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What is love? Local residents explain

February 11, 2007|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

Just because it's hard to explain, doesn't mean you can't tell you're in love.

"I really don't know how to explain it. I love my husband," said Kim Hawbaker, 38, of Keedysville. "I don't know. I just feel it's something unconditional, you forsake everything for that person."

Valentine's Day is approaching and lovey-dovey feelings abound. The National Retail Federation is predicting that 64 percent of American consumers plan to celebrate Valentines Day and those planning to celebrate the holiday are expected to spend $16.9 billion this year - all in the name of love.

But just what is this thing we celebrate every February 14? What is love? And why is it so elusive?

Hawbaker, who is married to Dwayne Hawbaker and has three children, isn't the only one who can't explain it.

"I just got that feeling in my stomach," said 55-year-old Sharon Adkins, considering how she could tell she was in love with Harold Adkins, her husband. "He still puts that feeling in my stomach. You know - butterflies. I've never laid eyes on another man."

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The Adkinses, who live in Martinsburg, W.Va., have been married for 37 years and have two adult children. Part of being able to stay in love so long, Adkins said, is knowing how and when to give someone space.

"We do things together, we do things apart," said Adkins, "like when he wants a boys night, and I want to have a girls night."

Sometimes love makes you act out of character. When Ona Agori-Iwe, a 20-year-old biology major at Hagerstown Community College, was in sixth or seventh grade and bought a blue crystal teddy bear for his love interest at the time.

"I spent my entire savings on it," he said.

But love was fleeting.

"She broke my heart on Valentine's Day. It really hurt," Iwe said.

Luckily, Iwe said, that has been his only major heartbreak so far, and all of that happened before he met his current girlfriend, Jivi, who lives in Nigeria.

"Yes, you could say I'm in love. It's not really hard to say (why). (Jivi) understands me more than my mom or sisters might. She knows me more than anyone else," said Iwe.

His pal, Leliveld Emeni, 20, of Hagerstown, was a bit more pessimistic about matters of the heart.

"I'm single," said Emeni, a second-year student at HCC. "I don't think I'll be getting out of that any time soon."

Emeni said he was in love once, in high school, but thought love was overrated. He bought his sweetheart flowers and jewelry.

"Every guy does the clich stuff," he said, "because they don't know any better."

But they broke up after about a year. "We kind of drifted apart," he said.

Sometimes, learning to let love go is harder than trying to describe or define what love is, said Jeannette Tetro.

Tetro, 82, of Martinsburg, has recently remarried.

"After my first husband died, I was by myself for seven years before I started seeing anyone," Tetro said.

Her first husband, Harry Mihm, passed away in 1998. Even though she was able to find love again after Harry died, she said she found it difficult to say "I love you" to Hartley Tetro, the man she married in June.

"It was hard to commit," Jeannette Tetro said.

But losing a loved one has a way of making you appreciate love more. Hartley Tetro's first wife had also passed away.

"He tells me all the time that there is a reason we are together," Jeannette Tetro said. "He thinks God has something to do with it."

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