Abby: Story of generosity fails grandma’s smell test

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: Yesterday, when I picked my granddaughter “Michelle” up from school, she asked me to take her to get a pizza. I told her I had no money, and she said she had her own and pulled out $40.

Michelle is 9 and has no job. When I asked where she got the money, she told me, “A little boy who’s disabled gave it to me.” I didn’t believe her story, and after further questions, she confessed that she had taken the money from a boy who is NOT disabled.

I took the money from her and gave it to her teacher. Her teacher said the boy had accused Michelle, but Michelle had sworn she hadn’t taken it. Abby, my granddaughter not only took his money, but also lied about it. I was devastated.

When I told my daughter, she said I should have let her and her husband handle it because now Michelle’s teacher won’t like her and may treat her differently. My daughter is now upset with me, but I was just trying to do the right thing. Did I do the wrong thing?

Hurt Grandma in Texas

Dear Hurt Grandma: I don’t think so. I’m not sure how your daughter planned to “handle it” and make things right for the boy who was bullied and stolen from, but by doing what you did, you ensured that he got his money back.

One can only hope that Michelle got a talking-to from her parents about what she did, and has learned not to repeat it. But if she’s tempted to do it again, it’s just as well that her teacher will keep a closer eye on her.

Dear Abby: My husband has been in prison for years, but now he’s moving to a halfway house where he will have much more freedom. He wants to attend my church with me, and I know people there will have questions. Only a few of them know where he has been because I shared it with them. What’s the best way to make this comfortable for both of us and share it as we need to?

Free At Last

Dear Free At Last: That your husband would like to attend church with you is laudable, and I hope his entry into the congregation will be a smooth one. I have often said that once a “secret” is known by more than one person, it is no longer a secret. Discuss this with your clergyperson and let him or her guide you in the process. If you do, it may help to avoid any rough spots along the way.

Dear Abby: Many people these days rely on their devices to auto-correct spelling and grammatical errors. Too often I see signage on businesses with misspellings. A few of my friends own their own businesses, and their postings on social media are often misspelled. Sometimes they ask for my opinion. Should I offer advice or ignore this growing trend?

Miss Pelled in The South

Dear Miss Pelled: Offer advice only when it’s been requested. Advice that is unasked for is usually unwelcome. Unless you want to be known as the “grammar hammer,” keep it to yourself.

Dear Abby: I’ve been with my boyfriend for 16 years. Last year I found out he was married before I met him and is still married to her. He never told me he was married. If he had, we wouldn’t be together.

His wife got ahold of me on Facebook because she was looking for him. I was in disbelief. We almost got married in 2007, which would have been bigamy. I have stayed with him for the sake of our kids, but I’m miserable.

I recently reconnected with a male friend from high school. We’ve been talking, not romantically. He knows my situation. He said that he had a crush on me back in school and still does. I have feelings for him, too — more than just friendship. What do I do?

Emotionally Lost

in Maryland

Dear Lost: I can only imagine the extent to which your trust has been shaken. What you need to do right now is recognize how vulnerable you are feeling. What you shouldn’t do is rebound from one relationship into another.

Because you are no longer happy with your boyfriend, consult an attorney to ensure your children’s father lives up to his financial obligations to them. If you don’t have a job, start looking for one to supplement the child support income.

Once you have established economic independence, you will be in a better position to judge whether or not your old high school friend is your knight in shining armor.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.