Woman disturbed by grandma’s past employment


Dear Abby: My grandma died when I was 7 years old. She was my favorite person and I adored her. She played with me when no one else was available, taught me to bake, told me stories, and didn’t care that I played in the dishwater when she was trying to wash dishes.

I always knew that before she married her grandfather, she worked as a cook at a Native American boarding school in the United States. I now know how cruel, evil and disgusting those places were. They practiced a form of cultural genocide condoned by the government and church and were places where children were sexually and emotionally abused.

Although I love my grandma, I am embarrassed, angry and disgusted that she worked at one. If it were ecclesiastical, I know she would have overlooked any abuse even if she had seen the act. How can I overcome my anger and hurt someone for something they did a lifetime ago? She’s been dead for more than 40 years.

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– Injured granddaughter

Dear Hurt: By your description, your grandmother was a loving, caring, hardworking woman who tried to support (and possibly feed) the children living at the boarding school. It was perhaps the only job she could find to support herself. Although terrible things happened there, it wasn’t her fault.

Child abuse is not limited to one religion. Today many religious people in many denominations cannot bring themselves to believe that there is so much evil among them. If your grandmother had flaws, forgive her and move on with your life. Hanging around with these negative feelings for someone who was good to you and long gone is not healthy for you.

Dear Abby: My wife died two years ago. Shortly thereafter I met a woman. We were together for a year, had the same hobbies and were very intimate. We were inseparable. Now after a year of marriage we don’t hang out together and she’s gained 30 pounds. Her three girls, who I should think were independent at age 20, 22 and 24, are actually partially assisted by her. Her 15 year old son lives with us and just stays in his room and plays on the computer. He gets food delivered and doesn’t do chores.

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I make $250,000 a year. She works and makes about $50,000 and I give her an allowance to pay for her son’s private school and anything else she wants.

It’s obvious that I’m not number 1 in her life. Since she just got back from a girls’ weekend (which I sponsored) I might not even be number 2. My friends tell me to run that she’s a gold digger who took advantage of me. I can’t believe I was so wrong and I always give her “one more chance”. Also, she freaks out when I get near her cell phone. As I write this, it seems obvious what’s going on. Am I being exploited on a grand scale? Could I be missing something?

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– Rank low in North Carolina

Dear ranking: Since I don’t know your wife, I can’t judge for you whether she’s a gold digger. However, I am sure: You will not be exploited more than you want. If you have a desire to save this marriage, tell your wife that you are unhappy and offer her the opportunity for counseling. If she refuses, contact an attorney and thank your lucky stars your marriage was short.


Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com.



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