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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: During the late 1950s I was married to the prettiest girl I ever set eyes on. "Jenny" and I were in our early 20s and naive. Back then, it wasn't considered "manly" to talk over anything that might be bothering you, so there was little to no communication. Consequently, we weren't able to meet each other's emotional or sexual needs. After 18 years and two sons, we divorced.

Thirty-five years later, divine providence intervened and our paths have crossed again. Jenny and I are now talking, laughing, crying and loving together. Abby, please remind your readers that if they are having problems in their marriage to sit down and talk things over, with a counselor if necessary. Because we couldn't do that, we lost 35 years of good times.

We now see that neither of us ever lost that strong love we had for each other. She is still the prettiest grandmother I have ever laid eyes on. I never stopped loving her, and we have never been as happy as we are now. -- OLDER BUT WISER IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR OLDER BUT WISER: What you lost so many years ago you and Jenny have gained in life experience. Communication is the key to successful relationships, and I'm pleased that you have achieved it now. Your letter is an important one, and I hope my readers will take it to heart. May you both enjoy many more happy years together.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Marriage & Divorce

Even Bad Gifts Deserve A Thank-You

DEAR ABBY: How does one send a thank-you note for a really, really bad "re-gift"? This Christmas I received a battered box with old, wrinkled, ripped tissue paper thrown in with a couple of items that appeared to be part of another gift. It looked like a food gift basket had been divided and piecemealed out to make more gifts.

It is hurtful and insulting to be on the receiving end of something that's not even "giftworthy." I say, why bother at all. Please advise. -- ANONY-MISS OUT WEST

DEAR ANONY-MISS: The person may have felt obligated to give you something and been strapped for money for gifts. A gracious way to respond would be to thank the individual for thinking of you at such a meaningful time as Christmas. You do not have to lie and say the gift was "fabulous."

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics

Tips To Stay Healthy During Cold And Flu Season

DEAR ABBY: I work in an office with a woman who is a grandmother. She's very sweet but tends to get sick several times a year. As the mother of younger children, I have learned the "new school rules" on illness, like coughing or sneezing into your arm instead of your hand in an effort not to spread germs.

It seems my co-worker never got that memo, and I can't think of a tactful way to spread the message. Because cold and flu season is here, could you remind all your readers that this is a good preventative measure to reduce the spread of germs. Thanks! -- TRYING TO STAY HEALTHY IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR TRYING: Consider it done. However, a tactful way to get the word out would be to ask your boss or your supervisor to send a memo around the office -- and provide anti-bacterial wipes so that shared equipment and door and cabinet knobs can be sanitized after a sick employee uses them.

Read more in: Work & School | Health & Safety

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

DEAR READERS: Today we remember the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was martyred in the cause of civil rights in 1968. His words ring as true today as when he first uttered them: "We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope." His was a voice of reason in a time of insanity, silenced too soon.

Read more in: Miscellaneous

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.)