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Readers write: The value of ‘puttering’ and people-to-people diplomacy

Letters to the editor for the Nov. 19, 2018 weekly magazine.

The value of ‘puttering’

I loved Robert Klose’s Oct. 8 Home Forum essay, “I sing in praise of puttering,” especially the meaning of putting the world to rights in our “little sphere.” Me, too! My father was an inveterate putterer, all the more remarkable because he was an extremely selfless and capable medical doctor and surgeon, helping the impoverished folk in the north and Midlands of England, often with a payment of gratitude such as a cake. (Ho-hum! The days of pre-National Health Service.) Much to the disapproval of his business-minded father, he gained his qualifications studying at night under the bedclothes with a flashlight and two brothers, he being one of 12 siblings.

I’ve loved the Home Forum page for 60 years. It is always lifting thought, especially the essay. 

Jacqueline Cohen

London

People-to-people diplomacy

Thank you for the heartwarming Oct. 22 People Making a Difference article about Sharon Tennison’s dedicated work to advance peaceful cooperation between Russia and the United States. In 1990, I spent my two-week vacation on a Russian cruise ship touring down the Volga River, stopping at ancient villages and cities from Moscow to Yaroslavl along the way. At each stop, a friendly Russian tour guide greeted us with excellent English and showed us points of interest.

The Russian people expressed warmth and friendliness at every turn. When the ship returned to Moscow, it docked at a marina next to another cruise ship carrying all Russian passengers. They stood at the ship’s railing and sang to us. They reached across to touch hands with us, even throwing kisses.

The then-President Mikhail Gorbachev had recently declared perestroika and glasnost in Russia. Part of those initiatives was to open up the country to tourists. I agree with Ms. Tennison that peace can more readily be achieved through people-to-people diplomacy, coming from the bottom rather than the top.

Mary Joy Breton

St. Paul, Minn.

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