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12:31 PM Tue, Sept. 18th

Dear Annie: Acknowledging an empty card

Dear Annie: My daughter graduated from high school a few weeks ago and had sent out announcements to family and friends. She has been receiving congratulations cards and notes in the mail, and some have included monetary gifts to acknowledge her going to college in the fall or just in celebration of her big life event. Monetary gifts are definitely not expected, but I’m concerned about how to address a card that arrived from family friends who have been in our lives since my daughter’s birth; they are the in-laws of one of my siblings. The card arrived with nothing enclosed, and though that is not unusual, the envelope was open/unsealed (looked as though it was never sealed), and the card was inserted with the open portion facing up. I’m thinking one of two things happened. Either a check or cash was included and fell out or was taken out or nothing was enclosed and the envelope was mailed without being sealed well.

My quandary is whether I should mention something to the senders or not. If they did enclose something, they would want to know that it was missing when it arrived, but if they didn’t, I don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable by mentioning it. What is the best way to handle this type of situation? — Grateful for Love From Family and Friends

Dear Grateful: Before I answer your question, I want to tell you how much I love your signature. Gratitude is one of the best life skills that anyone can cultivate, and the fact that you are feeling gratitude for two of the most important things in the world — your family and your friends — is excellent. As for the card in question, your thoughts make perfect sense. If my check were taken or I didn’t seal my envelope, I would want my friend to tell me. Thank your longtime friends for the card, and explain to them the way the envelope arrived — that it looked as if someone tampered with it.

Dear Annie: How happy I was to see my name, Janie, in print in your column. The writer to you was frustrated when people misspelled or mispronounced her given name, so she chose the nickname Janie. Then she couldn’t win, as people got that wrong, too, calling her Jane.

No one can better relate to her anger than I can, for in my many years, I have had to live with some people insisting on calling me Jane.

It so happens that I’m proud of my name. Some years ago, a second cousin whom I’d never met surprised me with a letter saying she had found my name and address in her mother’s address book and she wanted me to know we have the same name. Thus began a correspondence between us. When she and her husband did a lot of traveling last summer, they went out of their way to come to Shreveport, Louisiana, to meet me and spend the day with me. Our names brought us together, she being named for her grandmother, who was my great-aunt.

A niece named after me visits often. When we’re out and about, we attract attention by calling each other Janie. I’m not always proud of myself, but I stay proud of my full name. — Janie Griffith

Dear Janie Griffith: It sounds as though you have a lot to be proud of, for your sibling to have named a daughter after you. Thank you for writing with a testament to how names can bring people together, too.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.