DEAR ABBY: A few months ago, new neighbors moved into the house behind ours. The lots in our development are small and the houses are close together. The new people are not friendly. I don't know their names. The man installed sliding glass doors in their ground-level bedroom. He also built a 6-foot-tall privacy wall in front of it.
Our house is on a slight knoll, and when I am standing at my kitchen sink, I can see over the fence directly into their bedroom. They have drapes, but at night they turn on their lamps, watch TV and leave the drapes open.
I am uncomfortable seeing them get intimate on their bed. Since I can see them, I assume they can see me. Should I knock on their door and tell them? Or should I ignore it and put up a window shade in my kitchen window? -- BLUSHING IN BALTIMORE
DEAR BLUSHING: Since your new neighbors are "not friendly," I see no reason to knock on their door with the news. Write them a short note and explain that when the lights are on in their bedroom, it is illuminated like a stage at night. They can't see the audience, but the audience can see them clearly. You'll be doing them a favor.
If they ignore your note, instead of putting up a window shade and closing yourself in, consider planting a tree or large bush on your side of the fence that will block the view from your kitchen sink.
DEAR ABBY: The letters about the "shopping" grandma and the "cooking" grandma reminded me of my own two grandmothers who, though never competitive, were very different. Each created her own unique way.
My father's mother, Grancie, lived in a small Oklahoma town. She was a pillar of the church and was involved in many groups. When we visited Grancie, we attended Bible school, dances and sleep-overs with the kids from her church, sang in the choir, went to the rodeo, swimming pool, the famous catfish restaurant in town -- always something sociable and fun.
My mother's mother, whom we called Grandmother, was a homebody and an artist who had studied with Georgia O'Keeffe. When we visited Grandmother, we gardened, learned to sew, played dress-up in her 1930s-'40s clothes, climbed and dreamed in her three-story-tall magnolia tree. We made roads and castles in the sandbox she built for us, slid down the hill in cardboard boxes, experimented with the laundry chute -- and most exciting of all, we were allowed to paint in "our" corner of her studio.
She encouraged us to pursue whatever creative, imaginative avenue we found in her house, yard, garden, garage or basement.
Abby, each of my grandmas was wonderful in her own way, and I looked forward to being in their company. Today, I see the imprint of both these delightful, distinctive ladies in my own lifestyle. Best of all, I carry the warm memory that they both loved me enough to have shared their lives with me. I now have four grandchildren of my own, and I want to love and share myself with them as my grandmas did with me. -- KAREN SLIKKER, DAYTON, TENN.
DEAR KAREN: Thank you for a heartwarming letter. When God handed out grandmas, you were doubly blessed. Your grandchildren are fortunate indeed.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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