DEAR ABBY: I'd like to respond to those scurrilous attacks on us older folks sent in by some younger readers. What do those kids know about hard times? They weren't even born in 1929 when the stock market crashed, the banks closed, and millions of us were wiped out overnight.
"Christine" says her research indicates that there are more poor people in her age group (24-35) than in the senior group. Where did she do her research? In Palm Springs, Palm Beach and on Park Avenue? Why didn't she check the millions of us who live in mobile home parks? I've yet to see a Lincoln Town Car or a Cadillac there. What idiot would believe we'd live in these tin homes if we were rich?"Statistics" say our per capita income is higher than the average American's. Well, since I retired in 1968, my expenses have gone up 500 percent - but my income is fixed!
If these young folks are so poor, who is spending billions of dollars on rock concerts, drugs, designer clothes and other non-essentials? Certainly not the senior citizens.
This is probably too long for your column, but I just wanted you to know that it's tough enough getting old without having to defend still being alive at 85. - FRANK C. BURKHARD IN FLORIDA
DEAR FRANK: Your letter was well worth the space. Read on - there's more from justifiably irate seniors:
DEAR ABBY: I have a bone to pick with one of your readers who said that the seniors are the wealthiest people in the country. That line about how we spend our golden years really got to me. So we do nothing but travel and take cruises? I'm 72, and the only cruise I ever took was the one that began in San Diego and went to Hawaii, Okinawa, Guam, Midway and Iwo Jima. - SCOTTY McD., U.S. NAVY (RETIRED)
DEAR ABBY: I am a senior citizen, age 73. My husband is 71. The younger generation has no idea of what we went through to get where we are today. When we were first married, we lived in one room. We didn't own a car, had no help from our families and didn't expect it. We did without things we couldn't afford.
I had to wash diapers in the bathtub and hung them outside to dry no matter what the weather was (no washing machines or dryers). We were thrilled when McDonald's opened up and hamburgers were 15 cents and we could "go out for dinner" on special occasions.
We're retired now and barely getting by. If it weren't for Social Security, I don't know what we'd do. And by the way, it's not exactly a welfare handout. We paid into that fund since it began in the '30s, and we're just getting back what we put in. - JIMMY AND PAT IN WYOMING
DEAR ABBY: In reading that letter from "Christine," who complained about senior citizens getting discounts, she said there are more poor people in her age group (24-35) than there are in the senior group. Then she quoted some statistics to prove her point.
I was reminded of Mark Twain's famous quote: "There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics." - KEITH E. GATLINE, SYRACUSE, N.Y.
Abby's favorite family recipes are included in her new cookbooklet! Send your name and address plus check or money order for $3.50 ($4 in Canada) to: Abby's Cookbooklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)