“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 May 13, 2013
DEAR ABBY: My wife's niece is marrying a wonderful man of Greek descent this summer. Her grandfather insists that his last name is too long and impossible to pronounce. He thinks they need to change the name when they marry. He went so far as to make them call him so he could tell them what he wanted. Then he gave them 10 days to "think about it" and call him back with their answer.

He told the mother of the bride that if they don't change the name, then he's "just not into the wedding anymore," implying that he won't help them pay for the event. Needless to say, this has most of the family shaking their heads and thinking the old man has finally lost it.

We understand that this was common practice for families passing through Ellis Island coming to America a century ago, but have you ever heard of this being done for a wedding? Being a therapist, I thought I'd seen and heard it all -- until now. Please give us some insight. I'm hoping his "ladyfriend" will read your reply and share it with him.-- CAN'T BELIEVE IT DOWN SOUTH

DEAR CAN'T BELIEVE IT: You have described a man who is used to being in control and is not above using his money to manipulate. A century ago when people came to this country through Ellis Island, many of them were escaping discrimination and wanted to leave their past behind them, which is why they Americanized their names.

Others had it done "for" them by government officials who couldn't understand them when they pronounced their names and wrote down what they thought they heard.(Years ago, in Sioux City, Iowa, my mother knew two brothers who walked through different lines and wound up with the names "Ginsberg" and "Landsberg." I don't know which was correct.) Still others were so eager to become "Americans" that they shortened or changed their names for that reason.

I sincerely hope no one is expecting Granddad to pay for the upcoming wedding. That he would attempt to blackmail the young couple in this way is shameful. Let's hope they are mature enough to ignore him, and that they have a long and happy life together. Opa!

DEAR ABBY: Our youngest daughter will graduate from college next month. The school is 10 hours away by car or a 2 1/2-hour plane ride. There are no direct flights.

My husband and I are excited about this special day, and so is his 82-year-old mother.(I'll call her Ethel.) She mentioned yesterday that she's excited to go.

Abby, Ethel is not a well woman. She has trouble walking, falls occasionally and hasn't been out of this town for 30 years. She is also hypercritical. She does nothing but complain about other people, her health, this country, etc. Looking after her would be a huge burden.

We'd like to attend this milestone event without the added stress of taking care of her. My husband and I have been married 25 years, and Ethel still complains about me. Because she's such a handful, we have never taken her to dinner or a movie. How do we (kindly) tell her that what she has in mind is not going to be possible?-- READY TO CELEBRATE IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR READY TO CELEBRATE: You and your husband should tell his mother that graduations in the best of circumstances are stressful events and can be difficult for someone who is unsteady on her feet. You could also mention that seating is limited, because it often is at graduations. Then offer to videotape the ceremony so she doesn't have to miss it.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#2 May 13, 2013
L@ That was us precisely, last year. My 80+ parents were going to attend an out of tow gradation come hell or high water. We invited my sister to come as a "minder". She drove the parents back to the hotel when they could not finish out an event and staved off the brunt of the complaining.
Tell her tht stadium seating is not set up with fall protection and she have t stay in a wheelchair.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#3 May 13, 2013
L1: "We understand that this was common practice for families passing through Ellis Island coming to America a century ago" From what I've read, this is more myth than fact.

L2: Do not invite her.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#4 May 13, 2013
PEllen wrote:
L@ That was us precisely, last year. My 80+ parents were going to attend an out of tow gradation come hell or high water. We invited my sister to come as a "minder". She drove the parents back to the hotel when they could not finish out an event and staved off the brunt of the complaining.
Tell her tht stadium seating is not set up with fall protection and she have t stay in a wheelchair.
I bet you'd do that for your sister, as well.

I thought of you when I read this letter!`

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#5 May 13, 2013
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
L1: "We understand that this was common practice for families passing through Ellis Island coming to America a century ago" From what I've read, this is more myth than fact.
L2: Do not invite her.
It happened to my great great grandparents. It happened in my ex-husbands family. We each of us have cousins with variants of the old country name

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#6 May 13, 2013
PEllen wrote:
<quoted text>
It happened to my great great grandparents. It happened in my ex-husbands family. We each of us have cousins with variants of the old country name
Yes, it did happen, but not to the extent that "family lore" seems to indicate.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#7 May 13, 2013
LW1: Tell grandpa to eff off.

Or get him stinking drunk on ouzo and then tell him that he agreed to drop the name-change business.

Nah, on second thought, just tell him to eff off.

LW2: If you have a willing helper like PEllen did, that go with that.

If not, tell her that because of the limited seating each family only gets 2 tickets.

Since: Mar 09

Pittsburgh, PA

#8 May 13, 2013
PEllen wrote:
<quoted text>
It happened to my great great grandparents. It happened in my ex-husbands family. We each of us have cousins with variants of the old country name
Some of my former inlaws are Jackman. And some are diGiacomantonio! Contrary to rumor, the 2 branches do speak to each other :-)

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#9 May 13, 2013
1 Money rules. He who has the money makes the rules.

2 Sorry mom, only got 2 tickets.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Melrose Park, IL

#10 May 13, 2013
2- She hasn't left town for thirty years! Let the old woman have her thrill!

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

#11 May 13, 2013
PEllen wrote:
L@ That was us precisely, last year. My 80+ parents were going to attend an out of tow gradation come hell or high water. We invited my sister to come as a "minder". She drove the parents back to the hotel when they could not finish out an event and staved off the brunt of the complaining.
Tell her tht stadium seating is not set up with fall protection and she have t stay in a wheelchair.
I thought of you immediately when reading that letter...ha!
Stina

Saint Petersburg, FL

#12 May 13, 2013
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
L1: "We understand that this was common practice for families passing through Ellis Island coming to America a century ago" From what I've read, this is more myth than fact.
L2: Do not invite her.
Growing up in NY where a lot of people immigrated through EI, you heard a lot of stories of this happening. My grandfather didn't have that happen, though, but his was an easy name. My grandmother came over on the ship that rescued the Titanic survivors.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#13 May 13, 2013
Stina wrote:
<quoted text>
Growing up in NY where a lot of people immigrated through EI, you heard a lot of stories of this happening. My grandfather didn't have that happen, though, but his was an easy name. My grandmother came over on the ship that rescued the Titanic survivors.
"You heard a lot of stories of this happening."

And I'm saying, from what I"ve read, much of it isn't true or just is exaggerated. It turns out that assigning new last names to people wasn't really the norm or all that common.
Stina

Saint Petersburg, FL

#14 May 13, 2013
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
<quoted text>
"You heard a lot of stories of this happening."
And I'm saying, from what I"ve read, much of it isn't true or just is exaggerated. It turns out that assigning new last names to people wasn't really the norm or all that common.
I grew up with people who had it happen in their families. I just don't remember speciic instances/names because I am old.

Since: Jan 10

Location hidden

#15 May 13, 2013
Stina wrote:
<quoted text>
I grew up with people who had it happen in their families. I just don't remember speciic instances/names because I am old.
Ha! I'm there myself!
Kuuipo

Salinas, CA

#16 May 13, 2013
LW1: The problem is that the old geezer is trying to tell the granddaughter what to do. That is just not OK. I'd tell him to stuff it whether or not I liked the idea. I have a very good friend whose maiden name is Greek. None of her sisters-in-law have a problem with it.

LW2: What Amy said. As a backup plan, consider hiring an aide to accompany "Mom" on the trip. It would cost you a bundle, but save you some of the misery.
Julie

Chicago, IL

#17 May 13, 2013
LW2: "My husband and I have been married 25 years, and Ethel still complains about me. Because she's such a handful, we have never taken her to dinner or a movie."

You haven't taken your MIL to dinner or a movie IN 25 FREAKIN' YEARS???
Holy Effin God. I don't care *how much* of a PITA she is--it sounds like she has *PLENTY REASON* to hate you, you massively selfish BTCH!

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#18 May 13, 2013
Julie wrote:
You haven't taken your MIL to dinner or a movie IN 25 FREAKIN' YEARS???
Holy Effin God. I don't care *how much* of a PITA she is--it sounds like she has *PLENTY REASON* to hate you, you massively selfish BTCH!
I actually agree with this. Everyone else is believing the MIL is the problem. The problem may instead lie with the LW and her husband. The LW sounds snooty and too self-important for her own good. I feel sorry for this LW. Her family has shut her out rather than trying to include her.

“It made sense at the time....”

Since: May 09

Des Plaines, IL

#19 May 13, 2013
LW2 - "Abby, Ethel is not a well woman. She has trouble walking, falls occasionally and hasn't been out of this town for 30 years. She is also hypercritical. She does nothing but complain about other people, her health, this country, etc. Looking after her would be a huge burden."

complaining, hyper critical, nothing ever right... it gets very tiring dealing with someone like this... my gramma was like that, not to the extent indicated here. add hearing problems (that she denied) to it, and it made taking her places very difficult in the last few years. hell, i had to 'assign' someone to her at thanksgiving so that she woudlnt keep wandering through the kitchen getting in the way at the last second - almost dumped a pot of just-off-the-boil potatoes on her one year because she decided that right after i turned off the burner was the time to clean a spot off the floor right in front of the sink...

so, long story short, while we don't have hte examples from teh LW showing what her MIL is like, mobility issues + cranky personality + travel = trouble and misery for those involved

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