Friday, January 18, 2013

Dear Abby, I write a blog in a large Mid-Atlantic City, and...

Pauline Phillips, the woman who used the pen name "Abigail Van Buren" and invited newspaper readers to write to "Dear Abby" for advice, passed away on Wednesday.  Her late sister Esther "Eppie" Pauline Friedman Lederer, better known as Ann Landers, also wrote an advice column, but as a young newspaper reader, I enjoyed Abby's style of writing and thinking much more. 

One had to read the Baltimore News-American to see Abby; we were always a Sunpapers family, so I had to go to the school library to read the "American," or buy one for a dime when I was feeling flush. 

Someone is passing around a Facebook picture that shows a famous response from Abby to a concerned couple who wrote to her all worked up because a gay couple was moving to their block.  They wanted to know what they could do to improve the neighborhood.

Abby's reply?  "You could move."   Right on.

Anyway, Abby's daughter took over the column from her mom in 2002, also under the name of Abby.  Abby mère had written every word from 1955 until Alzheimer's Disease forced her to retire.  And I don't know who carries the current Abby column; the Sun runs "Ask Amy," but it's not as snappy as Abby was in her day.

But then again, the questions that people ask!  I remember so many of the old Abby questions: a woman always wore the same dress to work on Friday that she wore on Thursday! Heavens!  That must mean she doesn't sleep at home on Thursday night, and you know what THAT means, right, Abby?

Dear Abby...
Or the newlywed guy who wrote to ask if it were all right for his wife to sleep "in the raw" and fix his breakfast the same way.  Abby said it was ok with her, but she wouldn't advise it for someone frying bacon.

Here's my thing:  who are these people?  Sure, I understand everyone has their problems, and if you object to gay people living on your street you have more problems than a newspaper column can cure, but why do you say, "Agnes?  Get me a piece o' paper and a pencil!  I'm gonna write to Dear Abby and see what she thinks about our situation of why the neighbors allow their dog to dine at the table!"

I'd be too embarrassed to ask.  But that's just me.

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