore combine to establish the entity of nuts - proudly displays this striking page for visitors to read, and crack smiles.''