Living without television for a week proved not to be the terrible ordeal that many fifth-graders in White Settlement, Tex., had expected. Ricky Shelhorse had even confessed to his diary that he wanted to die at the beginning of the experiment. But, the pupils became more attentive in class, handed in unprecedented numbers of extra-credit assignments, romped outdoors and rediscovered household pets, teacher Lisa Baker said. Teachers had instructed the 70 North Elementary School pupils going without the tube to keep a journal. "Kids have been writing that they've had better family ties," Baker said. "That makes me feel good. But then some of them also said their family was right on the edge. They were about sick of each other." Family members had been asked to participate and also do without TV. Students reported that siblings fought more and one mother stormed out of the house while her husband guarded the tube and turned up the volume. Six children did not join their classmates. "I'd rather not torture myself," said 11-year-old Quentin Solomon.
--The thief who tried to steal Christmas from the homeless in Stamford, Conn., was foiled as donations ranging from a $2,000 check to toothbrushes poured into a soup kitchen. "The phone has not stopped ringing," said Tony Griffin, co-director of the New Covenant House of Hospitality. Last week, someone stole about $400 worth of donated gifts, toys and food baskets that had been collected since September for the soup kitchen's first party since it opened in 1978. But city shelter officials announced they were determined to have the party anyway. The financial support has been so overwhelming that a portion of it will be set aside to keep the soup kitchen operating during the winter, said Judy Moriarty, program director of shelter support for the Gateway Community Center, a nonprofit mental health agency.