DEAR ABBY: Don’t most of us enjoy stories from our parents’ and grandparents’ past? During the last few years of my mother’s life, she was confined to her home and then to a nursing home.

I urged her to write her memories of childhood in a lined notebook that I provided. On one hand, those stories needed to be preserved for my children, and on the other, it gave my mother a project to work on and keep her mind active. She enjoyed it and filled about 20 pages. She described her childhood days, then continued through courtship, marriage, my birth, struggles through the Great Depression, and the building of a new home. It gave us a clear view of times gone by – a family treasure in her handwriting.

My reason for writing this is to remind your readers to ask those old-timers to write their memories before those treasured stories pass into oblivion. – ROBERT H., BADIN, N.C.

DEAR ROBERT: Thank you for the reminder. And readers, maybe you should jot down your own memories yourselves. On another note, every year I hear from older people on fixed incomes who are worried because they don’t have enough money to buy gifts for their families. Something like this would make a priceless gift.

P.S. It could even be video- or audio-taped if a friend or family member has the equipment.

DEAR ABBY: When is the appropriate time to stop “baby talk” with your children? My son has just turned 3, and I’m starting to get looks from friends whenever I speak to him in an overly sweet way or use pet names. My family has a long history of “baby talk” that still gets used regularly. I always found it annoying, but now I find it difficult to break the habit with my son. Should I be addressing him as if he’s a little professor? I think a kid should still be treated like a kid. – JULIE IN SPRING, TEXAS

DEAR JULIE: You recall that when baby talk was addressed to you, you found it annoying. What it is, is condescending. The time to break the habit is now. Your son is no longer a baby, and if you continue talking to him as if he is, he, too, will find it embarrassing.

Treat him in a way that is age-appropriate, but teach him proper English and correct terminology now so there will be less for him to unlearn when he’s around his peers.

DEAR ABBY: My brother is being married soon, and he’s planning to have his dog serve as the ring bearer in the wedding. My 2-year-old daughter will be the flower girl.

My mother thinks that having a dog in the wedding is disrespectful, and she’s worried about what the guests will think. She plans to tell my brother that she doesn’t approve.

The dog is well-behaved, and, frankly, my daughter is more likely to cause a problem than the dog. I think a wedding is completely up to the couple, and they should do whatever will make the day special for them. What do you think? – DOGGONE WEDDING PARTY

DEAR WEDDING PARTY: Point out to your well-meaning mother that everyone in the family will be happier if she worries less about what the wedding guests will say and concentrates more on the happiness of the occasion. Your brother having his dog as his ring bearer isn’t as “fur out” as she fears. It has been done by other animal lovers before, and I’m sure it will be again.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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