Dear Ann: I am one of 13 children and the oldest girl. My parents are in their late 70s and in fair health. My mother recently informed me that when she dies, she wants me to have her mother's ring, which Mom has worn for years. She put the bequest in writing so there would be no dispute.
I appreciate her offer, Ann, but frankly, I don't think I should have that ring. Mom obviously thought it would become an heirloom for me to pass along to my own daughter, but I believe this ring should be buried with my mother. Just the thought of removing it from her finger makes me sad.
I don't want to hurt Mom's feelings. Tell me what to do. Ohio Daughter
Dear Ohio Daughter: It makes no sense whatsoever to bury jewelry. That ring should be an heirloom, and it is up to you to see that it is. The next person who owns that piece of jewelry will treasure it. Please reconsider your mother's offer. Someday that ring will be your most cherished possession. Trust me.
Dear Ann: Thank you for printing that letter from John Chestara complaining that submariners have never received the recognition they deserved. My fellow servicemen and I also have been overlooked. We are Seabees. I served with the 47th USNCB for 30 months in the South Pacific.
Seabees were strictly a volunteer force of experienced construction men, including electricians, carpenters, heavy equipment handlers and survey crews, along with doctors and dentists. Each battalion had a roster of about 100 men. We helped shorten the war by building hospitals and living quarters where there were none. We also built landing strips for fighter planes and bombers.
Thank you for acknowledging the efforts of those of us who served, and those who never made it back home. Bert in Pennsylvania
Dear Bert in Pa.: We could not have won World War II without the noble efforts of all the services, and the Seabees were certainly one of the most essential. What a fabulous job they did. We shall forever be in their debt.
Dear Ann: When I was young, I didn't read your column (I thought you were square), but my grandmother used to clip the ones about smoking and send them to me. I must have received at least 50 columns over the past several years.
I started smoking when I was 16. I wouldn't listen to anyone. No pictures of black lungs, no deaths of loved ones, nothing made a difference. I am now 24, and have finally quit. Why? I can't give you the exact reason, but I suspect the constant barrage of your columns from my grandmother finally woke me up.
I wish I had some pearls of wisdom for teen-agers that might get them to stop smoking, but I don't. All I can say is, please keep printing those letters, Ann. I know the message will eventually get through. I now read one of your anti-smoking columns every day to keep me strong, and they really do help.
I hope my grandmother sees this, so she will know how much I appreciate her not giving up on me. And thank you, too, Ann. Jordan in Iowa City, Iowa
Dear Jordan: It's good to know I helped improve your health and added some years to your life. Letters like yours make all the hard work worthwhile.
Dear Ann: What is the right way to handle receiving a wedding gift that you know was "recycled"? A relative of mine who is quite rich, but very cheap, does this all the time. What should I do? Fed Up in New York
Dear Fed: You should write a thank-you note and keep quiet about it.