Years ago, I remember sitting at my grandmother’s kitchen table with the newspaper spread out in front of me. Leaning over the black print while eating my breakfast, I couldn’t get enough of the Dear Abby column.
Her advice was common sense, but her wit and charm are what drew me in. Ever since then, I’ve loved the syndicated column along with her twin sister’s Ann Landers. I’ve read them both since I was a young girl.
Their serious answers for difficult questions and their lighthearted responses to the silliest readers’ submissions have been a joy to read. And they have had an answer for everything – from the overbearing in-laws to the nosey neighbors to one of my favorites, a wife cooking in the nude.
When I heard of Pauline Phillips passing away last week, I was saddened. She founded the column in January 1956 and, although she handed over the reins to her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, more than a decade ago, I can’t help but feel that this is the end of an era.
The famous Abigail Van Buren, Phillips’ pen name, I fear is a symbol of the past. Many of the younger generation don’t know who she was. And many of the current generation don’t read advice columns anymore.
Although, I have to say, when my predecessor, Janet Kangas, wrote under the persona of her sweet dog, Duke, I loved it. He had a knack for making everything better with a plate of bacon. And who doesn’t need a little more bacon in their lives?
I only wish I had the compassionate wisdom of Dear Abby and the playfulness of Ask Duke. I would love to bring back an advice column to the Independent.
Maybe we will find someone in the community to take on the task of offering advice. That would be lovely for our readers and it would be a great way to honor and remember the work of our dear Abby.
If you’re interested, please contact me at email@example.com or 919-552-5675.