Dear Annie: There is a family that lives around the corner from my house. I’ve lived in this town all my life. They have been here only about five years. This is not a crime-riddled area, but it’s not exactly the most peaceful neighborhood, either.
This couple has two young children. One is a boy who looks to be about 4 years old. Every summer, they let their young son play in the front yard completely naked. He is, of course, supervised by one or both of his parents when he is playing, but we do not live in a safe age anymore.
Pedophile incidents are becoming frighteningly too common these days. As far as I know, there aren’t any pedophiles in this neighborhood. But it is not a tight-knit neighborhood, so I can’t say for sure.
I am not going to speculate as to why this couple allows their child to be naked in public. I don’t know them. I don’t even know their names. I was thinking of sending them an anonymous note, asking them to please be more careful with their son. I certainly don’t want them to think I’m a prude. I believe the human body is nothing to be ashamed of. But I just don’t feel this is a safe or wise thing to do.
Is it OK to send an anonymous note? Am I just being paranoid? Please let me know what you think. – Concerned in Massachusetts
Dear Concerned: Don’t send an anonymous note. That would scare the living daylights out of them. It’s true that pedophiles would consider naked children attractive targets, but mostly, pedophiles look for children who are easy prey. Those kids are being supervised closely by their parents.
Why don’t you make friends with your neighbors? One of those nice days when they are sitting outside, go over and say hello. You can then voice your concern about pedophiles, who, by the way, live in every kind of neighborhood.
Dear Annie: My daughter was asked to be a bridesmaid at a wedding this fall, and she purchased a gown at the cost of $200. Lo and behold, the wedding was cancelled. The bride-to-be did not even have the courtesy to inform my daughter. We found out when a shower was cancelled.
When my daughter called the bridal shop, she was told no refund would be forthcoming. She attends college part time and works to pay her tuition. Needless to say, she can ill afford to pay for a dress she will never wear.
Is there a protocol to follow under these circumstances? Shouldn’t the bride reimburse her bridesmaids? Also, it seems to me the bridal shop should have been able to stop the alterations with six weeks’ notice. – Peoria, Ill., Mom
Dear Peoria: The bride should have personally notified her bridesmaids that the wedding was cancelled, but, sorry, she is not responsible for the cost of the dress.
Many bridal shops require only a deposit until the dress is finished, so your daughter might check the fine print on the order form to see if she can get a partial refund.
Dear Annie: My elderly parents live two hours away, so I call frequently to check on them. I am close to my mother and will divulge personal information about what is going on in my life and ask for her opinion.
The problem is that when I call, Dad usually picks up another phone and listens to our conversation. Sometimes, he will join in. How can I get him to stop? He’ll be hurt if I tell him I only want to talk to my mother. – Wisconsin Daughter
Dear Wisconsin: Dad feels left out. He, too, wants to know what’s going on in your life. You can ask your mother to inform Dad that these girls-only conversations are private, but we have another suggestion: Make separate calls to Mom and to Dad, so each one has the opportunity to talk privately with you and neither feels ignored.
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