DEAR ABBY: From time to time I have read letters in your column about Peeping Toms. You might find our experience interesting.
Many years ago, soon after my husband, Klaus, and I arrived as newlyweds from Germany, we rented a small bungalow in L.A. There were seven of them in two rows behind our landlord's large home in the front.
Between our little house and our next-door neighbor's was a brick patio that extended from our bedroom window to her back door. Not long after we moved in, the woman began looking into our bedroom window on weekend mornings, pressing her nose against the glass. Because we were guests in this country, we didn't want to say anything, but we knew we needed to stop her.
My husband came up with the perfect solution. He placed a large mirror in the window frame. Sure enough, the weekend came and she peered into our window. Seeing her face reflected back, she dashed into her house and never looked again. -- LILO IN COSTA MESA
DEAR LILO: I like your husband's style. Your neighbor may not have gotten the thrill she was seeking, but she sure enough got the message.
DEAR ABBY: There is a segment of the population that I have not seen you address. It's the many women whose dreams of marriage and children never came true.
Society gives so much attention to women who are pregnant and have children. It is very difficult for us to hear people brag on and on about their children and pass around their pictures.
People need to develop sensitivity for those like me, who prayed 25 years for marriage and children, but who didn't get this "gift from God." -- ALONE IN THE NORTHWEST
DEAR ALONE: Parents bragging about their children and showing off pictures are natural reactions to having offspring. It is not meant to punish the childless.
There are thousands of children who desperately need the attention and affection you long to bestow, so please consider becoming an adoptive or foster parent, or volunteer with an organization such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America. The website is www.bbbs.org. Join the ranks and you, too, can experience the joys of rearing children and bragging as you show off your pictures.
DEAR ABBY: I am a freshman in college. I would like to transfer to a college that two of my best friends from high school attend, and also change my planned major. We have been friends since seventh grade, and we would like to rent a house over the summer and remain in it during the next school year.
My problem is my father. Daddy insists that I shouldn't live with my high school friends. He says I should concentrate on making new friends and see my old ones less often. He is making it sound like if I don't do what he wants, that I'll mess up my entire future.
Am I wrong here? Would living with my friends be that horrible? -- MIXED UP IN NEW YORK
DEAR MIXED UP: Your father may be concerned that you and your friends will be distracted and not apply yourselves fully to your studies if you share a house together. Although many first-year students change their planned majors, changing schools as well as your major and moving in with your friends may appear to your father as a retreat from adult responsibilities. The question you must answer is: Does he have cause to be concerned about your motives or your study habits?
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)