DEAR ABBY: My dad's first wife, "Peggy," got pregnant while he was overseas in World War II. When he came home, he divorced her and tried without success to get custody of their two kids. Peggy went on to have three more kids out of wedlock with three different men. She had sex in front of the kids, misspent their child support money -- you name it. She also put Dad's name on all of their birth certificates.
All of this came out when Dad sued her over child support, and it's recorded in court transcripts. Peggy told all the kids that he was their dad, turned his own two kids against him and generally made his life hell.
Dad married my mom after his divorce and was a great husband and father up until his death. I recently found out that the illegitimate kids have been using my dad's name to establish false legitimacy and respectability all their lives. Should I confront them and ask them to stop? Their mother died last year. -- RICHARD IN CORSICANA, TEXAS
DEAR RICHARD: What on earth could you possibly have to gain by confronting them? None of this is their fault. They may be living completely respectable lives. If your description of their mother is accurate, don't you think they have suffered enough without your attacking them and saying they have no right to use the name they've been using since birth?
As long as those people are not using your father's last name to defraud anyone, they have a right to call themselves anything they please. Your efforts would be better spent on living a happy and useful life, and bringing as much honor to your own name as you possibly can. I see nothing positive to be gained by what you have in mind.