DEAR READERS - I am often asked, "Do you ever hear back from the people who wrote to you?" The answer is yes, I do.
A year ago, "Claire G. in California" wrote to bring awareness to a program called Knitted Knockers. Its members knit or crochet soft, lightweight prostheses for breast cancer survivors, and provide them at no cost to women who need them. A few weeks ago, I received this follow-up:
DEAR ABBY - Our whole world changed when you printed our letter last December. We now support more than 450 medical clinics nationwide. We are in 16 countries and give away 1,000 knockers a month free to women, provided by literally thousands of volunteer knitters and crocheters! The testimonies we receive from women who have received them, as well as those making them, are touching. Many tell us their lives have been changed.
Much of this occurred because of the huge response generated by the letter Dear Abby published on Dec. 6, 2016. Ten thousand knockers were given out as a result of that letter, and hundreds of knitters and crocheters signed up to help their own communities. It took us three months to "dig out" from that huge response, but we did it.
Thank you, Abby, for making a difference in this challenging world we live in.
Barbara D. in Washington
DEAR BARBARA - You're welcome, and thank YOU for the update. Readers who are interested can go to knittedknockers.org and learn more about this worthwhile program, or volunteer to be a creator of these wonderful gifts of comfort and dignity.
DEAR ABBY - My husband and I have been hosting my in-laws for the holidays and really do enjoy it. However, one of them has picked up a respiratory virus. It wouldn't be a big deal, except no matter how often I talk about how important it is to cough into sleeves (rather than hands), they don't do it. They walk into the kitchen coughing and covering their mouths with their hands, then touch the food, the dishes, the cabinet doors and my infant's hands, face and food.
I mentioned it to my husband because I think it's his place to say something, since my "kind reminders" and hints didn't work. How can I handle this tactfully and without offending?
Cold and flu season
DEAR COLD AND FLU SEASON - It is a big deal. You didn't mention whether your baby has picked up any viruses from his/her grandparents, but if it hasn't happened, you are lucky. Tell them that if either one of them is exhibiting cold symptoms to PLEASE not come over until they are well again.
DEAR ABBY - I was divorced more than 10 years ago. When I'm filling out forms, do I still have to check the box for divorced? I feel I am more happily single than unhappily divorced.
DEAR HAPPILY - Your current state of mind has no bearing on this. If the forms are legal or medical in nature, it would be wrong to lie about your status, so tell the truth.
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.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)