Letters: Melody Gardot, Antarctica

Susan Stamberg reads e-mails from listeners. Among the topics: Scott Simon's interview with jazz singer Melody Gardot, who has suffered from short-term memory loss and sensitivity to light and sound since she was hit by a car; and Danny Zwerdling's report from the South Pole.


Time now for your letters. Scott Simon's interview two weeks ago with jazz singer Melody Gardot touched a number of listeners. Ms. Gardot has suffered from short-term memory loss and sensitivity to light and sound since she was hit by a car. She's used music as part of her recovery from brain and spinal injuries.

Kathy Rowan of the Bronx wrote: Thank you for sharing the story and music of Melody Gardot. Ten months ago, my 26-year-old son, a jazz musician, suffered a traumatic brain injury. Like Melody, we can testify to the healing power of music as he is again playing his bass and grateful for every day. May Melody's star shine for a long time.

We got a lot of mail about Daniel Zwerdling's report last week from the South Pole. Some listeners, like John Horner of Independence, Missouri, wrote in to clarify something that he feels is more than just a simple matter of perspective. Quote, "A question arises in my mind. Scott Simon told us the report came from literally the bottom of the world. Certainly he means relatively the bottom of the world. Top and bottom and up and down are functions of gravity, not placement on the map."

Stuart Clipper of Minneapolis had a similar but different reaction. To really get down to the bottom of this issue, I have tarried at the South Pole four times over, and at each instance I've never felt more like being on the top of the world.

Other listeners wrote of their own experiences at the Pole. I was stationed on the continent as a Navy photographer in the summer of 1962, Steve Vick from Klamath Falls, Oregon, writes. I made many trips to the Pole, which was then under ice except for the radio antennas sticking up. All buildings were built in trenches cut into the ice, which were eventually covered by blowing snow. As the Pole has shifted, I wonder where those sites are now.

And finally, Scott's interview with Dame Shirley Bassey was enjoyed by lots of you. Carolyn Walker of Portland, Michigan, was one of them. While driving to a staff meeting on a cold Michigan morning, she writes, I was listening to the screeching trumpet that ushered in "Goldfinger." Wow, what a great way to wake up. The interview with Shirley Bassey was funny, sultry and left me wanting to buy a CD from a 70-year-young woman.

We welcome your e-mail, funny, sultry, salty, just plain informative, whatever. Go to our Web site, npr.org, and click on Contact Us. And please tell us where you live, also how to pronounce your name.

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