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Dear Abby: Re bringing children to graduation ceremonies: About 30 years ago, when my youngest sister was planning her wedding, her three older sisters expressed concern about bringing our eight children.

She not only insisted that all family members share in her moment of joy, all of her five nieces dressed alike and were her attendants. The babies fussed, the girls squirmed and we did our best to maintain some level of calm and dignity. But even the minister took note of the children's activities and commented on the richness of the wedding.He reminded everyone that weddings were family affairs and children were an important part of the family - a wise reminder in this day of putting children last or omitting them altogether.

Many years later, when I graduated from college (I was the last of five children to do so), this same crowd of kids, plus a couple more who had been born in the interim, came to my graduation. They were the greatest cheering section in the auditorium.

- Pat

Dear Abby: Speaking about graduation ceremonies, when I attended my sister's graduation from college, the entire audience stood up and applauded when a 24-year-old woman was handed her diploma - she was holding her 2-month-old baby in her arms! Sign me

. . . Proud in New Jersey

Dear Abby: It seems to me a graduation is a family affair, so I bring my children and try to keep them as quiet and well-behaved as possible. But there will always be a baby crying or cooing somewhere, moms and dads whispering, flashbulbs going off, or a dad with his video camera walking back and forth - and a grandfather snoring.

- Brenda P. in Phoenix

Dear Abby: I am 37 years old, and this is my first letter to you. I have a question: When did "Here you go" replace "Thank you" in our vernacular? I think I might scream the next time I make a purchase and the cashier hands me my product, and instead of saying "Thank you," says, "Here you go!" I usually will look at the cashier and say, "You're welcome." Most of the time I do this, I get a puzzled look from the cashier.

Please tell me that this is happening only in California. I would hate to think that this also goes on in the Midwest. Where are the managers of these stores? Aren't they training their clerks? Where's the appreciation for having shopped at their store?

This has happened to me in discount chains, grocery stores, Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney, Macy's, etc. In short, this happens everywhere.

Am I the only person driven crazy by this lack of courtesy and appreciation? Am I the only person ready to quit shopping where the cashier doesn't know how to say "Thank you"?

Thank you, Abby, for listening.

- Jennifer in Rocklin, Calif.

Dear Jennifer: If this is your biggest problem, you take the prize for being the luckiest person who ever wrote a "Dear Abby" letter. It's possible that clerks at Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney and Macy's want a little respite from the routine "Thank you" - or "Have a nice day."