DEAR ABBY: Please allow me to share some hard-earned advice with your readers. The custom of making donations to a charity in honor of a loved one is common practice nowadays. Although I wholeheartedly support the idea, there can be “problems.”

I have learned the hard way to always send a sympathy card to the family, indicating that I made the donation. A close friend’s mother passed away, and I made a contribution to her favorite charity clearly indicating on the check “in memory of.”

After six months of not receiving an acknowledgement, I politely asked my friend how many donations had been made in her mom’s memory. Her answer was “none.” When I explained to her that I had sent a donation and so had many other people, she phoned the charity. Their answer was, “Sorry, we forgot to mail out the list”!

On another occasion a relative informed me that my name wasn’t on the list of donors. I told her to call the organization back because I had a canceled check. When she did, they informed her that the entire list hadn’t printed out correctly. – LESSON LEARNED IN PENNSYLVANIA

Thank you for writing. I’m sure your letter will raise some eyebrows. Readers, if you follow this advice, it could prevent some misunderstandings and hurt feelings, so file this information in your memory banks.

DEAR ABBY: My husband, “Rollie,” and I have an issue regarding his ex-wife, “Flora.” She lives seven hours from us in the same city as their grown children. Rollie sometimes goes without me to spend time with the boys. I don’t have a problem with not being included on these trips because I know my husband misses his sons and wants to spend “guy time” with them.

My issue is Rollie is too cheap to pay for a hotel – although we do have the money – so he stays with Flora. I don’t consider myself a prude, but I find this unacceptable.

Can you give me your view? Supposedly, at least one of the “boys” is staying there, too. – THE CURRENT MRS. IN JAMESTOWN, N.Y.

I can see both sides of this question. Rollie loves his money and you love Rollie, and his staying with his ex is a gut-level threat, whether real or imagined. Out of respect for your feelings, your husband should stay with one of his grown sons when he goes to visit. That way, he won’t have to shell out any money, and you won’t have to worry about appearances.

DEAR ABBY: I am 14, just got my first boyfriend, and I don’t know how to tell my mom. I don’t want to ask my friends because I don’t want them to know that I haven’t told my mom yet. She can be overprotective sometimes, and I’m afraid she will go crazy because her one and only daughter has her first boyfriend. I feel guilty because I don’t want to lie and not tell her about him. Please help. – DESPERATE IN LONGVIEW, TEXAS

Many people your age see each other in groups. If the young man isn’t already a part of your group of friends, start including him. That way, your mother can meet and get to know him, and the concept that you might like each other won’t be threatening to her. I agree that she must be told because you are at an age when a daughter should be able to tell her mother anything.

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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