DEAR ABBY: The letter from "One Plus Seven" really got me where it hurts. It was from a woman with seven children whose abusive husband taunted her by saying, "You'll never find a man who will want you with all those children."
Fifteen years ago, I was a mother with five children under 18. I was also trapped in an unhappy and abusive marriage. I knew I had to find a way to support myself and my children, so I decided to go to beauty school, so if I got a job I could be home when my children left for school. I worked hard at beauty school and prayed a lot. I got a divorce when my eldest was a senior in high school. I was determined to give my kids a chance to have a decent life, although everyone said I could never support five children.Well, Abby, today I'm the proud mother of a social worker (head of her department), a physician, a professional football player, and three kids in college. Oh yes, after the divorce I adopted a 14-year-old girl, knowing if I could feed five, I could feed six, and she desperately needed a home.
So, please tell "One Plus Seven" that with God's help, all things are possible. You may use my name. - BETTY THOMAS, HOUSTON
DEAR BETTY: Beautiful. Read on for another "They-said-it-couldn't-be-done" success story:
DEAR ABBY: "One Plus Seven" reminded me of my own situation - only I was the father of eight motherless kids under the age of 15. (Two sets of twins.)
Soon afer my wife died, a friend fixed me up with a young widow with five children ranging from 3 years old to 14. She had also been told that nobody would want her with "all that baggage."
As it turned out, 13 was our lucky number because we merged families, and between us we have 13 kids who get along great - for the most part.
Now we laugh because we both thought, "Who in their right mind would take on somebody with a houseful of kids?" The answer was, "Somebody else with a houseful of kids." - LUCKY IN NEBRASKA
DEAR ABBY: I am 15 years old and this is the first time I have written to you, but this is something I have never seen in your column.
There has been a lot of death in my family. Before I was born, my grandmother died. When I was 4, my grandfather died. When I was 7, one of my uncles died. And recently my mother died. They all died of cancer. (They were all over 40.)
Since cancer so obviously runs in the family, I am terrified that I am going to get it and die also. My older sister and I have discussed it and she feels the same way. I don't want to go through life scared of dying. What can I do? - SCARED OF CANCER
DEAR SCARED: Tell your father about your fears, and ask him to schedule an appointment with your family doctor for you and your sister. The topics of discussion should be, "What is the healthiest lifestyle we can adopt to prevent this from happening to us?" and, "How much at risk are we?"
The doctor should be able to put your fears to rest, since he is familiar with your family history. I'm happy that you wrote. The best way to conquer your fears is to face up to them - and by writing, you have already taken the first step.
What teenagers need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with their peers and parents is now in Abby's updated, expanded booklet, "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)