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by Abigail Van Buren

Memory Book Keeps Deceased Parent Alive for Years Ahead

DEAR ABBY: For more than 20 years, my husband and I have been giving gifts to his nephew, "Barry." Barry and his family live 1,300 miles away from us. We haven't seen any of them since Barry was 11. We rarely hear from him or his parents except on occasions when we're asked to send a gift. We have never received a thank-you from Barry, other than his endorsement on our check. Now Barry is being married.

My husband and I made a large contribution in the names of the bridal couple to a national charity we care about. We also sent a lovely card congratulating them and telling them about our gift. We hope this will honor the occasion, do some good for people in need, and stem the tide of gift requests. What do you think? -- NOT BUYING IT IN COLORADO

DEAR NOT BUYING IT: Don't count on it. If the pattern holds true, you'll be hearing from Barry or his parents every time a new child arrives and on their birthdays and graduations as well. However, revenge is sweet. By giving them the gift you did, you have guaranteed they'll be solicited by that charity and others till the end of time.