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by Abigail Van Buren

Wedding Day Promise Is Tribute to Loving Parents

DEAR READERS: Last year I printed a letter from a California mother who wanted to share a letter she and her husband had received from their daughter the night before her wedding. It read:

"Dearest Parents: On our wedding day, as my husband and I take our vows and make promises to each other, I make this promise to you as well. Even as I take him into my heart and life, I promise to keep you, parents dear, in my heart and life always.

"On this day, know that our love is not divided; it is multiplied, and you are embraced with the full measure of love and promises that he and I share here today.

"For I know that I am able to love and cherish him so much because you loved and cherished me first."

I recently received the following letter from a Waterford, Mich., reader. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: You published a letter a couple received as a gift from their daughter the night before her wedding, and you responded that it was a beautiful tribute to them and that they had raised a winner.

I wept when I read the words of the letter, as I did when I first wrote them a few years ago. I am an owner of the Victoria Wedding Chapel in Waterford, Mich. The tribute was written by me with my own precious mother in mind -- to sell as a scroll to brides at my chapel.

It is now also sold by I Do Ltd., a mail-order firm in Newport Beach, Calif., from whom I receive royalties.

Although the California bride may have copied my words, it does not diminish her sincerity, for I have always known that the thousands of brides across the country who have purchased my scroll must have an extraordinary love and appreciation for their mothers or parents.

I wrote not so much to claim credit for the words, but because my own dear parents, Florence and Edwin Ostrander of Pontiac, Mich., both now gone, deserve the ultimate tribute. Indeed, I am a winner, for they instilled in me such love and gratitude that I was able to write words that touch the hearts of many brides, and among the thousands of letters you receive, touched you as well.

Abby, please set things straight, and let the world know about my wonderful parents. -- SHARON OSTRANDER REED

DEAR SHARON: Please accept my apology for any pain that was caused you because someone else claimed credit for your beautiful essay. Your parents raised a very special daughter, and your words have inspired countless brides and deeply touched their parents.

Readers who quote the writings of others should always remember to credit the author.

DEAR ABBY: I grew up with a very old-fashioned mother. Living with someone before marriage was against her rules. How I wish I had broken that rule and lived with my first husband before I married him. We dated for five years, but after our wedding I discovered that I really didn't know very much about him. Besides being a total slob, he used drugs. I didn't know that before I lived with him.

I divorced him and am now married to a wonderful man who is neat, sweet and drug-free. We were engaged after dating eight months and were married six months later. Yes, Abby, I lived with him first, and this time I knew what I was getting into. After the experience I had with my first marriage, even my old-fashioned mother approved of my "trial run." -- HAPPY THE SECOND TIME AROUND, SAVANNAH, GA.

DEAR HAPPY: I'm from your mother's generation. However, if you are happy and she approves, who am I to criticize a winning combination?

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