Dear Annie: My husband calls me the “Throwaway Queen.” I have gotten into hot water for not asking before I trashed something. Now I think I’ve made a huge mistake.
My husband is now far into dementia. We are thinking of moving, so I started cleaning out storage bins. I threw away two items of my husband’s that had been in those bins for years. Last week, his son came over to help clear out some things and specifically asked for the items I tossed. They apparently were of sentimental value to him.
I acted as if I hadn’t a clue what he was talking about, but I feel so guilty and ashamed. This is a burden on my conscience, and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to keep lying to him, but I’m afraid of confessing. What should I do? — Stepmom in California
Dear California: Imagine the reaction from your stepson when he discovers that you threw out these two items. We think you can tolerate his anger and disappointment. Please tell him. Apologize profusely. Say you had no idea he would want these things, or you would have saved them. Say that you are ashamed for not telling him sooner. Ask him to forgive your lapse in judgment. We think once he gets past his disappointment, you both will be able to put this behind you.
Dear Annie: Yesterday, I attended my son’s much anticipated college graduation from a very celebrated institution. Despite our hefty investment in education, what were we treated to? Graduates in cutoff shorts and flip-flops and mortarboards with raunchy slogans written on them. Many graduates reeked of alcohol and were still visibly under the influence.
The behavior of the audience when they handed out degrees was startling: air horns, wolf whistles, bellowing, screaming and other inappropriate responses. What should have been a respectful, dignified celebration was tarnished by the too common behavior of a rock concert.
I am in my late 40s and am not a prude. But I feel such formal events, which ought to warrant a respectful and courteous audience, have instead disintegrated into chaos. So, please tell your readers: If you are going to a graduation this spring, please set a good example for your children and others. Don’t holler. Don’t stand on your seat and scream. Don’t bring air horns, cowbells or whistles. Stand and applaud respectfully. Offer your support before and after the ceremony. Please don’t diminish the success and accomplishment of the graduates with your ill-conceived and unappreciated conduct.
Graduates: Dress and act your role as accomplished academics. Save the beachwear for another day. Stand tall and accept the congratulations due. Everyone will be appreciative, especially your family. — A Graduate’s Mom
Dear Mom: Good advice, and we hope at least some in the crowd will pay attention. People get excited. In some places, commencement exercises have become raucous free-for-alls. The school should make an announcement to the graduates beforehand, and to the audience prior to the ceremony, explaining what type of behavior is expected.
Dear Annie: “Somewhere in the USA” was considering not returning to a restaurant where a group of senior men made audibly insulting comments about other customers.
If she decides not to return, she should tell the manager or owner the reason. The owners need to know whether they are losing business because of the “old coots.” — Restaurant Manager
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.