DEAR ABBY: The "birds and bees" stories in your column have given me great amusement. I have one from a different angle.
I was writing a story set in the Old West, and as research for it (with some reservations) I asked both my widowed grandmothers, who were born in the 1890s, about their sex education. They were both happy to share.
One said that her mother had told her nothing. She had learned everything from female cousins and books.
The other grandmother said that her parents had been quite modern for their time. They had told her everything. Here she paused and thought for a moment. Then with a twinkle in her eye, she said, "But they neglected to say what a rewarding experience it could be!" -- MARY ALEXANDER, SACRAMENTO
DEAR MARY: Your grandmother's parents believed in the element of surprise.