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by Abigail Van Buren

Family Is Hot About Son Who Rekindles Old Flame

DEAR ABBY: A year ago, my son learned that a girl he had dated in high school 30 years ago was living about an hour's drive from where he lived. He hadn't seen or heard from "Susan" since he joined the Air Force in 1966. When he heard that she was in the hospital recovering from heart surgery, he went to see her. Well, that was the end of his marriage to "Jan," a kind, loving wife and mother.

He left a wonderful wife for a selfish, conniving divorced woman. I still consider Jan my daughter-in-law. Never will I accept the home-wrecker he married. He has alienated himself from his brothers and parents.

Abby, please tell people who feel nostalgic never to rekindle an old flame. The fire my son started has burned his entire family. Now, we have only ashes for memories.

Jan still is considered a member of our family. She always is included in family gatherings. He is not even invited. -- BITTER IN OHIO

DEAR BITTER: Although your relationship with your former daughter-in-law was a good one, all could not have been rosy between your son and Jan. Had his marriage been solid, he would not have been tempted by his old flame.

Please talk to your son. Perhaps he had good reason to leave Jan for Susan. If so, be more supportive of his choice and more accepting of Susan. You can remain friends with Jan and include her occasionally, but in the interest of family harmony, make time for your son and his present wife.

DEAR ABBY: I am 60 years old. Somewhere in the past, I acquired the habit of pushing my plate toward the center of the table when I finished eating.

My ladyfriend, who was born and educated in England, says this really gets on her nerves.

I never noticed it before because I have always thought it was proper -- that it signals to the server that you are finished with that course. Please advise. -- SERIOUS IN BOSTON

DEAR SERIOUS: Pushing one's plate toward the center of the table is not proper. To signal the server that you have finished eating and are ready to have your plate removed, place your knife and fork together diagonally across the upper right corner of the rim of your plate. The knife blade should face inward and the fork should be on the inside.

DEAR ABBY: In a recent column, Mrs. Mamie Geraci of Metairie, La., explained how her late husband, an embalmer, removed rings from the deceased. She said the technique also would work on the living.

When I was 14, my mother gave me an amethyst for Christmas. I have worn it for almost half a century. As the decades passed, my fingers grew fatter and the ring became more and more difficult to remove. Several years ago, it would no longer come off. It was becoming painful, but I didn't want to destroy it by cutting it off.

My wife and I tried Mrs. Geraci's solution, which worked in less than a minute. I am so happy to have the ring off, with both it and my finger still intact.

Thank you for a practical but little-known tip. -- FREDERIC ZERLA, TAMPA, FLA.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, 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. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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