Dear Ann: I feel sorry for the "San Francisco Commuter" who couldn't get a seat, but I must tell you that one of the best experiences of my life happened on a bus in New York City.
It was a cold, wet, rainy night and also my birthday. Having just moved from Phoenix to New York, I was feeling miserable, homesick and alone in the big city. I boarded a crowded bus at Columbus Circle. The only seat left was in the back, past all the other bored and cold commuters, next to an elderly man. I sat down, dejected and feeling awful, when the man turned to me and said, "You look so sad. What's wrong?" Touched by the concern of a stranger, I poured out my heart and ended up sobbing, "I'm homesick and cold. It's my birthday, and NOBODY CARES!"
The tears flowed and the entire bus got very quiet. Then the man next to me started to sing, "Happy birthday to you ... " Several people joined in. Soon everyone on the bus was singing, "Happy birthday to you ... " When they finished, there was applause and laughter. I was showered with good wishes and warm smiles all the way to my stop at 72nd and Broadway. It was the best birthday present I have ever received in my entire life.
So, San Francisco Commuter, maybe you ought to move to New York City. Wendy, Who's Back in Phoenix
Dear Wendy: They may have the Golden Gate Bridge, but it appears that New York City has the Heart of Gold. Thanks for writing.
Dear Ann: I served in Vietnam with the Marines in the late '60s. I feel richly blessed that my life has been a success, but I have unfinished business from the war, and I'm sure other veterans feel the same way. Ann, people have no idea how intense the feelings are for those of us who fought that war.
I think it would help if you could tell your readers about a wonderful Web site that lists all the Americans who died in Vietnam, along with a place to enter your own remembrances and your e-mail address if you choose to be contacted by other friends and family members. The Web site is www.thevirtualwall.org. Please, Ann, this could do wonders for those of us who are still grieving. B.L., Minneapolis
Dear B.L.: What a kind soul you are, and what wonders your letter will produce for those who wish to connect with others and share their pain. Thank you on behalf of all of them.
Dear Ann: I had to write after reading the letter from "Daughter in Arizona," who said widowed parents should never remarry.
My grandfather was a loving, wonderful husband who took care of my grandmother for 10 years. After she died, he remarried, and his second wife brought him great comfort. Even though Grandpa died more than 20 years ago, his second wife is still a part of our lives. She never forgets a grandchild's birthday, and at the age of 89, she invites the family over for dinner twice a year.
When my mother died at age 60, Dad married a wonderful woman. It was an adjustment, but she has gone out of her way to be considerate of her stepchildren. More importantly, she has made our father happy, and that's no easy feat.
I wish all second marriages could be as wonderful as my father's and grandfather's. I cannot imagine discouraging a parent from having such a loving, romantic relationship with another person. Son in Missouri
Dear Son: You are fortunate to have had such positive experiences. I'm sure your generous attitude was part of the reason. My thanks for writing.