There's no need to cast aspersions on siblings
Dear Annie: I'm in my early 50s, having emigrated from London almost 11 years ago. I have six siblings, all of whom have settled down and remain comfortably married for over three decades.
Since arriving here, I have yet to receive a telephone call from my siblings, even though I have called them several times. They send birthday and Christmas cards, but that's it. Of course, I've always been very independent and have learned to stand on my own two feet, but they are the opposite. They are so co- dependent on their partners that divorce would never be an option. They would sooner die first.
I have been very good to my nieces and nephews over the years. Should I put a stop to the calls? I tried it for almost a year, and they still did not bother to contact me. I'm the youngest -- single and extremely happy that way. F.M.
Dear F.M.: It isn't unusual for much older siblings to feel remote, especially if they are married with children and you are not. It isn't rejection. It's a matter of shared experiences growing up and having things in common. It sounds as if you've been trying to prove yourself to your siblings, and since you can't seem to get a rise out of them, you cast aspersions on their character. (Being comfortably married for three decades is not an indication of co-dependency problems.)
After all these years, it is unlikely that you will change the way your siblings relate to you, but it won't hurt to inform them (nicely) that you wish there were more contact from their end. They won't know if you don't tell them.
Dear Annie: I read your column every day to learn American customs. I would like to know the proper way of addressing an envelope.
Is it OK to write just the last name, like "Mr. Smith"? What if their last name is very unusual? How about addressing a family? Can I address it to "The Smith Family," or do I need to say "Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Family"? What if they have no children?
And last, when is the proper period to send Christmas cards? Want to Know
Dear Want to Know: Address envelopes with "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith," using the first name as well as the last. Some women object to being addressed by their husband's first name, and prefer "Ms. Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith" on the envelope, each with its own line. This is OK, too. For the entire family, formal address (i.e., wedding invitations) requires that you use the full name of the parents, followed by the full name of each child living in the house (adult children get separate invitations), but informal address (i.e., Christmas cards) allows for "The Smith Family" or any variation of that. If a couple has no children, it would be inappropriate to use "family" unless they live with other relatives. You can send Christmas cards from Thanksgiving to New Year's. Hope that covers everything.
Dear Annie: This is for "Still Young," whose 71-year-old mother took on a part-time job. Some of Mom's children object. Young people worry about us "doing too much," but the real problem is, we don't have enough to do.
If a job is too difficult, our bodies will make us quit, not our kids. I am 72 and drove my pick-up from Austin, Texas, to Rapid City, Iowa, last April. I went to work in a local truck stop, was a waitress for five months, and when it started to kill my feet, I quit. But the exercise was great, and I have met women here in their 90s who can work circles around me. When it comes to work, people should set their own limits, regardless of age. F.W.
Dear F.W.: People half that age can have a tough time being on their feet for that length of time. We are impressed.
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