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    Claudette Colbert Answers The Letters

    Dear Miss Colbert:

    I am nineteen years old. About a year ago I met a boy in the Air Force. We fell very much in love and wanted to he married, but we had known each other only a short time. He had his orders to leave for Germany, and the pressure of my parents’ ideas and our worry over being parted for a long time decided us against marrying then.

    At first we wrote every day, but finally I didn’t hear from him for a long time. Then a dreadful letter came, saying that we should forget each other. He said that he still loves me very much, but that things were bad in Germany and that he has turned out to be the sort of person I shouldn’t know. He still has two more years over there, and he says that in two more years he will have changed so that I won’t understand him at all.

    Please tell me what I can do or say to make him realize that if I lose him I don’t want to live. I think my family might be able to arrange a trip for me next summer if you think it would be a good idea for me to go over there and try to straighten things out. He is my life and all I have to live for!

    Corinne A.



    Dear Corinne:

    Oh, come now, let’s not get desperate! Don t you realize that the real reason you are making so much of t his breakup of your romance with a boy you scarcely knew is that you are—in an indirect way—punishing your parents for not permitting you to marry?

    It’s a little foolish for a girl of nineteen to announce that a boy she has known only a short time is her life and all she has to live for. Each human being has the development and the destiny of his soul to give real meaning to his life.

    I don’t think you should consider a trip to Germany. This boy has indicated that he would rather not continue his relationship with you; that being the case, how would he feel if you showed up at his base? Probably he has a new girl friend and your trip would result only in embarrassment.

    Better find a new beau, and when you allow your self to think of the Air Force lad, you should re gar d that romance as just one of the many maturing encounters you will experience before you marry.

    Claudette Colbert



    Dear Miss Colbert:

    I have a problem which quite a few other girls probably have, too. I have two older sisters, one is eighteen and the other is sixteen. I am fourteen. My oldest sister, Marian, is quite popular with the boys, but the other one, Stella, isn’t so fortunate. She does have some dates, but not many. My problem is that I’m quite popular.

    I hope that doesn’t sound braggy, but I have to explain our difficulty. Mom often refuses to let me go out because Stella’s pride and feelings are hurt.

    All of our dates are very informal, such as going to movies, or get-togethers in our homes, where our parents know exactly where we are and with whom.

    We have always been a very close family and of course I don’t want dating to break up this wonderful bond, but do you really think it’s fair for Mom to prevent me from having dates just because Stella isn’t as much in demand as Marian and I are?

    Ariadne O.



    Dear Ariadne:

    Yours is rather a common problem. A great many family misunderstandings are caused by the attempt of a loving and well-meaning parent to spare the feelings of one child to the detriment of another.

    I have letters from unmusical children who must take music lessons in order to play with a brother or sister who is a wizard. I have letters from brothers of totally different temperaments who are sent to the same technical school by a sentimental mother who wanted the boys to stick together.

    Each human being is unique and his progress should not depend upon the progress of another simply because the two belong to the same family.

    Your middle sister has probably not developed as rapidly as you have, despite the fact that she is two years older. Usually a popular girl is one who has begun to take a definite and sensible interest in boys. An unpopular girl, frequently, doesn’t really want to be popular, although she might deny this. She may be more interested in other activities than dating.

    I believe it is the job of a mother to study each child individually, and to interpret the differences between them. If your middle sister were made to understand that your dates were a part of your life and cast no reflections upon her life, suggested no shortcoming, she might be very happy to stay at home and amuse her self in some way that she really enjoyed.

    Claudette Colbert



    Dear Miss Colbert:

    I am married to a wonderful man fifteen years my senior. I am twenty-three, and the mother of a beautiful little daughter.

    My problem is that I have always had a terrible temper. Sometimes, to get what I want, I have had tantrums and thrown myself on the floor, screaming and crying. I simply haven’t been able to stop myself.

    Until recently, my husband has tried to pacify me by giving in to my whims. He has been wonderful.

    Recently, he read in a magazine that a beauty expert advised a girl to use a paddle, and use it conscientiously, to remove excess poundage from her hips. Well, you see I have rather fleshy hips, so my husband suggested that I try this.

    I agreed, but now whenever I have one of these temper spells, he takes me across his knee and spanks me vigorously with a hairbrush. I have pleaded and protested, but it does no good. I even discussed these spankings with my mother. She said my husband had already discussed them with her and that she and my father agreed that if they had applied the hairbrush when I was a little girl, it wouldn’t he necessary now.

    Things are more important to me than they are to other people, so there are times when I can’t avoid showing how I feel. I think that, regardless of my actions, I am too old to he spanked.

    Jessica W.



    Dear Mrs. W.:

    Your letter ”made” my day!

    So many of the letters I receive really tax every bit of insight and knowledge which I have managed to acquire so far in my lifetime that it is a genuine delight to read a letter outlining a problem to which there is a pat, simple, obvious solution.

    l’m mildly astonished that yon haven’t thought of it yourself.

    All yon have to do to avoid future spankings is to avoid future tantrums. Grow up and your husband’s treatment of you will become adult as well.

    Claudette Colbert



    Dear Miss Colbert:

    I will appreciate if you will give me some information as to where I might locate a talent scout. We live about one hundred and fifty miles from a major city, so I feel certain that there must he a scout stationed there. I should like to know his name and street address.

    I have a highly photogenic daughter who might develop into a famous person, if given a chance. Not only is she beautiful, hut she is sweet, modest, courteous, and religious. She has a sweet soprano voice and sings in the choir.

    She never pushed herself forward in school. Her popularity has come to her unsought.

    She will graduate from high school next spring, and says she doesn’t really know what she wants to do. I believe she is a “natural” for motion pictures. How can I go about securing her first break ?

    (Mrs.) Helena S.



    Dear Mrs. S.:

    I believe your letter tells far more about yourself and your daughter and your relationship than you realize. You want a career for her and you are prepared to make a frontal attack to win it.

    On the other hand, I suspect she has always lived somewhat in your shadow and somewhat in your echo. I gather that she is inclined to be retiring and easy-going.

    Instead of seeking out a talent scout, don’t you think that you might try to get better acquainted with your daughter? Undoubtedly you love her deeply, but it is almost as bad for a child to grow up over-protected as under-protected. If you will allow her to be a person, not necessarily the type of girl you would choose for a daughter, but the type of girl she is, naturally, you may find that she does have definite opinions and positive ambitions which she has been afraid to voice to you in the past.

    She is an individual, you know, and has a right to that precious and unique status.

    Claudette Colbert

     

    It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MARCH 1953

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