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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I'm being married soon. My parents are paying for the entire wedding. My fiance, "Jim," and I wanted something small, but my parents decided to go all out. Although I'm grateful, I realize this has become my parents' party as much as it is our wedding.

Jim's folks and mine shared the cost of the engagement party, but it was MY mother who insisted on a copy of the gift list because she wanted to know who gave what.

She's already asking me how much Jim makes, how much we're paying for our honeymoon, and telling us how to spend our money and on what. Mother now says she "needs" the wedding gift list so she'll know for future reference what to give the gift-givers in return. Jim and I feel she's butting into our finances already and don't want to give her the list. We both think it's inappropriate. If you agree, how can we tell her delicately? My mother will take offense and say that since she paid for the wedding she has a right to know. -- SCARED OF MOM'S WRATH IN N.J.

DEAR SCARED: Since you already know that your mother will take offense, brace yourself for a confrontation. Tell her in no uncertain terms that the fact that she and your father have paid for the wedding does not entitle her to a copy of your gift list, nor access to your personal financial information.

She appears to be very controlling, and unless you want her running your life, you must draw the line now. If you can't stand your ground alone, you and your fiance should do it together -- and the sooner, the better. Good luck. You'll need it.

DEAR ABBY: There appears to be a tragic rebirth of bigotry today, here and elsewhere. And as usual, it is based on ignorance. In an old classic movie, "South Pacific" (1958), it was expressed in the lyrics of a song by Rodgers and Hammerstein:

"You've got to be taught to hate and fear.

"You've got to be taught from year to year,

"It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear,

"You've got to be carefully taught!

"You've got to be taught to be afraid

"Of people whose eyes are oddly made,

"And people whose skin is a different shade.

"You've got to be carefully taught!

"You've got to be taught before it's too late.

"Before you are 6, or 7, or 8 --

"To hate all the people your relatives hate;

"You've got to be carefully taught!

"You've got to be carefully taught."

Abby, perhaps it's time to reprint them. -- STUART BURDICK, COOS BAY, ORE.

DEAR STUART: Long before it was made into a movie, the play "South Pacific" was a smash hit on Broadway. One of its themes, an interracial romance between an American soldier and a young Polynesian girl, was considered controversial when the play opened on April 7, 1949. The wise and insightful lyrics written by Oscar Hammerstein II ring as true today as the pre-civil rights era in which they were written. Indeed, hatred and prejudice have to be carefully taught.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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