Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: At the Crossroads

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I'm 20 and attending college near my parents' home. Despite what my Catholic family wants, I've been exploring other religions for the past five years and have decided that Judaism is the right road for me. I want to let my family in on this process, but I'm afraid they'll react badly and insist that my Jewish fiance is swaying my decision.

My mother is starting to pick up on the fact that I haven't been going to church with her. She has informed me that she would be greatly insulted if I became Jewish, because all those years of putting me through Catholic school would be for naught. She recently hoped loudly that eventually I would "do the right thing and come back." I'm tired of lying when they ask where I go on Friday evenings. Help? -- At the Crossroads

Dear Crossroads: There is some validity to the claim that your fiance may be influencing your decision, but that is to be expected. Even if he isn't making a concerted effort to convert you, his preferences and beliefs would be persuasive on their own.

We respect the fact that you have spent five years considering your decision, which indicates you've done a great deal of thinking. But we also recognize that most of this five-year period took place while you were a teenager and quite young for such a life-changing decision. Regardless, please stop lying to your parents. If this is the path you have chosen, you must be able to stand up for your beliefs in the face of their disappointment. The sooner you start the more time they will have to reconcile themselves to the situation. You also can enlist the help of your rabbi.

Dear Annie: I am writing this to help military families who are at home while their spouses are deployed. As a military spouse for 20 years, I am sometimes overwhelmed, exhausted and isolated. Deployments are lengthy, and training adds to the time we are separated. Life is challenging.

We often encounter people who want to thank my husband for his service. I thank them for their support. But if you know of a military spouse who is alone, here are a few suggestions:

Offer to babysit for free. Older children often miss out on evening events because younger siblings need to be in bed or it's too difficult to take them all to the event. Offer to drive the children to practices or games and supervise them. Include their children in your family outings, and give the military spouse an afternoon off.

Take a meal to the family. A frozen casserole is a treat on a hectic day. Or treat them to a meal out. Anywhere.


Offer to mow the lawn, wash the car, check under the hood or take a pet to the vet. Check on them when the weather is extreme. Send their spouse a letter. Call and ask what you can do to help.

Please help the military by helping out military families. A little kindness goes a long way. -- A Soldier's Spouse Anywhere

Dear Soldier's Spouse: Thank you for reminding our readers of the simple things they can do to help out our servicemen and women and the families that stand behind them.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Old in Indiana," the 90-year-old woman who wondered how to divide her possessions among her daughters and daughters-in-law.

Several years before my lovely mother passed away, she had all her valuables appraised. Then, in her own handwriting, she wrote who got what next to each piece. I encourage everyone to do the same. It made a difficult time so much easier when we knew we were honoring her wishes. I consider it her final gift to us. -- Missing Mom in Maryland


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2018. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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