We love letters. Maybe it’s because our grandmas always used to tape a quarter to our birthday cards when we were little and we now have this Pavlovian thing going on. Regardless, we want to hear from you. Sing our praises, bust our chops, or just tell us what’s on your mind. Send your thoughts to us at the following address: editor@americanwaymag.com.



INSPIRATION
I found editor Adam Pitluk’s frank column about his struggles with dyslexia [“Ameryka´nska Powie´s´c,” January 15, 2010] to be so open and honest. After having him as a professor for a whole year, I would have never guessed he had overcome this battle.

I teach third grade. Most schools will not identify children who have a learning disability until third grade. Some people believe that students at that age are not far enough behind or that they will just “grow out of it.” I find it frustrating when kids come into my classroom worn down from failing. I am currently working on my master’s in education, and I wrote my fall literary analysis on children who are identified as having a reading disability and the effect it has on their motivation and self-worth. I want to become an advocate for students who have disabilities.

I have a student who just found out that he has a reading disability. I read him Mr. Pitluk’s article, and he told me that it was really amazing that Mr. Pitluk worked so hard to be so successful. It helped him see that a reading disability does not make you who you are and that struggles are a part of life. He may have to work harder, but in the end, it is worth it.

ALY WRIGHT, DALLAS, TEXAS

ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: I appreciate it, Aly. I’m warmed to know you’re doing such consequential work. You were a star student, and I’m honored to say I knew you when.


NEW ORLEANS IS A GOOD BET
I have to thank editor Adam Pitluk for his reflections on the Big Easy in his December 15 “Editor’s Note” [“The Allure of New Orleans”]. My wife and I just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary there as guests of Harrah’s. I point out the casino connection to demonstrate the generosity of even the most mercenary of businesses in this most self-indulgent of cities.

We were not only “comped” throughout our stay but were given tickets to the Cowboys’ December 19 game against the New Orleans Saints. Now here is where the heart and soul of a city shines brightest: To recognize our 40th, the casino host had arranged for seats that were practically dripping with sentimentality — on the 16th row, directly on the 40-yard line! And this man, in a sharkskin suit and Gordon Gekko haircut, greeted us on our return from the game like a child presenting his parents with a straight-A report card. Did we like our seats? Were we surprised when we saw where they were located? He seemed to take as much pleasure in pulling off his little conspiracy as we had discovering it.

All this because of a relatively harmless compulsive gambling habit and an addiction that my wife and I have had to one another for 40 years.

STEVE HOFFNER, DALLAS, TEXAS

ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: Wow! I’m a big fan of the tables myself — I went to Vegas seven times in 2004 alone — but no one has ever comped me anything except for a free buffet. I’m glad that you and your wife had such a fantastic 40th anniversary in this terrific town. I’ll take the fabulous music scene in the Big Easy any day of the week. Thanks for the kudos.


DEFENDING D.C.
I would like to bring to your attention a couple of inaccuracies in the column written by Eric Celeste in your January 1, 2010 issue [“Just Back From: Washington, D.C.”]. Aside from the tone of his article, which shows an obvious dislike of our nation’s capital, he mentions that D.C.’s Eastern Market is the only one of its kind, and that’s simply not true. The Eastern Market in Detroit is the largest historic public- market district in the United States, established in 1891. Celeste also implies that residents of the District became foodies when Michelle Obama arrived in town; again, that’s not entirely true. There were fresh markets throughout the city well before that.

Please advise Mr. Celeste that when he chooses to write about a place, it could benefit him and his readers if he did a more thorough job of researching the area and, in this case, talking to those who have lived in the District for a long time. I am delighted that his friend took him to Eastern Market in the first place, sticking up for all the people who love living in the nation’s capital. I smiled when his friend informed Mr. Celeste that it wasn’t funny that a 134-year-old historic landmark that so many people rely on for fresh and inexpensive food burned down.

ALISON MCKENZIE, VIENNA, AUSTRIA


ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: Mr. Celeste’s piece refers to Eastern being the only such market left in the D.C. area. Also, Eric doesn’t say that there weren’t such markets before Michelle Obama came along, but I can see why a reader would assume that because he referenced the “FreshFarm Market event” that began at her urging. We apologize for the ambiguity. I can understand and appreciate your frustration with some of Eric’s prose, but as an editorial columnist, he is entitled to his opinion, and I think the parody of his friend whipping him into shape made for a nice narrative.