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February 08, 1991 - Image 106

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-02-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

SINGLE LIFE

With the Uncertainty due to
the Middle East Crisis,
Now is the Time to Consider
Rare Coin Investing!

MICHAEL ZIPSER

Rare Coin Investment Specialist

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for the advanced collector or investor.
Current Price $18,000.

IC

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ATTENTION:

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Featuring: Sivan Maas

(Israel's Representative in
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Speaking on
What Jewish College
Students can do to help
Israel in these difficult times

Sponsored by:
Metro Detroit United Jewish
Appeal Campus Campaign

106

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 1991

Love Letters

Continued from preceding page

founded the singles group
"Brains." "Lots of (love
letters) are sappy, written
when glands are working
overtime and brains are on
off."
It's okay for teenagers to
write mushy love letters,
most people think, but can
law partners?
Experts say these notes
can be embarrassing to corn-
pose regardless of age since
expressing emotions makes
people vulnerable. Mature
professionals might write
these letters more guardedly
than infatuated high
schoolers, but their intent is
the same: To woo a potential
sweetheart.
Unless people drop love
letters they write in the
mailbox while their blood is
still boiling, chances are the
pieces of paper might never
leave their house.
"Emotions in the cold light
of rationality seem weird,"
said Mr. Strassburger, the
psychologist. "When you are
in the middle of feeling them
(and writing about them)
they seem perfectly sensible.
But it's hard to get in the
frame of mind you were in
when you wrote them. It's
embarrassing because it
calls back to mind our im-
pulses."
Increasingly, people are
replacing love letters with
store-bought cards. If your
date thinks the Valentine's
Day card is sappy, the insult
is no sweat off your brow.
Somebody else wrote the
dumb poem. Imagine how
mortified you'd be if you
wrote it!
But love letters have less
to do with rhyme than
reason. Writing letters also
gives people time to think
about how they feel and to
say what they might not be
able to tell someone face-to-
face. With pen in hand,
couch potatoes turn
philosophers overnight,
pouring over the mysteries
of life.
Heartbroken over the fate
of her relationship, Beth
Gilbert of Owings Mills,
Md., explained to her boy-
friend in writing why she
couldn't wait around for
him. She described fears of
trusting people and the need
for commitment.
"I will always be there for
you," wrote Ms. Gilbert, a
23-year-old candidate for a
master's in clinical social
work at the University of
Maryland. "But I won't be
there as your doormat."
In trying to understand
the changes in the relation-
ship — on and off for five
years — Ms. Gilbert reread
his old letters.

"At the beginning I wasn't
ready for a relationship,"
she said. "He would write 'I
love you; I'm not going to
give up on you until you are
my wife.' I used to roll my
eyes and think: Don't hold
your breath."
Her boyfriend meant that,
when he thought he was go-
ing to lose Ms. Gilbert. But
things have changed. He
taught at a university, lived
in New Hampshire, returned
to Baltimore, and Ms.
Gilbert fell for him. What
hasn't changed is the words
he put on paper — words
that might yet get him into
trouble.
"I want to get married
now, but he isn't sure
anymore," said Ms. Gilbert,
who would eventually like to
work as a marriage
counselor. "So I feel like
pulling out the letter and
quoting from it."
Blackmail won't help, she
quipped. But she said she
likes being able to track de-

"I've always
wanted people to
write me schmaltzy
letters."
Leslie Limmer

velopments of the relation-
ship through thdir letters.
Words on paper are
testimony to a person's past.
Ms. Limmer of Washington,
wonders what her mother
was like as a young woman
and wishes her mother still
had the love letters a World,
War II soldier sent to her
from Europe.
"My grandmother told my
mother when she met my
father that 'you are getting
married and must be
faithful.' So my grand-
mother destroyed them,"
Ms. Limmer said.
Such a loss of love letters
can create a gap in personal
history. Helen Epps, a psy-
chologist in Bethesda, Md.,
said rereading love letters is
like flipping through a photo
album.
"People should appreciate
old love letters for what they
are and not hold them up in
contrast to the present," Ms.
Epps explained. "They can
look at them and say 'if
somebody felt that way once,
they could feel that way
again. I'm worthwhile!' "
Ms. Epps urged singles to
take the risk and write
letters to people they care
about.
The famous poets — even
Hallmark — might be able
to say it better. But she said
that people who want to pass
on their love can say it with
a more personal touch. ❑

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