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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband Resents Wife's Desire for a Little Time on Her Own

DEAR ABBY: In the 1930s, during the Depression, there were 13 children plus my loving mother and father living in a small three-bedroom house. Our only means of heat and hot water came from a coal-fired stove in the kitchen. While the girls and I (the youngest boy) slept three or four to a bed, our five older brothers slept on the floor of the unfinished attic.

After two more boys came to live with us -- a cousin and a friend whose mother had died -- my mother's friends would ask, "Ellen, how could you take in two more?" My mother's standard answer was: "If you have love in your heart, you will have room in your home."

My siblings and I all have beautiful memories of our childhood. And ironically, many people we knew thought WE were the "rich" people in the neighborhood. How right they were! -- ROBERT LUMADUE, ALTOONA, PENN.

DEAR ROBERT: Your wise mother knew an important truth: Relationships are what make life rich.