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Dear Abby: Discovery of neighbor's past shocks new friend

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Dear Abby • I recently learned my neighbor shot and killed her two young kids (14 and 2) more than 20 years ago and served only half of her prison sentence — six years. The newspaper said she called the police herself, confessed and was arrested and incarcerated.

I have only known her for two years. She’s very reserved and keeps to herself. She seems paranoid, but she has warmed up to me because we both dabble in art. Since I’ve learned this information from the internet, I don’t know how to feel about her. This was a horrendous act, and I’m having a hard time processing. What are your thoughts? — Perplexed in the South

Dear Perplexed • Why did you find it necessary to research your neighbor? Did someone suggest it, or do you do that with all of your neighbors? If what you discovered is indeed true, there must be a good reason why she was freed after serving only half her sentence. I think, because you have questions, the person you should ask is her.

Dear Abby • I have a dear friend of many years who makes a habit around her birthday of getting as much free food as she can from restaurants and stores. She collects coupons for birthday freebies and makes sure to cash them in, whether it’s a free soft drink or dessert or lunch. She brags to me about how much stuff she got free and put in the freezer for later. Her husband does the same thing around his birthday. Neither one works, and both of them live on Social Security. They are not poor; they travel often. Is this extreme resourcefulness or is it more like greed and gluttony? I’m leaning toward the latter. — Biting My Tongue in Texas

Dear Biting • I am leaning toward the former. This couple is taking advantage of what is offered. They are not harming anyone, many people do it. It’s common practice, and there is nothing wrong with it. Stores and restaurants make these offers available for promotional purposes. Your relationship with these dear friends will last a lot longer if you judge them less.

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.


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