Dear Abby: Without asking me, sister takes heirlooms from our late mother

The siblings were supposed to divide Mom’s jewelry, but one was more grabby than the other.

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DEAR ABBY: My mother passed away years ago. I have one older sister, “Nadine.” Following my mother’s death, with the blessing of my father, Nadine and I divided Mom’s jewelry. My sister almost immediately began digging through closets and drawers and removing items from our parents’ home every time she visited our father.

Dad asked if I wanted any particular items that belonged to Mom. I mentioned three things, but told him I didn’t want to take anything from his house until he passed on. I thought it would be disrespectful to do otherwise.

Nadine threw her future daughter-in-law a wedding shower, and gave her two antique items that had been Mother’s — items I recognized immediately. I felt upset that she hadn’t at least mentioned them to me before she gave them away. I have the only granddaughter, and may have wanted to pass those items down to her.

Following the shower, I spoke with my father. He agreed that before Nadine gave them away she should have asked him or me if either of us wanted them. Am I wrong to be upset over this, or should I just let it go? — HEARTSICK IN THE WEST

DEAR HEARTSICK: I will be direct. Most young people today do not want heirloom items — they prefer new, modern and contemporary things. I was recently at the memorial of a wealthy older gentleman. He had spent most of his life (not to mention millions of dollars) on rugs, antique furniture and other collectibles. I overheard an antique dealer talk about how “over the last 20 years, the market for those things had taken a dive.”

Your sister was wrong to grab your mother’s possessions without consulting you or your father first, but if this will cause a rift in the family, let it go.

DEAR ABBY: We are a group of neighbors with the same breed of dog, and we walk together every Saturday morning. All our dogs are well-behaved, except for one — a young, unneutered male that is very active and humps anything that moves. Its owners are against neutering. This dog especially goes after our spayed female dog, who tries to resist him, to no avail. We often must intervene.

The owners try to curb his behavior, but are not consistent enough that it sticks. On top of that, when they go away they expect one of the families in the group to provide free dog-sitting, and are rarely available to reciprocate. The couple generally are nice, but just have poor dog manners. So far, we dog-sit for them sparingly because of this issue. What else can we do? — DOGGONE TIRED OF IT

DEAR DOGGONE TIRED: The owners of that horny animal are irresponsible and misguided. Their unneutered dog has become a nuisance. Instead of tolerating the bad behavior, talk to your other neighbors about the problem, if you haven’t already. The owners of the offending dog should be excluded from the group. If that doesn’t happen, walk your dog in a different direction and quit sitting for them.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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