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by Abigail Van Buren

Grieving Parents Receive Disturbing Gift With Poise

DEAR ABBY: While I was at the grocery store, the woman in front of me said hello like she recognized me. I recognized her, but didn't remember her name or where I knew her from. I asked her some lame questions about art class, but it was obvious I didn't know her from there. It was very embarrassing.

The message I would like to give your readers is, please don't assume that someone can place you immediately. I am 70, and my memory is no longer as good as it used to be. The woman should have made sure I knew who she was, because it could have saved both of us from embarrassment. -- RED-FACED IN LEE'S SUMMIT, MO.

DEAR RED-FACED: I'm pleased to pass along your message. I have always thought the best policy in these situations is honesty. Because you were unable to place the woman, you should have told her you couldn't recall her name and asked her. To do so would not have been a breach of etiquette, and the encounter would have been less embarrassing for both of you.