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Annie’s Mailbox: In-law won’t say happy birthday

Mon., Aug. 29, 2011

Dear Annie: My son and his wife have been married for 20 years. I thought we had a close relationship until my husband pointed out that our daughter-in-law never wishes us a “happy birthday.” I did notice that she never gets on the phone to say “happy Mother’s Day” or “happy Father’s Day,” but I just assumed she felt uncomfortable since we aren’t her parents.

However, during a recent birthday celebration for my husband, my son and both of his children entered the house and said, “Happy birthday!” Our daughter-in-law simply walked in and busied herself putting gifts on the table. Why? – Bewildered

Dear Bewildered: It’s possible your daughter-in-law has unpleasant associations with such wishes and has developed superstitions that prevent her from saying the words. You won’t know unless you ask. Mention this to your son and see whether he can shed any light on the subject. But if this is the only flaw in your relationship, please don’t make a fuss over it.

Dear Annie: “Midge” wrote that her group had given a scholarship to a young woman who never sent a thank-you letter.

Fifty years ago at Michigan State University, I worked three part-time jobs to support myself. Then, several wonderful things happened, one of which was a check awarded by the Faculty Wives. I never wrote a thank-you note. The reason? I was from a poor family and had never written such a note in my life. I had no idea it was the proper thing to do. – Blacksburg, Va.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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