DEAR ABBY: After Grandma passed away at the age of 101, the thought of dismantling her home and dispersing her belongings was heartbreaking because her house had remained unchanged for so many years. I knew we couldn't keep everything, but never seeing her house again was too much to bear.
I asked my cousin to take photos of every room, every hallway, every closet and every view inside and out, so I could make an album of "Grandma's House." Now I have an album of photographs that makes me feel like I'm standing in the middle of it again. My cousin even photographed the auction in which we sold the things none of the family wanted or couldn't fit in their homes.
With all these reality TV programs that deal with hoarding and clutter, I wanted to share this idea as a healthy alternative to keeping "things" in place of memories. Looking at my photo album is even better than having the actual items, because everything is in the setting I remember. What I'm trying to convey is -- sometimes you really can't take it with you, and a picture is the next best thing. -- JULIE IN BRADENTON, FLA.
DEAR JULIE: Thank you for a valuable suggestion. I'm sure I'm not the only grandchild who wishes that she had thought of it when my grandparents' home was being dismantled. I'm sure that looking at your album brings back a multitude of happy memories.
DEAR ABBY: I love my fiance, "Charlie," dearly, but I have one problem. When I first met him he was wearing some platform boots I thought were out of style. He claimed he wore them because he's short. I don't think that's a good excuse. I think he just likes them.
I have mentioned to Charlie numerous times that those boots have had it and nobody wears them anymore. He gets upset when I tell him. I think he's old-fashioned about some things. When we go shopping, I show him other types of boots -- to no avail. How can I get him to start wearing footwear that is more up-to-date and looks better? -- CAN'T GET THROUGH, HAMMOND, LA.
DEAR CAN'T GET THROUGH: You can't. And the more you nag Charlie, the more stubborn he will become. You can encourage him. Point out other styles of boots that will give him the "boost" in height he thinks he requires. But in the end, if you don't accept Charlie just the way he is, he may end up giving YOU the "boot."
DEAR ABBY: I host many casual backyard parties and invite my family as well as my husband's. My family always declines for one reason or another, even when they are the only ones invited -- so I have quit asking them to most of my gatherings because I'm always rejected.
When they get wind of a barbecue that we have had, they become offended that they weren't invited. I explained that because they always decline, I assumed they wouldn't be interested. Abby, must I continue to invite them so they can reject me? -- OFFENDED AND HURT IN DES MOINES
DEAR OFFENDED AND HURT: Not in my book. You'll have less pain if you accept that you can't please everyone. It appears that with your family you are damned if you do and damned if you don't, and I see no reason why you should continue to invite anyone who continually refuses to come.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)