Dear Annie: My daughter will soon be 16. Her father and I were never married, and we had broken up by the time she was born. When my ex discovered I was pregnant, he threatened to take the baby away and never let me see her. So I left him when I was six months along. Due to some complications during delivery, my mother filled out the birth certificate. Since my mother never liked my ex-boyfriend, she made no reference to him and put down my name only.
I tried to contact my ex after our daughter was born and got his mother instead. She told me no one believed her son was the father, and she would not help me get in touch with him. She also refused to give me any family medical history, saying it was irrelevant since they "weren't related."
My plan was to take our daughter to his hometown when she turned 16 so she could get to know her father and his relatives. I recently found out that my ex passed away a few years ago. He was only 37. I do not know the cause of death and worry that my daughter has inherited something fatal. How can I get a copy of the death certificate? Is there another way to get this information? His family refuses to answer my calls. -- Mom of a Mystery Daughter
Dear Mom: In many states, records of deaths are public and should be available through the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the state where the person died. If you encounter difficulty, you should talk to an attorney. It is important for your daughter's health that she have this information.
Dear Annie: I need your help with a sticky situation. Every year, we vacation at a resort where we have become friends with another couple who are there the same week. While it's nice to have another couple to do things with, the problem is, they expect us to spend every minute together. They never plan anything for themselves. We travel a lot and have many friends at different resorts who do not do this. How should we handle it? -- World Traveler
Dear Traveler: Unless you want to change the week of your visit, you'll need to be diplomatic. Suggest that each of you spend some time pursuing your own interests and meet up for dinner. Also, make some arrangements in advance and inform your friends that you already have plans, but you'd love to join them later. You are not obligated to give them details or invite them to come along.
Dear Annie: Your advice to "Loving Auntie," whose nephew corrected the adults' grammar, was wrong. We complain about the state of our children's education and blame the schools. But these kids are learning proper grammar in school and then hearing it spoken improperly by the adults in their lives.
If the boy was correcting his aunt's grammar in public and being rude, the parents should correct the attitude, but not the reason. He's a smart 10-year-old who heard something wrong and corrected it. The aunt's bruised ego is the problem. She should be grateful her nephew is learning in school and trying to educate others instead of being spiteful and hurt. -- Mother of Another Smart Boy
Dear Mother: Please don't be one of those parents who thinks her brilliant and gifted children are entitled to say what they want as long as they are right. This does a disservice to your children, making them obnoxious and unwelcome. If your son has a question about an adult's grammar, he should come to you. You can then let him know whether his correction is right or wrong, and then say that you will handle it, explaining that adults find it disrespectful when children tell them how to speak properly.
"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2017. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.