For years, my older brother had used our garage for everything including his cars.
We recently re-organized, and discovered some of his mementos from a childhood romance.
Incredibly, the couple had maintained a charming, loving relationship until distance and real life interfered, through several decades, until each married someone else.
My first instinct was to return the letters, cards, and photos to my brother's friend until my wife suggested her husband mightn’t appreciate them.
My brother had passed away very young from natural causes.
I’d been good friends with that lady, and researched her on the Internet.
We shockingly discovered she’d been married to a prominent person who’d also died from cancer two years ago!
Because my brother hid the parcel from his wife and children, my own daughters feel I should destroy everything and bury the past.
I somehow feel a brother's unspoken obligation to respect something he clearly cared to keep. I feel there’d be no harm to return the items to their original sender.
I also don’t wish to keep them, as memories of my beloved brother's death still trouble me daily!
Touched by Memories
My view is that since your brother had loved this woman before he married his wife, and didn’t have an affair with her, the letters are about nostalgia, first romance, and respect for both the women in his life, one past and the other present until he died.
I believe you can comfortably contact this woman and ask if she’d like you to send her the correspondence and mementoes.
What do others think?
My sister lives three hours away from me, and is having a wedding shower for her daughter. I’ve told her that I wouldn’t attend, due to the six-hour return drive.
I said I’m looking forward to the wedding.
Then, I received an emailed shower invitation, asking for a yes or no plus comment. I replied No, without comment, thinking my sister knew already.
Now she’s upset because she thinks it’s the norm to send a gift if you get an invite.
I was planning to give a good wedding gift to make up for it.
She didn't say she’d put me up to accommodate the long drive. Instead, she’s stopped talking to me.
My concern isn’t our relationship. I don't want to look like the bad apple to everyone who’ll listen to her side.
Please tell people that a wedding isn’t a money-grab but an opportunity to celebrate a special occasion, and not to let the main focus be the gifts, the money, who gave what, etc.
Or, am I not being a good sport?
Fact #1: A wedding is not meant to be a money grab.
Fact #2: An aunt usually gives a shower gift AND a wedding gift (of course, it’s up to you to decide whatever level you can afford).
It may be convenient for you to mix those two facts together, but they’re separate.
You could’ve asked your sister if you could stay with her after the 6-hour drive, as a hotel is costly. Or, you could’ve expressed regret that you’d miss the shower, then sent your gift to arrive in time.
While your general statement to readers is accurate, your own story has more to do with the relationship between two sisters. And it’s likely nothing new.
But if you want to not be the “bad apple,” and if you care about the young couple getting married, be a sport and send your shower gift.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who took her young daughter to her nephew's “no-kids” wedding (July 5):
Reader – “Years ago, my brother and I decided we’d been caught too often in the "he said, she said" web, creating negative emotions and misunderstandings.
“We decided we’d call each other and discuss a situation before we jumped to conclusions.
“This woman should’ve called her nephew and discussed exactly what she was expected to do, to support the bride and groom on their special day.
“When she didn’t receive a wedding invitation, it wasn’t up to her mother to call the groom and find out if she’s invited.
“For his part, he did his aunt a disservice by not calling her and inviting her himself.
“Also, the aunt needed to clarify whether her daughter was welcome. One telephone call could’ve straightened everything out.
“You’ll only know the facts if you talk to the key people. Others have their own agenda.”
Tip of the day:
Ask first, whether seeming-innocent mementoes should be returned.