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by Abigail Van Buren

Mother in Law's 'Old Man' Is Too Old for Her Family

DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law is divorced and has a live-in boyfriend, man friend -- no, an old man living with her. He's good to her, but he's too old, and now she's starting to show signs of aging. She's only 58. The boyfriend is 78 and is really getting on the family's nerves.

At night when he drives, he can't see the turn-offs. When he comes to family gatherings, he can't stand the kids yelling and having fun. What a party pooper!

When he dies, if he dies first, she'll be lost. If she goes first, look at all the things she will have missed out on by hanging around an old man. I say it's OK to be friends, but leave it at that. Life's too short -- get on with it. -- FRUSTRATED IN WHITEWATER, WIS.

DEAR FRUSTRATED: From your description of the relationship, your mother-in-law HAS already gotten on with it. She has the right to make her own choices. Remember: His age is not nearly as important as how he treats her.

Be thankful your mother-in-law has found a love match. Not everyone is as fortunate as she.

DEAR ABBY: A while ago you printed a letter from a woman who was concerned because her husband insisted on wearing the wedding band given to him by his late wife.

I lost my first wife at age 19, but was fortunate to meet my present wife two years later.

She resolved the "problem" of the first wedding ring by taking it, along with the ring she gave me, to a jeweler who welded them together. I now have a unique wedding band and a wife who's one in a million. We've been married 34 wonderful years. -- TOM COLLIMORE, SAN MARCOS, CALIF.

DEAR TOM: What a wise and inventive woman you married. Cherish her. She's an original thinker.

DEAR ABBY: I wholeheartedly agree with "Miss Judi," the librarian in Dallas who wanted to remind families about the benefits of public libraries. Our family of six has been making do with slim resources for many years while Dad was in graduate school and starting his career.

All the children got library cards as soon as they could write their names. I showed them how to use the card catalog and introduced them to the librarian. (Sometimes you get a grump, but most of them like to help.) We've spent many a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in our library enjoying the books, programs and other materials they offer.

Today, my children -- ages 6 through 12 -- are avid readers who love books. They even save their allowance to spend on some popular titles that are hard to find in the library. I'm certain this love will take them far in life.

Family memberships to zoos and museums also provide low-cost educational family entertainment. A membership usually costs about what you would pay for two or three visits. With a membership, you also receive admission to member events and special exhibits, and discounts at the gift shops. During the long winter months, being able to go to the museum instead of watching another video is a real treat.

It has taken some effort, but the family entertainment we have discovered on our limited budget is fun and fascinating, and keeps us an active, involved family. -- INNOVATIVE IN MILWAUKEE

DEAR INNOVATIVE: Your entertainment suggestions are just the ticket for families on a tight budget and those who value education. I have always encouraged young people to avail themselves of libraries, for books open up new worlds, real and imagined. Museums and libraries contain the knowledge and imagination of mankind's best -- treasures more valuable than gold and precious jewels. Readers, I recommend this. Positive results are almost guaranteed.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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