DEAR ABBY: I have been reading your column for years. A letter in your column today really caught my eye. It reminded me of a conversation I had with one of my sisters years ago.
The letter was written by a woman who was irritated that her husband of 12 years still kept old letters from a former girlfriend.
My sister and I were looking through some old picture albums when she came across a picture of my husband and a pretty girl, taken before we were married. She looked puzzled and said: "How come he still has pictures of his old girlfriend? I sure wouldn't let my husband keep pictures of his old girlfriends!"
I replied: "Listen, I didn't find him under a cabbage leaf. He wasn't born the day before he married me. He had a life, and she was part of it. I also had a life before him and I have mementos of that life. Our experiences make us what we are, and any and all memories he chooses to preserve are fine with me.
"We have been married almost 40 years. He has stood by me during good times and bad, and has been a loyal and loving husband always. He's been a wonderful father to our daughter and a wonderful grandfather as well. And the best part of all is that he chose me to marry. So he can keep as many pictures, letters and souvenirs from his past as he cares to. I have HIM!" -- PAT IN ST. HELENS, ORE.
DEAR PAT: Wow! What a sensible attitude. My congratulations to both of you. You are lucky to have found each other.