Excessive Laughter Is No Laughing Matter Dear Annie: How do I tell my neighbors that it's annoying and frustrating to listen to their teenaged daughters shrieking and screaming as they're having fun outside? Often, I want to go out and play with my dog, but I can't because these girls are …Read more. Distressed Daughters Dear Annie: My father has always been especially unkind to my sister, "Portia." She always has had behavioral problems, not to mention she is a bit paranoid and has a ferocious temper. Portia also drinks too much and continues to contact her abusive …Read more. Scratching Out a Friendship with Red Pen Dear Annie: After living and working for 35 years in a large city, my husband and I were able to return to our hometown to help care for our elderly parents. I reconnected with a high school friend who asked me to work part-time in her large, …Read more. Happy Fourth of July! Dear Readers: Happy Fourth of July! Here's one of our favorite pieces, originally written in 1955 as a public relations advertisement for the Norfolk and Western Railway company magazine (now the Norfolk Southern Corporation) and updated in 1976. …Read more.more articles
Parenting as Mushy as the Mashed Potatoes
Dear Annie: My grandfather passed away last month, and the wake was catered by a close friend of the family who owns a restaurant. He closed off a section of his dining hall for our family.
The meal included 15 children under the age of 10, and they were absolute monsters. My nephew threw his shoe across the room and then tripped a waitress. These kids crawled under the tables, poking us with forks and smearing food into the carpet. My cousin's 8-year-old daughter put open condiment packets in my purse and a baked potato in my mother's coat pocket and then mashed it into the fabric.
People from the other area of the restaurant complained after my nephew threw food at them. My husband and I left, leaving a large tip for the servers. Other relatives did the same. The dining room was an utter disaster. Before we left town the next morning, my husband and I stopped by the restaurant and left additional money for the inconvenience of cleaning food out of the carpet. My grandmother asked the owner for a full bill of the damage and presented it to those children whose offspring made the mess. It started a huge family row, and of course, nobody is taking responsibility for their kids.
I've never seen such appalling behavior, and I doubt my grandfather would have appreciated such disrespect. My husband and I are tempted to send the restaurant owner an anonymous money order because we doubt he will otherwise be compensated.
My parents are supposed to have their 50th anniversary party at this restaurant next month, and the guest list is almost identical. They're too embarrassed to go, but don't want to lose their deposit. Should I send the money order? Whatever happened to manners? — Shocked Granddaughter
Dear Shocked: They apparently got stuck with the mashed potatoes. What terrible behavior from the parents who allowed their children to run amok.
We think your parents should go ahead with their plans to celebrate at that restaurant but issue invitations only to the adults. Children who are too immature to behave in public and whose parents refuse to control them should not be included in these events. We suspect your parents paid the cleaning bill, so instead of "donating" money to the restaurant, you might consider doing something special on your folks' behalf.
Dear Annie: Every time I look in the papers, I see articles about wars, death, etc., but never about the homeless, especially homeless children and runaways. Why is that? These children are our future. There seems to be money for everything from new jails to fixing swimming pools, but not a word about money for the homeless. Why? — Frustrated
Dear Frustrated: In the news business, death "sells." Runaways, not so much. But there are articles on the homeless if you look, and shelters are funded through federal, state and city government allocations, as well as by private philanthropy.
You sound like a kind person. Please look for a shelter in your area and volunteer your time. It would be much appreciated.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Cal in Maine," who complained that his grandchildren rarely communicate with him. I have reread and shared that letter many times.
I totally agree with him, as my older grandchildren seem to care little about keeping in touch. But I also now remember how little I cared about keeping in touch with my own grandparents 40 years ago. I guess what goes around comes around. — Lois in Omaha
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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