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In-law ‘forgets’ promise made to widow

DEAR ABBY: I am a widow. I supported my husband during our entire marriage with no help from his wealthy parents. My husband died before his father did. After my father-in-law’s death, I received nothing. My sister-in-law told me she would give me $5,000, but she would invest it for me and give it to me after I retire.

Well, that was 10 years ago. I just retired. When I asked her for it, she claimed she had no memory of it and got angry with me for asking. I argued and said I hated her “stingy” family, and she hung up on me. Should I ask her for the money again? – Promise Broken in Michigan

DEAR PROMISE: No. Unless the promise your husband’s sister made was in writing, there is no way for you to collect the money. Asking for it again will not help. I’m sorry.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 14-year-old first-generation Polish American with a very Polish family. I don’t have a lot of issues, but I just changed schools, and nobody cares enough to learn how to pronounce my name, including the teachers.

I was named after a family member and the name has a lot of history, so my parents don’t want to Americanize it. But correcting people with no results is getting tiring. What started as a small issue now has me feeling split between my Polish and American identities.

Is it worth it to disappoint my parents to make it a little easier? – Agnieszka in New Jersey

DEAR AGNIESZKA: What would be worth it would be to explain to your teachers and friends the history behind your name. Shakespeare wrote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” In this case, there’s a whole lot behind your name, including the memory of a woman who was much loved by your family. That fact is worthy of respect. If your teachers don’t get it, perhaps your parents can explain it to them.

P.S. Agnieszka is a beautiful name. Phonetically it sounds like Ann-YES-ka, which has a musical quality. Many people have nicknames, and if your peers choose one you like, so be it.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 35-year-old married mother of two daughters, ages 3 and 1. About a year ago, a couple our age moved in across the street. They have two boys, ages 3 and 11 months.

While we have formed a friendship with this family, I find it very uncomfortable when the family leaves our home and the father kisses my children on the cheek. The mother does not do it. I want it to stop, but I don’t know how to address it. – Uncomfortable in the East

DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: The way to address it would be to tell your neighbor that you would prefer he not kiss your children. Period. You are their mother, and asserting yourself in this role is part of your job.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.