DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Patty," and her sister, "Anita," have a love-hate relationship. They can't be together for more than an hour without a major argument. Anita is usually the instigator of these loud, ugly disagreements.
My problem is, Patty feels I should confront Anita and put her in her place. I'd like to, but my feelings are so strong I'm afraid I'd have one hellacious, final argument with her and demand that she stay out of our lives forever. I'm afraid if Anita became aggressive I might hit her. I haven't hit anyone since childhood, and under normal circumstances can control my temper.
I've told Patty that although I support her, I can't do what she's asking. It has put quite a strain on our marriage. If I give in and have that final argument, I know Patty will miss her sister and want to make up with her. With that in the background, I know I wouldn't be comfortable with Anita in our home.
Should I do as my wife wishes and reprimand her sister, or tell my wife this is between her and Anita, and keep my mouth shut? -- BETWEEN THE "HATFIELDS AND MC COYS," LITTLE ROCK, ARK.
DEAR BETWEEN: Your wife is old enough and sufficiently experienced to fight her own battles. Your reasons for remaining neutral are compelling. Stay out of it.
DEAR ABBY: Last month a dear friend's husband passed away. The death notice placed in the newspaper by her son-in-law closed with, "Memorial donations to the Mary Jane Doe Educational Fund in care of John Doe appreciated."
Abby, Mary Jane is the deceased's 3-year-old granddaughter. John Doe, the deceased's son-in-law (who is a lawyer and is easily able to pay for his daughter's education), was asked, "Is the money to be used for a scholarship for a needy student?"
He answered, "No, it's for my daughter."
John Doe's mother is Jewish. So, is this a Jewish custom? -- CONFUSED IN CANADA'S CAPITAL
DEAR CONFUSED: Your letter is a first. No, it's not a Jewish custom. And the rabbi with whom I discussed your letter was as flabbergasted as I was.
DEAR ABBY: I have known and cherished "Ellen's" friendship for 36 years. We're both in our 70s now and have been corresponding regularly because we both live comfortably and well in different states. We look forward to receiving mail from each other.
However, for the last four years, Ellen's letters have been written on memo pads, odd pieces of paper or whatever appears to be available. The last one I received from her was written on three separate scraps of paper.
My letters to her have always been on pretty, matched stationery. Do you think Ellen would think I was implying she was cheap if I mailed her a box of stationery and asked her to use it to write to me? -- SICK OF SCRAPS, BILLINGS, MONT.
DEAR SICK OF SCRAPS: I have a better idea: Be subtler. Send her a lovely box of stationery with a note that says: "When I saw this, it reminded me of you and our many wonderful years of friendship -- so I thought you ought to have it."
A friendship of 36 years' duration should be more important to you than the kind of paper that sustains it across the distance.
Everybody has a problem. What's yours? Get it off your chest by writing to Dear Abby, P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069. For a personal reply, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600