`Not an easy man

to love, understand'

Poland's best-known husband is secretive and difficult to get along with, says Lech Walesa's wife, who adds: ``I don't think any other woman could put up with him.''

``Lech is not an easy man to love, understand and be with,'' Danuta Walesa told a talk-show host on Polish television. ``You talk to him, and you never know if you're getting through or what he's thinking about.''

But she added: ``He usually comes around on family matters. . . . What goes on in the family is 98 percent dependent on a woman.''

Walesa recalled that after only weeks after giving birth, she was among striking shipyard workers whose 1980 protest gave rise to Solidarity, but she said she opposes mixing public affairs with family life.

``At one stage, our home was like a public institution. News conferences, briefings, journalists besieging our place day and night,'' she said. ``That's when I put my foot down.''

Asked what was most important in life, Walesa said: ``To raise our children to become decent human beings and good Poles, people who have respect for others. There's too little of that nowadays.''

Walesa met his wife in 1969 at a florist shop where she was working. They have eight children.

A prestigious post,

an eye on the poor

His boyhood friends in Indonesia were street peddlers, and his grandmother still lives in a mud-walled house in Kenya. But Barack Obama presides over the Harvard Law Review as the first black president in the prestigious journal's 103-year history.

Obama, 28, is challenging another custom: His sights are set on the South Side of Chicago, not on a U.S. Supreme Court clerkship or a career with a prestigious law firm.

``I'm not interested in the suburbs,'' he said. ``The suburbs bore me. I feel good when I'm engaged in what I think are the core issues of the society, and those core issues to me are what's happening to poor folks in this society.''

Obama was born in Hawaii. His father was an Oxford- and Harvard-educated economist from Kenya; his mother a white anthropologist from Kansas. He moved to Indonesia at age 2 when his parents divorced and his mother married an Indonesian, but concern for Obama's education led his mother to return him to Hawaii, where he attended high school.

In 1983, he graduated from Columbia University with a degree in political science. He worked in Chicago five years, directing a program that tried to bring South Side churches, unions and block associations together on projects.

Obama entered Harvard Law School in 1988 and was elected to head the law review this February. He succeeded Peter Yu, a first-generation Chinese-American.

``Hopefully, more and more people will begin to feel their story is somehow part of this larger story of how we're going to reshape America in a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous,'' Obama said. ``I mean, I really hope to be part of a transformation of this country.''

Weekend together:

What marital split?

Donald and Ivana Trump raised questions about their stormy legal battles by spending the weekend together.

Saturday night, they were seen at a movie theater in Stamford, Conn. Sunday, Donald showed up at Ivana's Easter celebration at Manhattan's Plaza, after which they went hand-in-hand to a holiday dinner with their children and in-laws. Asked if these were early signs of reconciliation, Ivana said: ``Well, we have always gotten along quite well.''

Times news services