Dear Ann: This morning, I was fed up with my teen-age children and wrote them this letter. Please print it for all the other children in your reading audience who need to see it:
Dear Sweet Children: I'm sorry our maid (that's me) has decided to take a vacation. Here is how you can help out:
When you are through using something, put it back where it belongs. And even if you aren't the last one who used it, put it back anyway.
If you wore it, sat in it or slept in it, please wash it, fold it and put it away.
Don't borrow anything without asking.
Don't expect others to do your job because you are irresponsible or lazy.
If you leave bread crumbs on the counter, spill jelly on the floor or drip ice cream on the table, take a cloth or a sponge and wipe it up. It will take only a minute and will be greatly appreciated.
Do something that you don't have to do and do it without being told. For example, wipe a mirror, mop the kitchen floor, vacuum the hallway or wash a load of towels.
This is a big house, and a lot of people live in it. If everyone does his or her small part, things will run smoother, your life will be a lot easier, and so will mine. Your Mother, The Maid, in Raleigh, N.C.
Dear Mother: You spoke for a great many moms today. Your suggestions are merely expressions of consideration for others. If each one of us does just a little more than our part, the rewards in terms of peace and harmony will be enormous. Give it a shot, and you will see that Mom is right. As usual.
Dear Ann: Our 20-year-old daughter is serious about her boyfriend, "Dexter." They have been dating exclusively for two years and plan to marry. We don't know him very well, but we would like to.
We have invited Dexter over repeatedly, and he always finds some excuse not to come. We have asked him to come for family dinners and holiday celebrations, yet he always turns us down. He used to stop by the house briefly before their dates, but he hasn't been in the house for over three months. Our daughter meets him somewhere or she picks him up at his house. This odd behavior is upsetting to us, and it causes us to wonder what kind of person our daughter is involved with. She defends him by saying we don't like him anyway, so why should he visit? She sees no reason for him to get to know us better.
If she marries this boy, I see nothing but grief for the family. Is there anything I can do before it's too late? No Joy in Kansas
Dear No Joy: Where did your daughter get the idea that you do not like her boyfriend? Apparently, you have somehow given her this notion. Now that you sense Dexter is going to be part of the family, I suggest you begin a major fence-mending effort to change your daughter's mind. Find something to admire about this young man if it kills you. Plan a foursome dinner call it "Project Acceptance" and make it work.
Dear Ann: Behavioral scientists have discovered that 22 out of 25 people put on the right shoe first, but they didn't tell us why. Do you have a guess? Chicago Reader
Dear Chicago: I don't have a clue. But I do wonder why those "behavioral scientists" don't have anything more important to work on.