Earlier this month, the fourth-graders at Cienega Elementary School were talking with their teacher, Patricia Dulberg, about the approaching summit meeting in Washington between President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, and they decided to write letters to the two world leaders.
Ever since the October earthquake, Dulberg said recently, the class of 23 9- and 10-year-olds had been scared and talking about disasters.
Members of the class, a bilingual one of black, Latino and Asian children from the inner city, have very real fears of war and disaster, Dulberg added. Some have known war personally in Guatemala and El Salvador.
Their letters to the two leaders were written from the heart, she added--describing the poverty and problems they see every day, giving advice and expressing their wishes for the future.
Below is a sampling, spelling and grammar intact, of the letters that were written before the summit and sent to the White House and Moscow sometime afterward. The children, Dulberg said, requested written responses from both world leaders and are hoping the New Year's mail will bring them.
Dear President Reagan and Sen General Godbchav,
Mr. Reagan and Mr. Gocbachev, Why are you fighting? Us kids in room 12 want to make friends with you. I hope at your summit meeting you both decide never to have a war. If you try to test missles in a lake, all the fish will die. So please don't do that anymore.
KYLIE D. JUDKINS
P.S. I want to be friends with Russian children.
I have heard that you two are meeting. And I want to know why don't you sell missles to the museum and earn money for the cure of aids and people who are homless and people who have cancer.
War is dangerous. It kills people. I don't want war. . . . You can spend that money on poor people who have no homes or food. You spend too much on missles and bombs. I have bad dreams about war. It's horrible. I thought I got hit in the face with a nuclear weapon and I woke up at 3:00 in the morning and walked around the house thinking about war.
. . . Would you like to die? I wouldn't like to die. That's all I can say.
Oh I almost forgot. I would like both your signatures. . . .
. . . With all the money we could make new streets and beautiful things in the world. Our class is mailing these letters so we won't have a World War III.
There could be enough money when there is a disaster so you could use the money to buy machines to repair the place. We had one disaster that was an earthquake and I don't want to have another disaster. I heard a lot about nuclear weapons and I don't want to see people get hurt.
Sincerely your citizen,
. . . I wish you would talk about friendship, and all the money you both spend on guns and planes should be used to help poor people and to build schools and other helpful things. I don't like war because sometimes I have nightmares about howe the Unites States would be like if Russia used its equipment against us. . . .
I think we should not have war because people get hurt and they die. We don't want them to die. We should have peace and be friends and have no guns for people. They should not use drugs or drink liquor. We should not litter and make Los Angeles look ugly. I will pick up paper that I see on the ground and I also think all the money you both use on weapons whould be used to help the poor people. I see a lot of poor people in the street. People also need medecine, care from doctors and houses to live in. My mother works in a hospital and she tells me things.
So, Please stop making things for war.
. . . I think instead of people buying weapons and bombs they should buy clothes and make peace. And I hope they do that and never ever use drugs or cocaine.
And Sec. General Gorbachev, please go and tell the same thing to the people that live in Russia.
Yo quisiera que ya no gastasen el dinero en las bombas, sino que lo usen para los ninos pobres y oara las casas de Los Angeles. Yo tengo una tia que lleva comida, cobijas y ropa a los ninos pobres. Hay mucha gente que es pobres. Yo les pido que ayuden a los pobres, a la gente de Mexico y a las escuelas.
(I want that you not spend money on bombs but that you use it for poor children and for houses in Los Angeles. I have an aunt who sends food, blankets and clothes to poor children. There are many people who are poor. I plead that you help the poor, the people of Mexico and the schools. See you soon.)
. . . I think that the United States and Russia could get along and be friends with each other. I really want us to be friends with each other. If one day I get to meet the both of you, I will sit down and talk about peace. Also about our world that is both the United States and Russia. O.K., now I'm going to change to another subject. Here it comes.
The money you spend on missles I really think that the money should be spent for poor peoplke who live in the street or the people who are blind. I think that the money should go to Africa or The United Way to help people who can't talk or walk. I want you to think and talk about your world and our world. . . .
O.K., now I think I have to stop.
Mr. Gorbachev, your family is invited to the United States again.