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Memories of grandma can be tarnished by shallowness

Dear Abby: "Loving Granddaughter in Wichita, Kan.," who was embarrassed by her grandmother's hairdo at her wedding, should have signed herself "Shallow Granddaughter."

Abby, I was married last December, surrounded by family. Only one thing could have made it better -- if my grandma had been able to attend. However, my grandmother passed away four years ago. I loved her dearly and miss her very much.She always wore her hair the same way and had it styled by the same woman who had done it for many years. She always wore the same double-knit polyester dresses and pastel sweater suits, and I loved her all the more because of it. She was an original.

I cried when I read "Loving Granddaughter's" letter. Please tell her she should love her grandmother because of the unique individual she is. Otherwise, her shallowness will tarnish the golden memories she should be creating for the future. -- Grieving Granddaughter, High Springs, Fla.

Dear Grieving: I think you said it very plainly. My sympathy for the loss of your grandmother. I hope that the passage of time will lessen the ache.

That letter generated some interesting responses. Read on:

Dear Abby: I have been a hairdresser since I was 16. I am now 62. I'm familiar with the situation described by "Loving Granddaughter." When many clients pay for a hairdo, they feel that it had better last until the next one.

Young people should learn to accept our era just as we try to accept theirs. The natural look isn't good for everyone. Older women look awful with long, unkempt hair. (For that matter, so do some of the young women who wear it.)

People should wear what makes them feel attractive. "Granddaughter" should grow up and be grateful her grandmother is happy, healthy and trying to be attractive. -- Elaine In Pennsylvania

Dear Elaine: If I have learned one thing, it's never to generalize about what's attractive and what is not. The old rules have gone out the window -- and some women look terrific with long hair. Read on:

Dear Abby: When my mother was in her 50s, she came to me to get her hair cut. My father's sister had told her she was getting too old to wear it long. I'm sure my aunt was only trying to be helpful and bring Mother a little more up-to-date. I told my mother it was her hair, and she should wear it however she liked it best. The next time I saw her, she had short hair. She had been so afraid of looking foolish to others that she hadn't thought of the most important person -- herself.

Her hairstyle may have been more "modern," but she felt like Samson. She had always been proud of her long, thick hair, but was now too self-conscious to wear it that way. She kept her hair short after that even though she didn't like it.

I wish my aunt had kept her mouth shut. Hair is only an adornment, and it was much better to see Mother self-confident than stylish.

"Loving Granddaughter" should be glad she has a living grandmother. My poor mother passed away about 10 years after that. She had metastatic breast cancer and lost all her hair from chemo and radiation. -- Motherless Daughter

Dear Daughter: "Constructive criticism" is best digested when it's offered in sparing doses. Those who offer it should first use a magnifying mirror to examine themselves.

(C) Universal Press Syndicate