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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband's Mementos Are Nobody's Business but His

DEAR ABBY: I have been reading your column for years. A letter in your column today really caught my eye. It reminded me of a conversation I had with one of my sisters years ago.

The letter was written by a woman who was irritated that her husband of 12 years still kept old letters from a former girlfriend.

My sister and I were looking through some old picture albums when she came across a picture of my husband and a pretty girl, taken before we were married. She looked puzzled and said: "How come he still has pictures of his old girlfriend? I sure wouldn't let my husband keep pictures of his old girlfriends!"

I replied: "Listen, I didn't find him under a cabbage leaf. He wasn't born the day before he married me. He had a life, and she was part of it. I also had a life before him and I have mementos of that life. Our experiences make us what we are, and any and all memories he chooses to preserve are fine with me.

"We have been married almost 40 years. He has stood by me during good times and bad, and has been a loyal and loving husband always. He's been a wonderful father to our daughter and a wonderful grandfather as well. And the best part of all is that he chose me to marry. So he can keep as many pictures, letters and souvenirs from his past as he cares to. I have HIM!" -- PAT IN ST. HELENS, ORE.

DEAR PAT: Wow! What a sensible attitude. My congratulations to both of you. You are lucky to have found each other.

DEAR ABBY: Concerning "Distraught Middle Child," whose sister and brother refused to attend her wedding if the other one was going to be there.

You were right on when you said it was unfair to have put her on the spot. However, Abby, I believe "Distraught" would find less grief with these petty people if she were to extend the invitation to both of them, and let them wrestle with the decision of whether or not to attend the sister's wedding.

By forcing them to make the decision, she is removing herself from their game. If she doesn't invite either one, they will undoubtedly haunt her with that for the rest of her life. -- SHARON L. RUDD, EUGENE, ORE.

DEAR SHARON: Your suggestion to invite both of them and let the brother and sister make the decision to attend the wedding or stay home was the intelligent way to handle it. Why didn't I think of that?

DEAR ABBY: Is it proper at bridal or baby showers to place a thank-you note at each luncheon plate instead of sending individual thank-you notes following the gift opening?

I should think if a person had cared enough to spend the time and money for a gift and attend the shower, a personal note of thanks (which would take five minutes at the most) and a 32-cent stamp aren't too much to expect.

Your opinion, please. -- MIFFED IN MICHIGAN

DEAR MIFFED: You are justified in feeling miffed. In my opinion, such blanket expressions of thanks are cheap and tacky.

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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