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by Abigail Van Buren

Man's Secret Stash of Love Letters Has Uncertain Future

DEAR ABBY: Seven years ago, my husband's "Aunt Selma" lent us $2,000 on our first home. We set up a payment plan and paid her faithfully.

A year later, our first child was born with a heart condition. Aunt Selma came to us and demanded that instead of paying her, we put the money toward the enormous hospital bills. We tried to refuse, but she insisted.

There was never any paperwork, just words spoken out of love -- until recently. Now she wants us to pay back the rest of the money. After all this time, I don't feel that's fair. This is causing a lot of stress in our marriage, and I need some guidance. Please help. -- INDIGNANT IN INDIANA

DEAR INDIGNANT: When you ran into financial hardship because of your child, Aunt Selma tried to lessen your burden. Please don't repay her generosity by withholding her money. She may be asking for it because she needs it now. So reinstate the payment plan and give her what she's due -- and I don't mean just the money.