Dear Annie: Five years ago, my son passed away unexpectedly.
His wife did not have the cash on hand to pay for the funeral service, so I loaned her the funds.
She promised to repay me after she received the insurance money.
As you might expect, she reneged on the deal and has not spoken to me since.
She has also cut off all contact with our two grandchildren.
Now she has “accepted” an offer from my brother to buy the kids new computers. My brother will buy one, and they want me to purchase the other one.
I don’t feel obligated to co-operate because I already bought her a computer just before my son died, and she still owes me for the funeral. What is your take on this? — Father-in-Law in Chino Valley, Ariz.
Dear Arizona: This is the bribe you have to pay to see your grandchildren again.
If you can afford it, we think it’s worth it.
But make sure she understands that resuming regular contact with the grandchildren is the exchange for forgiving her debt (which she will never repay anyway), and for the new computer.
And try your best to say it gently.
Dear Annie: I have a better response to “Jim in Omaha,” who asked if there are rules about the arm rests in movie theaters.
When I was in elementary school back in the 1940s, I was taught that the armrest to your right is yours, leaving the one on your left to the person sitting on your left.
If you happen to be sitting on the right side of an aisle, you would have both armrests. This also applies to airplane seats. — Antique School Teacher in Oregon
Dear Oregon: We like it. We can only hope patrons will follow your teachings.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.