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Learning to think of own needs

A childhood friend recently re-surfaced in my life after I'd not heard from her in about eight years. Before that, we'd always kept in touch, even if only once a year at Christmas.

Her reasons for her disappearance were obvious. Her father and her husband's mother had both been living with them for those eight years. They had moved to a one-story house, converted their living room and dining room into bedrooms and spent all their time tending to their parents' needs. As this couple had four children, the last of whom was just 14 when his grandparents moved in, their last 40 years have been dedicated to care-giving.

The last parent died in December, and these are two sort of shell-shocked, displaced persons. Oh, they're fine, they're delightful people and they have a very good relationship. Thank goodness, because they have lost every other tie, except with their children.

They plan to travel, but they don't know where or when. They might sell their house; they might not. If they do, they're not sure where they'll move.

They had just given up thinking about anything they wanted to do, and they're having a hard time redeveloping that skill.

I'm sure they're not alone in their plight. And I'm very glad to have them back in our lives.

The last week in February, I was dressing at 7 a.m. for a noon fashion show. It was warm and muggy, and how was I to know what to wear when it was June in February? As it happened, it turned gray and chilly, but some people didn't realize it, and others, like me, left home early. What people wore was wool, linen, silk, polyester, and ultra suede. As usual in Florida, anything goes.

But right now, even the citrus trees don't know what to wear. They came blossoming forth in February when they weren't due until March, and with this past week's chill, they were probably sorry.

Comes a report from Toni Fudge, chairwoman of the Feb. 26 Charity Ball: The net receipts so far add up to $66,738. That's net. Home Shopping Network was their particular angel, giving $45,000 in merchandise and donations, "and we still have $1,000 to $3,000 coming in," says Mrs. Fudge. The auction brought in $4,500.

Resurrection House of St. Petersburg, founded in 1987, will host an open house and renewal celebration Monday. A tour begins at 1 p.m.

It's a landmark occasion, for the facility has completed 2{ years of major renovations and has served more than 80 families and 260 individuals. Resurrection House gave these people a place to stay during their tough times and access to services including career guidance and training in life skills, parenting and finance. All are enrolled in an education/vocation program or working full time. By the time resident families are ready to embark, they are employed securely and have savings. Length of stay varies between six and 24 months.

The original three apartment buildings have been refurbished by individuals, civic organizations, churches, the city and the county.

It is indeed time to celebrate.

Guest speakers at the ceremony include County Commission Chairman Bruce Tyndall, Mayor David Fischer and Episcopal Bishop Rogers Harris.

Forget not that Friday brings opening night of the Florida Orchestra Designer Showhouse, with the premier party, A Tropical Paradise, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. This takes place at the Dolphin Cay Casino, 5300 Dolphin Cay Lane S, off the Pinellas Bayway. For $35, you'll have cocktails and buffet, with island food such as conch fritters, shrimp and pork loin with pineapple salsa, to the tune of Calypso music and a steel band.