DEAR ABBY: This may seem inconsequential, but there seems to be a growing trend of omitting a woman’s maiden name in obituaries. As someone in my 70s, I read the obits more often, but I know I have missed opportunities to send condolences and offer childhood stories to family members of former playmates because I didn’t know their married names. Often, parents are just mentioned as “deceased.” It’s as though the woman’s life did not begin until she got married.

I have sent cards to many of the families of male classmates, but only to a handful of the females’. I realize that column space in newspapers is expensive but, surely, a name and perhaps even the mention of a high school wouldn’t be a problem. — MISSED CONDOLENCES

DEAR MISSED: If this is a “trend,” it hasn’t hit my local newspaper. The contents of obituaries are provided by the deceased’s family unless the person is a celebrity — in which case the article is written in advance by a reporter. If the maiden names of the women who died are missing, it is probably because they weren’t mentioned by the grieving relatives.


Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I’m a private duty nurse in my 50s and have two grown children. It’s hard work. I have one big problem, which is very embarrassing. I used to work in a hospital and, because of the hectic work schedule, I had to eat fast. Our lunch break was only 30 minutes, and I had to stand in line to get my food. I never broke the habit.

I was eating at a restaurant recently and some people sitting across from me commented about it. The man said, “She eats like she’s starving!” Now I feel insecure about going out to eat. Can you make a suggestion? I don’t like takeout. — FAST EATER IN TEXAS

DEAR FAST EATER: I do have one. When you take a bite of food, make a conscious effort to chew it 10 times. It will slow you down and it’s better for your digestion. However, if you are unable to do that, then I suggest you stop listening to rude comments aimed in your direction by strangers.

P.S. Having a small snack an hour before mealtime may help you to eat more slowly because you won’t be quite as hungry.


DEAR ABBY: Recently, family members have started texting to inform me about personal, private matters. When they do, I text back, which sometimes leads to lengthy paragraphs. I wish they’d just call me! I’m beginning to wonder if that’s what they are avoiding. I should add that I am not feuding with my family. Am I wrong? — PERPLEXED IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR PERPLEXED: No, you are not wrong. People have become so enamored of their electronic devices they seem to have forgotten that sometimes it’s more efficient to just TALK to the other party. I know from personal experience that emailing and texting can take far more time than a spoken conversation.


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


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