DEAR ABBY: Last year, my 28-year-old, college-educated daughter, "Emma," married "Manny," a wonderful young man. The problem is, her brother (my son "Bruce") hates Manny because he is from a foreign country and not as well-educated as Emma. He feels Emma is wasting her life married to him.
Emma has told me she dated a lot of "well-educated jerks" and feels lucky to have found a wonderful, caring, loving, hard-working man who adores her. She doesn't care that she makes more money than Manny.
I am filled with resentment that Bruce and his family have cut themselves off. Emma and Manny are not welcome at Bruce's home for holiday dinners or family get-togethers. This has hurt my daughter terribly.
Bruce still wants to have a relationship with me, but I am so angry that it's difficult to be civil to him. My son is rigid and judgmental, and it is impossible to reason with him. I don't believe he will ever accept Manny into our family. Any advice? -- ANGRY MOM IN TULSA
DEAR ANGRY MOM: It appears you have raised a son who has the bigotry of Archie Bunker, but with none of the humor or charm.
Bruce cannot banish Emma and Manny from the family unless you and the rest of the family cooperate. My advice is to arrange alternative sites for family gatherings at holiday time and extend an invitation to Bruce and his little family. If they choose not to include themselves, it's THEIR problem. Don't make it yours.
DEAR ABBY: I am 16 and have never had a boyfriend or any romantic experience. Lately, a boy I met in summer school (I'll call him James) has shown some interest.
James has started calling me, and I think he might ask me out. I haven't really gotten to know him yet, but most of my friends think he's a loser because he's not particularly good-looking.
As much as I care about what my friends think, I want to give James a chance. Should I? -- MIXED-UP IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR MIXED-UP: Absolutely! But only if you are prepared to defend your choice and not allow your friends to make such a personal decision for you.
DEAR ABBY: I am in my mid-70s and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a year ago. I am doing well so far and very few people have been told about my illness. Only my children and a few close friends know.
I just learned that my daughter informed my husband's family of my diagnosis when she wrote them a note in her Christmas card. We are not close to his family. They have never bothered to call, write, attend weddings or our 50th anniversary celebration, even though we have continued to invite them.
Abby, I can't understand why my daughter felt the need to tell. She hardly knows them. I feel betrayed. I wish they did not know. Please help me. -- ANGRY AND HURT IN IOWA
DEAR ANGRY AND HURT: Your daughter was wrong to disclose that personal information without first discussing it with you. Your daughter may have been reaching out for support for herself and for you. Please forgive her.
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