DEAR ABBY: My sister had a childhood friend, "Denise," with whom she was very close in elementary school. They were friends only intermittently as they grew older, and Denise started getting into all kinds of trouble. When they were in college, my sister house-sat for my parents while they were on vacation, and Denise stayed with her. While she was there, she stole some expensive jewelry from my mother.
Although the family never confronted Denise about it, it was obvious that she took the jewelry, and my sister did not remain in contact with her after that.
My sister is now 40 and expecting her first child. I have offered to throw a shower for her.
A couple of years ago, Denise got in touch with my sister and they became friends again. I don't know much about her last 20 years, other than that she spent time in jail and is now a single mother to a teenage son and works for a non-profit agency.
Given her history with the family, I definitely do not want to invite Denise into my home for the shower, and my mother is adamant that she will not attend the shower if Denise is there. My sister wants to invite Denise because they are friends again, and she doesn't know how to tell her that she isn't invited. What do we do? -- "LORETTA" IN LOS ANGELES
DEAR "LORETTA": If your sister is not already aware of your feelings and your mother's, she should be enlightened. If she still wishes to invite Denise to her baby shower, then it will have to be held somewhere other than your home -- and your mother will not be there.
However, considering the circumstances, I think it's time your sister grew a backbone and explained to Denise that the theft left lasting hard feelings with the family -- which are understandable -- so she should not expect to be included at any family functions that include your mother.