Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My brother is married to a woman I will call “Devon.” She is an only child and accustomed to having her way.
Our last surviving parent recently died, and Devon tried to manipulate the division of the estate. My brother took possession of almost all of my father’s belongings, and I should have had most of Mom’s things, but Devon wanted them for herself. And she got them.
I recently discovered she and my brother deceived me about certain estate items that were supposed to go to me but are now in their possession. I have grandchildren (which Devon will never have) and would like some of those heirlooms to pass on to them.
My brother is henpecked and does whatever Devon wants. Should I confront them or remain silent? — Florida Sister
Dear Florida: Who handled the estate? Was there a legal will giving you possession of these items? If your parents had a lawyer, there should be a written record of how the estate was to be distributed. If there was only a verbal understanding, you can still take your brother to court and a judge might agree that you are entitled to these things.
Before taking legal action, we suggest you talk to your brother directly. Explain how unfair it is that he got the bulk of both Dad’s and Mom’s estate, and that for the sake of your relationship, he needs to be more equitable. If he still won’t part with anything, ask whether he would be willing to specify in his will that these heirlooms go to your grandchildren at his death.
Dear Annie: I live in a small town in Kentucky that has a lot of fast-food restaurants. Most of us eat there at least twice a week.
One of our local places employs a girl who I know has genital herpes. My family and friends all know and have stopped eating there, but I think other patrons should be aware of the herpes girl. I know for a fact she is still having sex with numerous people and not telling them she is infected.
Do we need to contact the local health department? The management at the restaurant put her at the drive-through window so she would not be handling food, but she still handles our money. What are the chances that we could catch this STD? — Grossed Out in Kentucky
Dear Kentucky: Unless the customers are having sex with the girl while they’re waiting for their order, the chances of catching herpes are slim to none. Herpes is transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected area. Please stop treating this girl as a pariah. Her condition affects you only if you are intimate with her. For more information and some reassurance, contact the American Social Health Association Herpes Resource Center (ashastd.org/herpes) at 1-800-227-8922.
Dear Annie: “Not Family Yet” said her fiancé’s “Grandpa Joe” molested his mother and sister, and the family has kept the secret under wraps. There are now young granddaughters who are at risk. Protecting these girls must take priority over protecting this serial molester to whom they have the ill fortune to be related. If the children are abused and later learn family members could have protected them, it will be almost as damaging as the abuse itself.
I was molested and ultimately raped at age 11 by an alleged friend of the family. It was several years before I told anyone, and when I did speak up, I learned another person in our circle had known about my abuser all along but remained silent. It’s been 25 years and I still feel utterly betrayed.
I’ve been part of a few groups for survivors of childhood abuse, and an overwhelming majority are, like me, just as angry with those who let it happen as those who actually inflicted the harm. — Been Down that Road
Dear Been: Most of our readers agree with you and think the fiance should speak up, even if it means ending the engagement.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. E-mail questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.14.09