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Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Student Wants to Belatedly Thank Anonymous Benefactors

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My best friend of several years and I are going to different colleges this fall, and will not see much of each other anymore. We want to keep in touch. I am close with her family; her parents are like an aunt and uncle to me.

Two years ago, we had an optional band trip, which cost right around $800. I was not going to go because my family couldn’t afford it, and then I was told that someone had paid the whole amount for me to go on the trip. I went and had a great time, especially with my friend.

After thinking about it, I realized that my friend’s parents were probably behind the anonymous gift, and my friend confirmed it when I asked. Should I acknowledge their generosity with a thank-you card?

It meant a lot to me that I got to go on that trip. And I feel that if I’m going to send a card, I should do it before I go to college. But it also has been two years, and since I wasn’t supposed to know it was them, I never said anything about it.

I don’t want to make them uncomfortable, since it was anonymous, but I also don’t want their generosity to go unrecognized. What would you suggest?

GENTLE READER: Circumstances have changed. Had you realized at the time that your friend’s parents were paying your expenses, you would have been obliged to protest. That is why they kept it from you.

But there is no question of that now. You have much for which to thank them -- not just the $800 -- and Miss Manners is pleased to see that you are eager to do so.

She trusts that you do not really mean to send a card -- some pre-printed thanks -- but a heartfelt letter. The thrust of it should be that they have been, as you said, like an aunt and uncle to you. You should mention your enjoyment of that trip as an example, adding that you were too naive at the time to realize that of course they were your benefactors.