Dear Ann Landers: This is in response to "Locked Down in Massachusetts," whose wife did not want to bring their young son to visit his daddy in prison. I support the wife 100 percent. When my wife and I were married, her ex-husband was serving a three-year prison sentence. He was a drug addict who did everything from writing bad checks to participating in armed robbery -- all to finance his habit.
My stepdaughter visited her grandparents every other weekend. Once, they persuaded us to let her visit her father in prison. We were not happy about it, but were unsure of how to say no, so we let her go. Two weeks later, we found a card in her room from another inmate. That "nice friend of Daddy's" turned out to be a convicted felon who now had our daughter's name, phone number and address.
When my wife was offered a job in another state, we jumped at the opportunity. That summer, however, my stepdaughter was again visiting her grandparents. Without our knowledge, they allowed her to have unsupervised visits with her father, who was then out of prison. She spent several weeks moving from house to house because drug dealers were chasing him for money he owed. We have not let her go back since.
Her father is now back in jail (drugs again), and will not be eligible for parole for 41 years. My stepdaughter was devastated, but my wife and I breathed a sigh of relief. It was selfish and irresponsible to insist that his child visit him in prison. A man who truly loves his children would not place them in such a humiliating position.
-- No Tears for the Jailbird in D.C.
Dear No Tears: Your letter conveyed the message far better than anything I might say. Thank you.
Allergies to blame
Dear Ann Landers: Please tell your readers that when people have a very strong dislike for a certain food, they may actually be allergic to it.
Several years ago, my middle-aged sister who "didn't like" fish had a diagnostic test involving a dye that apparently used a fish extract. She had been asked in advance if she was allergic to fish and said, "No." Well, she nearly died from an allergic reaction to the dye.
Another sister always got a "backache" when she was around someone who had been drinking. She found out she was allergic to both wood and grain alcohol. One drop makes her tongue and throat swell.
Sometimes, an irrational avoidance of certain foods may mask an allergy. When people say they don't like something, be aware of this possibility, and don't pressure them.
-- Been There in Hayward, Calif.
Dear Hayward: Another example of a wise old adage -- "Sometimes, the body knows better than the mind." Thanks for a letter that will educate millions.
Gem of the day
"My basic principle is that you don't make decisions because they are easy; you don't make them because they are cheap; you don't make them because they are popular; you make them because they are right."
-- Theodore Hesburgh, former president of Notre Dame
Problems? Dump on Ann. Write her at The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.