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When did you last buy a bottle of ink?

Sit down a minute and think with me before you start your day. Think -when was the last time you: Bought a bottle of ink? Gargled? Drank your coffee with sugar in it? Or whole cream? When did you last see a telegram?

Women, when was the last time you used a cloth handkerchief?

Brushed you hair with a real hairbrush, not a plastic skeleton brush?

My point is that there are a lot of things passing out of our lives and we don't even notice their passing. I pondered this the other day when an accordionist said, "young people just don't want to learn to play the accordion anymore."

It's true. It's not just the dusky sparrow that has become extinct.

I don't know about you, but my sugar bowl is full of little pink envelopes. Furthermore, my children and I have fallen heir to several sets of sugar tongs. When did you last see cube sugar, let alone sugar, in a sugar bowl?

And how can today's children play Drop the Hanky with facial tissue, for heaven's sake? One of our gradeschool requirements was a clean handkerchief. We were marked off on our report card under deportment for lack of same.

I don't necessarily mourn the passing of some of these things. And some, like the accordion, may be back in favor at any time.

But I make a plea in the name of awareness. Shouldn't we make a mental note or tribute to institutions such as the handkerchief and the sugar tong?

E. H. Hanshue, winner of first place and $250 in the "Why I Love The Pier" contest, came there to dance with his new bride on his honeymoon in 1925, and still enjoys Pier visits "just to sit and remember."

"Thanks for the Memories," said the entry from the 91-year-old Seminole resident.

"My boat's at the dock, my wife's in the shops, my daughter's at the Aquarium, I'm at Cha Cha's - it's another great day at The Pier," said second place winner of $100 Howard Woodbury, Temple Terrace.

"I love The Pier because, as a black child born in St. Petersburg, I was denied access. Now, as an adult, it is my pleasure," said Rosalie Peck of St. Petersburg, who received $50 for her third place winner.

Bill Griffith, manager of The Pier, was delighted with nearly 700 entries. The winners were announced Wednesday night at a Valentine's Dance in the Rotunda. Seven other top entries received $25 dinner certificates at The Pier.

We joined the Women's Auxiliary of the Pass-a-Grille Yacht Club for lunch Tuesday, a delightful group of 40-some members (varies with the season) who meet weekly for bridge, monthly for business. Some are involved in Krafty Kats, which produces handmade items for a fall craft fair. Others sail with the Broad Reachers, women's sailing group.

The club had a Valentine's Dance last weekend, at which the Broad Reachers named Louise Houser "princess" as an outstanding member.

We wallowed in nostalgia Wednesday when Nick Etzi, an accordionist formerly with Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, played golden oldies at the Florida Lyric Opera Luncheon. Then there was the Notables, a quintet whose members swing Andrews Sisters style, and multi-talented dancer Jennifer Tellone.

And what a thrill to hear tenor Michail Svetlav, who has performed at opera houses all over Europe, singing arias from Pagliacci and Tosca. His talented son Alexander, 12, accompanied him on the piano.

The luncheon took place at the Princess Martha, now a beautifully

redecorated retirement residence.

More on opera: Dr. Ira Ross of ASPEC (Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College) begins a four-week series of lectures Wednesday, continuing succeeding Wednesdays, on The Power of Love as expressed through opera. He will focus on Tosca and Tristan and Isolde. The 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. lectures cost $20. Call Joan Samuel, 864-8834 for reservations, and send your check to ASPEC, Eckerd College, Box 12560, 33733.

Feb. 21, you can learn Helen Boyle's methods of creative envelope

addressing in a free 11:45 a.m. workshop at the Arts Center. This calligrapher and past president of the Society of Scribes calls the session "Red Letter Days." It is a brown bagger, so provide your own lunch, drinks will be available.