DEAR ABBY: I have never written to you before, but I'd like to get this off my chest.
Two years ago, I moved 1,200 miles from the East Coast to my hometown in Colorado. I left all my friends behind, people I had known for at least five years -- and some for as long as 20 years. I have spent a bundle on cards, stamps and photos in an effort to keep in touch with those I love and miss. I want them to know "I care about you" and "You're worth the time and effort for me to stay in touch."
The problem, Abby, is that very few of these people have replied to my letters. I realize that people are busy, or they may not enjoy writing letters like I do. But even a postcard would make me happy. My feelings are hurt because of their lack of effort. I've tried telling myself, "So don't write them anymore," but that is just not me. I've always been the one who keeps people in contact with others. I like letting people know that they're not forgotten.
Abby, please remind people that spending maybe 10 minutes to write a letter may make a world of difference, especially to someone who lives far from friends. -- MISSING THEM IN COLORADO
DEAR MISSING THEM: The art of letter writing has changed with the times. E-mail, faxes, form letters and quick phone calls are time-savers for busy people. Consider making a game of it, by sending a short, humorous questionnaire asking your friends specific questions about their lives and loves. Be sure to include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Or better yet, telephone or e-mail instead of writing a letter.
DEAR ABBY: I hope you can stand another "grandmother story." She's been gone for a few years, but we still get a laugh over this one:
I was married in 1976. I had a beautiful morning church Mass and afternoon reception. Gram selected a gorgeous dress for the reception. Because she had no time to change after Mass, she wore a lovely coat and hat -- hats were worn at that time -- for church.
Pictures were taken outside after Mass; then we were off to the reception. We had planned to take a four-generation (all female) photo at the reception. When the time came, Gram was still decked out in her hat and coat. Well, we asked her to remove the winter garb for the photo -- and she said she couldn't. It seems that while she was dressing, she decided to give her hair one last heavy coat of hair spray. When she tried to remove her hat, it was glued to her hair!
Now when I get lonely for Gram, I take out my album and look at that photo -- everyone in best dresses and my grandmother in her hat and coat. Twenty years later, it still makes me smile. -- STILL MISS GRAM, FORT WORTH, TEXAS
DEAR STILL: Hats off to you for sharing that smile.
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600