DEAR READERS: I'll be on vacation between Aug. 18 and Aug. 31. Don't panic -- I've selected some of my favorite letters from past years to fill the gap. I hope you enjoy them.
DEAR ABBY: Brian (not his real name) and I met when we were 15 and 14. We were "sweet" on each other throughout the summer, but went our separate ways later in the fall. We kept in touch for a while, but eventually we lost all contact. That was 12 years ago. I am 26 now, graduated from college, married and "Mama" to two young sons.
In our community newspaper, I read that Brian and his wife have moved into our neighborhood. Considering that we live in a large city, New Orleans, I was quite astonished that someone I knew years ago would end up in our neighborhood.
My first impulse was to get in touch with Brian and rejoice at renewing an old friendship; then I wondered if it would be too forward and possibly be looked upon as improper by his wife. I'd like to be hospitable, but don't want my actions to be misinterpreted. What would you do? -- DIANA
DEAR DIANA: Since you now live in the same neighborhood, give it a little more time -- you may run into each other. If you don't, I see no harm in writing a note to him and his wife welcoming them to the neighborhood and inviting them to call you and your husband.
After all, you were only "sweet" on each other for one summer when you were a couple of kids.
DEAR ABBY: While our 39-year-old daughter is no raving beauty, she is better looking than most of the girls whose pictures you see in bridal veils in the Sunday papers. She is very intelligent and has lots of dates, and I know she has turned down several good marriage proposals.
When I ask her what she is waiting for, she says, "Don't rush me, Mom."
Is there any way I can get her to hurry up and think seriously of marrying and settling down? I am 55 years old and would like to see a few grandchildren before I leave this earth. -- IMPATIENT IN ILLINOIS
DEAR IMPATIENT: Many moms who have rushed their daughters into marriage see more of their grandchildren than they expected to -- they're raising them because the marriage didn't work out. If you're eager to see things hatch, raise chickens.
DEAR ABBY: I am a responsible 22-year-old woman living with my parents. I am going away for a month's vacation, and my problem is my parents and my guinea pigs. My parents have told me that the minute I am out the door they are getting rid of my guinea pigs.
I've told them that they won't have to do one thing because I've already made arrangements with a girlfriend to come by every day to feed them and clean their cages.
Abby, they still insist that the guinea pigs are going as soon as I leave. I have explained that the guinea pigs are my pets and not their property to do with as they please. Also, I said that I think I am old enough to take care of my affairs, but it is obvious that they have no respect for me or my wishes.
If they get rid of my guinea pigs while I'm gone, I will never forgive them. Tell me what you think should be done, and who is right. -- NO RESPECT
DEAR NO RESPECT: "Miss Piggy's Guide to Life" might be helpful here. I think you're right, but it's your parents' home and their wishes will prevail. If you want to be absolutely certain that you don't lose your pets, ask your girlfriend if she will look after them at her place. If that's not possible, find some other temporary home for your guinea pigs.
DEAR READERS: If you would like your letter considered for publication, please include your name, area code and telephone number.
For Abby's favorite family recipes, send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet No. 1, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)