Dear Annie: Ten months ago, I was in the hospital and was not expected to live. Fortunately, I recovered. Unfortunately, I had given power of attorney to my children.
My oldest daughter had my mail forwarded to her and took over the finances. All the kids cleaned out my house, taking what they or their children wanted and selling what was left without telling me what happened to it. They sold my house at auction for less than we paid for it 25 years ago. I said it was a lousy time to be selling, but they wanted to get rid of the house before winter.
I was in no condition to take care of things for a couple of months, so I am now in an assisted-living facility with my clothes and very few possessions. Anytime I want money from my savings, I have to ask my daughter. She only gives me the mail she thinks I should get. I am dependent on friends to take me places.
I finally wrote to my favorite magazine publishers, asking them to send the magazines directly to the assisted-living facility. Now my daughter is upset, saying I’m unappreciative of all they did for me. I thanked them each time they came to visit or did anything special. Evidently, that is not enough.
I know I am better off than some of the people here. One woman was released from the hospital and didn’t even have any clothes because her son had gotten rid of everything. Now what? — Unhappy 80-Year-Old Woman
Dear Unhappy: When loved ones are frightened, they often do surprisingly unkind things in an attempt to be protective.
In your case, however, it is interfering with your independence and creating resentment on all sides. Does your assisted-living facility have an ombudsman or social worker on staff? Talk to someone there, and perhaps ask for a mediation session with your children to see if you can work through this.
Dear Annie: My teenage son’s girlfriend often picks him up for dates since she drives and he doesn’t. When she pulls into the driveway, she sits in the car and honks the horn for him to come out.
My son told her that we regard this as rude, and that she should get out of the car and come to the door. Instead of showing respect by complying, she took a poll of her co-workers, and apparently, the majority feel it is perfectly OK to honk the horn this way.
Am I hopelessly old-fashioned, or is this now considered acceptable behavior? — Honking Mad
Dear Mad: This is still not acceptable behavior. It’s OK to honk if you are the carpool driver, but not for a date. What does your teenage son think of a girlfriend who is so disrespectful that she would justify behaving in a manner that his parents find objectionable? It does not speak well of her.
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.