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by Abigail Van Buren

Young Wife's Packaging Less Important Than What Was Inside

DEAR ABBY: Bill and I had 46 years together before I lost him to cancer. He was the kind of husband every woman needs.

In 1949, I had nine benign tumors removed from both breasts. Consequently, instead of a pretty bustline, I was left with two "bags."

Six months later, Bill and I were engaged. Three weeks before our wedding day, I found more lumps in my breasts. Heartsick, I told Bill and asked him if he wanted to call off our wedding. I told Bill if they operated again, even the "bags" might not make it.

He put his arms around me and said, "Don't worry, honey, whatever comes, we'll handle it." Then he smiled and added, "I am very fond of tangerines -- I never cared much for grapefruit."

Thank God it turned out to be scar tissue, and I went on to nurse all of our four wonderful children.

Abby, wasn't he a sweetie? -- VIRGINIA IN FLORIDA

DEAR VIRGINIA: Yes. You were blessed with an angel in disguise. My condolences on the loss of your sweetheart, who deserves a special place in heaven.