DEAR ABBY: I loved your reply to the woman whose nasty mother-in-law expects her college-bound grandson to call and visit and do her chores on weekends. This after years of playing favorites with his cousins and disrespectful treatment of his mother. The woman asked what to say to her mother-in-law when she called and demanded the young man's phone number.
You advised her to tell her mother-in-law that college is a big adjustment, that the young man has her telephone number with him, and in the meantime she'll have to find someone else to do her chores.
I have a further suggestion -- turn the phone over to her husband when nasty grandma calls and starts complaining. Let HIM do the explaining.
I'm sick of people who advise turning the other cheek or keeping peace in the family. If people want respect, they had better act like they deserve it. -- EX-RELATIVE AND GLAD OF IT
DEAR GLAD: You are correct that respect is something that cannot be demanded or bought. It's something that must be earned. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: That "mean" grandmother could have been my grandma. She never liked my mother and constantly criticized her in front of us and other relatives. She favored the other grandkids and ignored us.
My mother never held a grudge against my grandmother. Mother encouraged us to ignore the nasty comments. She said that in time, Grandma would realize the error of her ways.
For years, I would go to my grandmother's house and clean the pool, do housework and pull weeds in her yard. My sister would also help, but my brother was less forgiving. He wanted nothing to do with her.
My sister, brother and I have all turned out well. We have college educations and successful careers. The "favored" grandkids are either unemployed or still living with their parents.
Grandma passed away recently. Her "last will and testament" speaks volumes. In it, she stated that she had given money and gifts to her other children -- none of whom had ever lifted a hand to help when she needed it -- so she was leaving her sizable estate to my family, including my mother.
My mom cried. -- A BIG FAN IN CANOGA PARK, CALIF.
DEAR FAN: Your mom may have cried, but each time I read your letter I can't help smiling. Your mother's kindness and a lifetime of turning the other cheek paid dividends -- literally.