Letters: Postum, Van Cliburn

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Letters from listeners include reaction to Kraft Foods' announcement that it will stop making the frothy coffee substitute Postum, and our recent interview with pianist Van Cliburn.


Time now for your letters.


SIMON: First, a correction. Our recent story about the closure of seven of the Katharine Gibbs Schools said that the two remaining campuses in Melville, New York and Vienna, Virginia will close by the end of the year unless they find a buyer. That's wrong says Lynne Baker, vice president of communications for Career Education, Inc., which owns the Katharine Gibbs Schools. Ms. Baker says they have no plans to shut down the two remaining branches but are seeking approval to convert those schools to Sanford-Brown schools, focusing on health care education. Our apologies for that mistake.

SIMON: As a child, I remember taking the train from Montana to the West Coast. Postum was served in a little silver teapot. I always felt so grown up when I traveled and got to order Postum.

A: When I was a child, my dad drank a cup of warm Postum every morning before heading off to work. Although I was personally was not a huge fan of Postum, I will miss seeing a jar of it in my parents' kitchen and the smell of it to remind me of simpler times.

SIMON: I can't believe you resisted a pun involving Postum-partum depression, opportunity lost. To our benefit, Mr. Hicks.

F: As one who has sat at the piano and felt more like I was at war with it than enjoying it, Cliburn's comments about the difference between practice and performing were encouraging. It was great to hear that even a master still struggles with the same thing as the rest of us.

Aubrey of East Lansing, Michigan, told us about the time that she and a friend went to hear Mr. Cliburn performs when she was in high school, wearing jeans and T-shirts. At the backstage reception afterwards, Ms. Marin(ph) writes, a woman saw us and began to stride toward us, I'm sure intending to throw us out. Mr. Cliburn saw this, and he interrupted the conversation he was in and strode to us just as she did. He greeted us as if we were old friends. I'm so glad to see you. I'm so grateful you were able to be here tonight. The woman backed away, and he continued talking to us for several more minutes, asking questions about ourselves, what instruments we played and encouraging us to keep playing music in any way that inspired us. I will never forget how kind and gracious he was and how welcome he made us feel that weekend.

J: to have Mr. Cliburn for a neighbor in attached housing with a flimsy barrier wall.


SIMON: We welcome your wishes and comments. Just come to our Web site, npr.org, and click on Contact Us.

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