DEAR ABBY: I recently lost both of my parents within three months of each other. My oldest son was very close to his grandparents, and when I tried to find a reasonably recent picture of them, I had difficulty finding one.
I'm the one who takes the photos, but I'm rarely in one. I've used several excuses: too fat, I don't photograph well, etc. But after trying to locate a picture for my son, I began to think, "If something should happen to me, would my children have any photos to remember me by -- or to show to their future families?"
Abby, perhaps this can help change the minds of other camera-shy people. The people who love you don't care how photogenic you are. Also, remember to photograph the people you see every day, because one day they won't be there anymore. -- HOLLY W., BANGOR, MAINE
DEAR HOLLY: Thank you for a valuable letter. And while I'm on the subject of family pictures: Readers, take time to go through that box of pictures you've stored in the back of your closet and write the names (and dates) on each one while you can still remember them.
DEAR ABBY: My first wife and I got married right out of high school. She was the girl of my dreams, and I was ecstatic to possess her. I couldn't have been happier. Then my father died, leaving me a seven-day-a-week business that didn't allow much time for my marriage. When she had a problem, I was frequently too tired to listen. She wasn't a pushy woman, and it was easy for me to believe the problem had resolved itself when she stopped bringing it up. How wrong I was!
After six years of marriage, she found someone who made her feelings a priority. Apparently he took the time to listen to her. My best friend and my former wife are now very happy together.
I am now 28 and married for the second time. There are still times when I find myself reverting to old habits. Sometimes I'm very tired, but I know I must make the effort to hear what she has to say -- or I will lose her, too.
I hope my first and second wives both read this letter, because I would like to say I'm sorry to my first wife, and thank you to my second.
Abby, to your other male readers, I say, "Remember, there's always someone out there willing to console a hurting woman. Don't give him the chance." -- STILL LEARNING OUT WEST
DEAR STILL LEARNING: That's sage advice from someone who learned an expensive lesson in communication.
DEAR ABBY: I am part of a car pool to after-school activities, and at my mother's instructions, I always say "Thank you" to the driver after getting out of the car.
My friends question this, saying the parent has offered to drive us, so a "thank you" is not necessary.
Abby, isn't it rude to get out of a car, after being given a ride, without so much as a "goodbye and thank you"? -- SANTA ROSA
DEAR SANTA ROSA: Yes, it is rude. Your friends who say a "thank you" is not necessary are mistaken. I advise you to continue to thank the driver after every ride.
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.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600