DEAR ABBY: I completely agree with your reply to "Sorry No Vacancy" (Nov. 2), advising the writer to stand her ground regarding the vacation house. It appears she was raised in a household with brothers who were used to bossing their sister around, and a mother who allowed the boys to do it.
They had their chance to work on the house, but lacked the vision and work ethic their sister had. They sold her their share and contributed nothing to the final result. They have no right to now claim ownership privileges. If the mother thinks her sons need a second home to vacation in, she should pass out keys to her own house.
As you may have guessed, I grew up in a home where boys were more valued than girls, and I remember how hard it was to strive for equal respect. -- KATHRYN B., BETHEL, ARK.
DEAR KATHRYN: Many readers had the same reaction as yours: The problem is the brothers' greed, and the "key" to her dilemma should be to remove the welcome mat. "Sorry" should enjoy her vacation home because she deserves to. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: "Sorry's" situation reminded me of the story of "The Little Red Hen," in which the cat, dog and mouse slept all day while the little red hen planted, sowed, watered and milled the grain. Then when the bread was baked, the dog, cat and mouse all wanted to "help" eat it. The little red hen wouldn't give them one bite because she had done all the work.
Those jealous brothers need to back off and let their sister have her house. I wouldn't even invite them for a picnic. Perhaps then they'd learn their lesson like the animals in that famous children's story.
Stick to your guns, girl! -- HOPING YOU DO IN WASHINGTON
DEAR ABBY: I am a retired banker and have dealt with a number of family situations similar to the one in "Sorry's" letter. Her brothers are deadbeats. They are more than happy to enjoy the benefits of the completed project, but were nowhere to be found when the planning, expense and work were being done.
"Sorry" has tried to handle this correctly from the beginning. Each brother was given the opportunity of equal ownership. They all opted to take the money and run.
What "Sorry" should do now is what she did in the beginning: have the property appraised in its improved condition, then offer to let each brother buy -- at current market value -- an equal position or buy the property in full.
By the way, I have never seen one deadbeat pay up. These guys ran the first time, and they'll run again. People like them always do. -- BOB B., DESTIN, FLA.
DEAR ABBY: Years ago, our family cottage passed on to the second generation. It was rundown and needed costly repairs and renovations. My husband and I lived closest to it; consequently, we won the "work lottery."
I made my brothers an offer through an attorney: "I'll pay each of you your fair share of the assessed value of the cottage, and you will always be welcome for overnight visits." Everyone agreed, and my checks were sent out. It has been a grand open house ever since -- reunions, parties, etc. Twenty years have passed, generations of relatives still come and go, and I couldn't be happier. -- VISITORS WELCOME IN WISCONSIN