DEAR ABBY: A column you published in 1977 saved my life. I was 4 years old and having dinner with my family. My father, sitting across from me, noticed that I was turning blue. My mother realized I was choking on a piece of potato. Just the week before, having read about it in your column, she had learned how to do the Heimlich maneuver. She performed the maneuver on me and successfully dislodged the potato.
Abby, please urge everyone to learn this technique. You never know whose life you may save. -- INGRID, WILTON, CONN.
DEAR INGRID: I'm delighted you reminded me how vitally important it is to know the Heimlich maneuver. Your family's experience says it all.
For those who are not familiar with the Heimlich maneuver, call your American Red Cross and ask for a schedule of classes or demonstrations. Remember to learn the variation for infants and children as well as the standard adult procedure. (Fees/donations for classes vary by location.)
DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Examining Life in Ohio," who seemed to have a solid marriage, but didn't think she had married her "soul mate."
I am 60 years old and have had two husbands and six gentleman friends throughout the years. I have never felt the giddy, swept-away feeling of being "in love," and I've decided that's OK by me.
Too many young women marry someone who "turns them on" only to find out some years later after the passion wanes (and it does) that they've married someone who lacks the qualities to sustain a long-standing, loving relationship. Far too many women pass up perfectly good potential mates while waiting for "Mr. Right" to come along and light their fire.
I've talked to other women who also have never been "in love," so I know there are many of us out there. One of the things we seem to have in common is a logical, rather analytical way of thinking. -- DONE EXAMINING, WHITTIER, CALIF.
DEAR DONE EXAMINING: I have received a flurry of letters from readers who agree that a flaming passion is not the most important ingredient for a solid marriage. Read on for some input from the clergy:
DEAR ABBY: I am a pastor and have been involved in marital and premarital counseling during my 10 years of ministry. My experience has taught me that happiness and passion in marriages do not come from finding the "right" partner, but in BEING the right partner.
I once heard about a woman who was unhappy in her marriage and angry at her husband. When she went to her lawyer to begin divorce proceedings, she asked his advice on what she could do to really hurt her lousy husband. The lawyer thought for a moment, and suggested that for the next couple of months she love him and romance him with every ounce of her being, and once he was happy and fulfilled, she serve him with the divorce papers. "It will rip his heart out," the lawyer promised.
The woman followed his advice. Several months later she returned to the lawyer's office. He handed her the divorce papers to examine before serving them to her husband, and the woman replied, "I won't be needing them now. We're getting ready to leave on our second honeymoon." -- THE REV. SCOTT WOODDELL, FORT WORTH, TEXAS
DEAR REV. WOODDELL: There is much wisdom in your letter. The secret to a successful marriage is two people willing to work and sacrifice for the happiness of each other.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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