Dear Abby: Our parents make my sister and me go with them to visit our grandparents one Saturday a month. They live two hours away. We don't like having to waste our Saturday this way. My sister and I are 15 and 16, and we're old enough to stay home alone. When we are there, all we do is sit there bored while our parents and grandparents talk.

Our grandparents show no interest in us, even though they tell our parents how much they "love" seeing us. Our parents say our grandparents are not in good health and may not be around much longer, so one Saturday a month isn't too much to ask.

The other day Mom overheard us in our room talking about how much we hate having to go over there, and she was furious. She said we were selfish and care about no one but ourselves, and she had better not hear that kind of talk again. Please tell us what you think. — Bored to Death in San Francisco

Dear Bored to Death: Sometimes when people grow older, they lose the knack of communicating with younger people. While visiting your grandparents may seem like a pain in the neck now, when you're older you may be glad that you did.

One way to bridge the generation gap would be for you and your sister to show some interest in THEM. Prepare a list of questions to ask them before you go to visit. You might be pleasantly surprised to find their answers a fascinating window on the past, and give you an insight about how your parents were raised.

Please consider what I have said. It will make visiting your grandparents less of an ordeal — and you might even learn something of value.

Dear Abby: My long-standing boyfriend, "Peter," and I plan to be married next year. Peter's parents divorced long ago because his father was abusive. Peter told me about a specific incident in which his father pushed him down the basement stairs.

Because of a recent spiritual awakening, Peter decided to forgive his dad, but the man rejected a face-to-face reconciliation with his son. Of course, this has hurt Peter deeply, and it hurts me to see him go through it.

I had always thought that married couples should share the same last name. But I feel uncomfortable taking Peter's name, knowing that it was given to him by a man who abused him and no longer wants him as a son.

A logical solution would be for us to take his maternal grandfather's last name because he and Peter are extremely close. However, I could never ask Peter to give up his last name. Should I alone take his grandfather's name? I realize this problem may not seem important, but it carries a lot of weight with me. — No-Name Jane in Gainesville, Fla.

Dear Jane: While you could never "ask" Peter to give up his last name, you should certainly talk to him about your feelings. If he has no objection, you could use his maternal grandfather's name. You could also, as many women do today, continue to use your maiden name.

Or, you two lovebirds could choose a name you both like and adopt it together. After all, to quote William Shakespeare, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © Universal Press Syndicate