Editor's Note: Hundreds of Ann Landers' loyal readers have requested that newspapers continue to publish her columns. These letters originally appeared in 1999.
Dear Ann Landers: How I wish I were a really good writer. Then, maybe I could put my thoughts into words and let you know exactly how I feel. I am an 86-year-old woman who is still keeping house, driving my car and enjoying life. I was blessed with a wonderful husband. He lived to celebrate 61 years of marriage with me.
This morning, I decided to do some washing. I put my clothes in the machine, patted the side of the washer and said, "Do your job." And it did! While waiting for my washing to be done, I sat in my living room and watched TV — waiting for the "ding" to tell me the washing was done. Then, I got up and put the clothes in the dryer.
Sitting there, I thought: Dear God, what a wonderful life I lead. How blessed we are with all the modern conveniences. Do we appreciate them? Then, I looked in my kitchen and saw an electric stove, a microwave, a refrigerator, a toaster, a mixer and many more items that I haven't listed.
I am not wealthy, but I'm not poor, either. I am just a simple, average, middle-class old lady who is living on Social Security and feeling truly blessed that I live in this wonderful country of ours. — Mary Tury in Stockton, Calif.
Dear Mary: Thank you for your beautiful, from-the-heart letter. Very few of us appreciate all the marvelous inventions of our time, especially those everyday appliances that make our lives easier. It was good of you to remind us.
Dear Ann Landers: I am a 55-year-old grandmother who has developed an online friendship with a 13-year-old girl in another state. "Emily" told me her parents divorced two years ago, and that she has not seen her father since. She said she thinks the reason is because her mother is still angry and won't allow the father to contact her. Emily does not know where her father is and told me, "I will never see him again."
I have begged Emily to talk to her mother, teachers, etc., but I don't know if she has. I also realize it may be that her father simply has no interest in seeing her, and that it is not the mother's fault at all.
Ann, why do parents do this to their children? Why does a 13-year-old girl have to tell a total stranger about her sorrow? I can be sympathetic, but I cannot really help. Why can't these parents see what they are doing to their little girl by making her feel abandoned?
It breaks my heart that this child is so unhappy. Please, Ann, tell those divorced parents to put their children's needs first. — Houston Grandma
Dear Grandma: Most divorced parents try hard to put their children first, but troubled children often pretend everything is fine because they do not want to cause additional disruption in their parents' lives. Please stay in touch with Emily, and be her friend and adviser. It sounds as if she could use both.
What's the truth about pot, cocaine, LSD, PCP, crack, speed and downers? "The Lowdown on Dope" has information on drugs. Send a self-addressed, long, business-sized envelope and a check or money order for $5 (this includes postage and handling) to: 737 3rd street, Hermosa Beach, CA, 90254. Lowdown, c/o Ann Landers, c/o Creators Syndicate, To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
ANN LANDERS (R)
Photo credit: Rachel Samanyi