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by Abigail Van Buren

Girlfriend's Past Indiscretion Gnaws at Man in Here and Now

DEAR ABBY: I was shocked and hurt recently when my grandmother wrote me a letter about the level of "disrespect" I supposedly "heaped on her" during a recent visit. I am 37 years old, and while visiting her after the funeral of a relative, I showed her some photographs of me and my fiance.

My fiance is a tall, handsome, African-American man I met and fell in love with two years ago. The "disrespect" she was alluding to in the letter was "because her granddaughter was involved with a black man."

Abby, I was raised to accept people for who they are, lovingly and with respect, regardless of color or ethnicity. I do not want to be disrespectful of my grandmother or hurt her, but my fiance and I were married on April 15 and we are very happy. My question is, can old grandmothers be taught new tricks? -- OFFENDED IN CARTERVILLE, GA.

DEAR OFFENDED: Some can, when they see their grandchild is happy in a stable marriage; others are too firmly entrenched in their biases to change their thinking. Remember, you and she are from different generations, and although mixed marriages are not uncommon these days, they were when your grandmother was growing up.

In your case, I wouldn't count on teaching Granny any new tricks, because her mind appears to be locked tighter than Guantanamo Bay. But hold a good thought.