Posted: Friday, June 17, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My father is a dentist and earns a good living, but he is going after my money. When I graduated from high school, he took the money relatives and friends sent me and kept it for himself. A year later, he and Mom were going through a divorce, and he subpoenaed my work records to find out what I was earning. Their divorce was finally settled, but when Dad found out I was awarded a partial college scholarship of $980, he wanted “his share.”
Mom and Dad both paid for my college tuition, but I worked hard to earn that small scholarship so I could stand on my own two feet. I am frustrated and a little disgusted with my father’s greed. Shouldn’t he feel proud of his daughter’s accomplishment instead of trying to steal it? His true colors came out during the divorce, and I took my mother’s side. Now he apparently has divorced me, as well. I support myself and don’t believe he is entitled to my money. What should I do? — Spurned Daughter
Dear Daughter: Unless Dad is planning to take you to court for that money, we think you should ignore his demand. It is mean-spirited and punitive. Some disturbed and misguided parents try to hurt the ex-spouse by going after the children. We hope Dad will calm down, and while you’re waiting, please consider both legal and emotional counsel. Your college counseling department should be able to help.
Dear Annie: My mother died last year. When my sisters put up the Christmas decorations for Dad, they asked if I wanted a nativity set. I said “yes,” and they mailed it to me. I really enjoyed looking at it last Christmas. It was a lovely reminder of my mother.
A few weeks ago, my brother decided he wanted that same nativity set and called my sister to see if she knew where it was. Apparently, he had given it to my parents many years before and wanted to take it overseas with him. Instead of telling my brother that she had given it to me, my sister asked me to mail it back. I did.
Is there some rule of etiquette about what happens to gifts you give to parents? Is my brother entitled to take this back because he was the one who gave it to them? Or can the surviving parent give it to whomever he chooses? It made me sad to return it, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy that memory of my mother again. — Just Wondering
Dear Wondering: When a gift is given, it belongs to the recipient, who can then do with it as he or she chooses. In many instances, however, people who are cleaning out their belongings often return items to the original givers. Sometimes this is appreciated, but not always, and it certainly is not a requirement. That said, you did the right thing returning the nativity set to your brother. It obviously means as much to him as it does to you, and we are certain that fighting over it would not have pleased Mom. Bravo for taking the high road.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Desperate for Advice,” whose friend confided that she tricked her husband into getting pregnant. I have a beef with friends who expect you to keep a secret even they don’t keep.
My friend’s husband got a DUI and didn’t want anyone to know. But she told a friend, who told a friend, who told another, and now several of us have to pretend we know nothing while we watch the husband surreptitiously water down his booze in order to comply with his probation.
That wife has put the burden of her secret on others and deserves to be exposed. — Kentucky
Dear Kentucky: We agree that the wife should not have told anyone but her husband. Even so, it is not the business of third parties, and “Desperate” should stay out of it.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 6.17.11