DEAR ABBY: From time to time you have mentioned how to order “Please Call Police” banners in your column. They are not only a wonderful idea, but also an effective way to assist people with disabilities – a concept that has become meaningful to me since turning 88 last January.

Last winter the power went out and my cell phone charger stopped working. All my phones were dead. Lucky for me, the power came back on in my area by noon, but it didn’t in other areas. It can be alarming when we can no longer take charge in these emergencies. My sister checks on me, but when the phone lines went out, the message said “line busy,” so she didn’t know there was a problem.

I live in a mobile home park where folks take care of each other when we can. I called my neighbor across the street to tell him which window I will put my banner in if I need help, and he asked me if I would order one for him and possibly some for our other neighbors. Thank you for this service, Abby. If you print the ordering information again, it will help a lot of other folks. – ELIZABETH IN COLORADO

I’m glad to oblige. Every year that I have mentioned the “Please Call Police” banners, readers have sent me testimonials relating how handy they can be to have. People usually order two at a time – one for the windshield and another for the rear window of their cars – and keep them in the glove compartment.

This year, in addition to the banners and Mylar blankets, reusable “green” cloth shopping bags (for the ecology-minded) are also being offered. These are ideal for all your daily needs, including marketing.

The items are offered by the Westside Center for Independent Living, a nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities to live more independent lives. For a $4 contribution, you can order one banner, one Mylar blanket or one “green” (cloth) shopping bag from WCIL Banner, P.O. Box 92501, Los Angeles, CA 90009. (Please include an additional $2 per total order for postage and handling to each address and allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery.) For more information and secure ordering online, visit and click on “Police Banners,” “Emergency Blankets” or “Green Bags.”

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.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have decided to sell our house and move south. We plan to purchase a mobile home. I asked our adult children what they thought of our decision.

One son made a quick trip home. Most of what he had to say pertained to issues from the past. One remark stung: He said that my husband and I had not showered or used deodorant on the day of my mother’s funeral. True, we didn’t shower that morning, but we had the night before. Because we depend on well water and had three extra people in the house, we wouldn’t have had enough for all five of us to get a warm shower. We did use deodorant and cologne, and my husband put on aftershave.

We were crushed by our son’s comment. I no longer wish to be an overnight guest in his home because I know they will be watching my every move. I would be preoccupied with worry about whether I have body odor. I love my son and our daughter-in-law, but the thought of being around them now makes me uncomfortable. – NOT A SMELLY MOTHER

DEAR NOT: Your son was obviously angry with you and his father when he made that trip to see you. Could it have been because he felt that the house should be a part of his inheritance? Whether or not you bathed or showered on the morning of your mother’s funeral is, frankly none of your son’s business. What doesn’t pass the “sniff test” is that he would throw it up to you at this late date.

I don’t blame you for feeling reluctant to be a houseguest in your son’s home, nor should you, until he displays a serious attitude adjustment and offers the apology you are due.

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