Originally Published: November 26, 2017 5:55 a.m.
Dear Annie: Please settle a disagreement between my elder sister and me. We will abide by your decision. I recently turned 85 and don’t expect to see Christmas, as I am in very poor health. I have been passing heirlooms on to family members, primarily to my granddaughters and their kids, as I lost my eldest son in the early ‘80s to AIDS and my daughter in 2012 to alcohol.
I want to give my coin collection and gold watches to my ex-son-in-law, my granddaughters’ father. Even though he and my daughter divorced 40 years ago, he has always treated me very well, so much better than my daughter did. I’ve known him since he and my daughter were 15, and he has always been polite and considerate, sending my husband and me photos of our grandkids and great-grandkids over the years. When we couldn’t attend his eldest daughter’s wedding, he sent us a beautiful video of the event. When we would attend a family function at one of his daughters’ homes, he and his current wife would always spend time talking to me and listening to my family history stories. If not for my granddaughters and their father, I don’t know what I would have done.
I have always admired the relationship he has with his daughters and grandkids and the way he cares for his wife. It is such a great pleasure to be in their presence and see the family life they enjoy.
My sister says that to give my things to my ex-son-in-law would be a slap in the face to my late daughter. My sister has always disapproved of my daughter’s marriage, even though she knows what a fine man he is. He already has some collectable coins, and I think he would appreciate mine. So what do you think? Should I give my things to him? — Wish I Could Give Him More
Dear WICGHM: Your possessions are yours to give. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks -- not your sister and not me, either. But since you asked, I will say that your former son-in-law sounds like a wonderful man, and I think passing these heirlooms down to him would be a sweet way to honor the special friendship you’ve shared throughout the years. Sweeter still, he actually collects coins, so you can be sure he’ll treasure the collection.
Dear Annie: Some time ago at a kiosk in a shopping mall, I witnessed a mother and the operator trying to hold down a little girl, who was about 4 years old, while they tried to pierce her ears. The adults were laughing as if it was great fun. The child was terrified, fighting and screaming. Wouldn’t a police officer have been justified in arresting both of those adults and charging them with child abuse? Should I have interfered and called the police? — Wish I Had
Dear Wish I Had: I got shivers reading your letter. It’s one thing for a 4-year-old to be held down for a vaccination shot that could be lifesaving, but for pierced ears? Where was that mother’s judgment? The fact that you are still thinking about it says that you are a good person, and yes, I would have called the police, but I also understand why you did not — probably because you couldn’t believe what you were seeing.