DEAR ABBY: I have a daughter who is 50 years old. When she was born, my wife and I named her Susan. Recently, Susan joined a religious organization. It seemed like a good Christian organization, but she has now changed her name to "Rose ..." (I won't bother you with the rest of the name, but there's more to it.)
For 50 years, I have called her Susan, and the habit is so strong that it's hard for me to start calling her "Rose ..." even if I wanted to, which I don't. If I slip and call her Susan, she objects strenuously, repeatedly calling attention to my error.
I think she should be happy that others in her group use her new name, but there is nothing wrong with the name we gave her, and we do not want to call her anything else.
I am 82 years old, and it is hard for old dogs to learn new tricks. What do you think, Abby? -- SUSAN'S FATHER IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR SUSAN'S FATHER: I think it is unrealistic of your daughter to expect you to remember her new name. Remind her, "... that which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet." (William Shakespeare)
DEAR ABBY: I didn't read the original letter from the man who won't touch the hospital patients he visits, but I did read the comment from Bob Burns, the hospital chaplain in Florida who wrote to tell him that he can't "catch" anything from simply touching a sick person. Abby, may I add my two cents to the discussion?
Last winter I was in Arcadia Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, Calif., with the flu, pneumonia and something else the doctors couldn't identify. (It turned out to be meningitis.) In spite of the fact that I was pretty much out of things, I overheard the neurologist tell my nurse that he was going to give me a spinal tap, and asked her to distract me. Well, when I heard "spinal tap," I was panic-stricken.
The nurse knelt by the side of my bed and took my hands between hers and started to talk. Suddenly, she let go of my hands, peeled off her gloves, and then she clasped my hands again. Do I have to tell you how much more comforting the touch of her warm skin was than latex?
Abby, I don't remember that nurse's name, but I will never forget the compassion she showed that day. I didn't even feel the needle go in. -- JOAN FRY, NEWHALL, CALIF.
DEAR JOAN: Thank you for a touching letter.
DEAR ABBY: The letter you printed from "Concerned in Oceanside, N.Y." regarding the neighbor lady meeting her lover in front of his house reminded me of a similar incident several years ago.
A married neighbor from down the hill would meet her friend in the parking strip of our side lot so her family wouldn't see her. This went on both day and night, and we, too, were concerned about the impressionable youngsters in the neighborhood.
After we figured out what was going on, we simply set up a few lawn chairs and invited the other neighbors over to observe the doings -- which moved elsewhere quickly and permanently.
Abby, could this have been the roots of the "Neighborhood Watch" programs? -- "BIG T" IN TACOMA, WASH.
DEAR BIG T: Well, it sure brings new meaning to the term!
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600