DEAR READERS: Last year I printed a letter from a California mother who wanted to share a letter she and her husband had received from their daughter the night before her wedding. It read:
"Dearest Parents: On our wedding day, as my husband and I take our vows and make promises to each other, I make this promise to you as well. Even as I take him into my heart and life, I promise to keep you, parents dear, in my heart and life always.
"On this day, know that our love is not divided; it is multiplied, and you are embraced with the full measure of love and promises that he and I share here today.
"For I know that I am able to love and cherish him so much because you loved and cherished me first."
I recently received the following letter from a Waterford, Mich., reader. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: You published a letter a couple received as a gift from their daughter the night before her wedding, and you responded that it was a beautiful tribute to them and that they had raised a winner.
I wept when I read the words of the letter, as I did when I first wrote them a few years ago. I am an owner of the Victoria Wedding Chapel in Waterford, Mich. The tribute was written by me with my own precious mother in mind -- to sell as a scroll to brides at my chapel.
It is now also sold by I Do Ltd., a mail-order firm in Newport Beach, Calif., from whom I receive royalties.
Although the California bride may have copied my words, it does not diminish her sincerity, for I have always known that the thousands of brides across the country who have purchased my scroll must have an extraordinary love and appreciation for their mothers or parents.
I wrote not so much to claim credit for the words, but because my own dear parents, Florence and Edwin Ostrander of Pontiac, Mich., both now gone, deserve the ultimate tribute. Indeed, I am a winner, for they instilled in me such love and gratitude that I was able to write words that touch the hearts of many brides, and among the thousands of letters you receive, touched you as well.
Abby, please set things straight, and let the world know about my wonderful parents. -- SHARON OSTRANDER REED
DEAR SHARON: Please accept my apology for any pain that was caused you because someone else claimed credit for your beautiful essay. Your parents raised a very special daughter, and your words have inspired countless brides and deeply touched their parents.
Readers who quote the writings of others should always remember to credit the author.