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by Abigail Van Buren

Cutting Cable Sets Family Free to Enjoy One Another

DEAR ABBY: Something wonderful has happened to my family, and I want to share it with you and your readers.

I have had cable TV in my home for five years. I have four children -- all in grade school -- and there was a constant battle about which TV channel to watch, as we had only one set, which was in the living room. The kids would sit there after school changing the channel every two minutes and not watching anything special.

I finally got sick of the squabbling and called the cable company and told them I wanted no more cable TV in my house. The kids were upset with me, but after a couple of days, they didn't miss it at all. Now for the good part:

It's been a year since I returned my cable box, and the children's grades have improved dramatically. They are now reading in their spare time instead of watching the boob tube, and my husband has started to talk to me!

We still enjoy TV, but now we rent tapes of the movies we want to see instead of watching whatever is available on TV.

I wish someone had written a letter like this one for me to see. I hope this helps someone else.

Love you, Abby. Please never retire! -- BEV IN WORCESTER, MASS.

DEAR BEV: I hope your letter inspires others to follow your sensible example. And who said anything about retiring? I promise to stay at this typewriter as long as my fingers, and mind, can do the job.

DEAR ABBY: We were married four months ago. (My husband and I paid for the wedding ourselves.) We also hired the best photographer in town, and were very happy with the results. His bill for all the pictures was $800.

My problem is my new mother-in-law. As soon as we got our wedding pictures, I dropped them off at her house so she could review them and decide which ones she wanted to order. I stopped by her house every weekend to get her decision, and she said, "I haven't had time to look at them yet."

Now she says she is sure she gave them back to me. When I assured her that she did not, she said she must have misplaced them, but she was sure they were "somewhere around the house."

Abby, as of now, the pictures have not turned up. My husband and I have argued about this, and I say his mother should replace them. I need your advice. -- ANGRY AND IMPATIENT

DEAR ANGRY: Since your mother-in-law is sure that the wedding pictures are "somewhere around the house," ask if you and her son may come over and help her look for them. If she is agreeable, and your search proves fruitless, accept the fact that they are gone.

Of course she should replace them. If she refuses, and you want the wedding pictures, you will have to replace them yourselves.

Everything you'll need to know about planning a wedding can be found in Abby's booklet, "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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