DEAR ABBY: I’m 13, and please don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful to be living in my parents’ house with my family. I know everyone isn’t as lucky as I am.

My room is sort of a problem, though. There isn’t enough room in my closet to hang anything. My dresser, which holds clothes that don’t fit me anymore, was made in 1956 and is falling apart. My bed looks like a crib and holds my sisters’ old bedding. I also have a desk that looks as if the hutch is about to fall off. It used to belong to my sisters, too.

My bed and desk are white, but the dresser looks like oak. The walls are white because Dad never wanted to paint them. Dad built our house three years ago – but he didn’t buy me a proper bedroom set like my sisters have.

During Christmas when I was in the sixth grade we all got computers. They got theirs in their room, but mine is in the study and is used by everybody, which means if someone wants to use it, I have to stop. I always get the last choice of everything, and I am sick of it. Please tell me how to convince my parents to fix my room. – OVERLOOKED IN INDIANA

DEAR OVERLOOKED: It’s hard being the youngest child and the last in line for hand-me-downs. My suggestion to you is to ask an adult – a relative to whom you can confide your feelings, or a friend of the family – to speak to your parents on your behalf. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

DEAR ABBY: I live in Canada, so I may not be familiar with all of your etiquette customs in the U.S. I was visiting relatives in the states recently, and my hosts invited a friend over who came with a bottle of Irish Cream liqueur. The friend knew that this was the hostess’s favorite drink.

After having a few glasses together, the hostess was told by her daughter that “good manners dictate that the hostess give back the half-empty bottle to the guest when leaving the party.” Can you please advise me if such a rule of etiquette exists? – CURIOUS IN CANADA

DEAR CURIOUS: If one exists, I have never heard of it. Traditionally, when someone brings food, alcohol, etc. to someone’s home, it is considered to be a “hostess gift,” and once a gift is given, it belongs to the host or hostess to do with as he or she wishes.

DEAR ABBY: I lost my husband, “Jon,” in 2003 after 14 wonderful years of marriage. He left behind not only a wife who adored him, but also our three children, who were 4, 8 and 12 at the time of his death.

When making announcements, I would like to recognize Jon as their father and as my former husband. How should they be worded? If I say, “The former Jon and Karen Jones,” I’m afraid it will sound like both of us died. Also, I would like to – hopefully – remarry one day. How would an announcement be worded then? – WANTS TO REMEMBER IN WHITESBORO, TEXAS

DEAR WANTS TO REMEMBER: When issuing announcements or invitations for your children, they should say “… the son (or daughter) of Mrs. Michael Ross and the late Jon Jones.”

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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