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If you would like to ask The Godmother for help, send your questions to (exchange @ for x in address line.)

Dear Madrone,

This really burns me up. I have friends come for coffee, they don't bring cake, they don't bring anything. They always come with hat in hand. I don't say anything, my mother raised me right. How can they get a clue? It's straining our friendship. I would no sooner go to someone's house without a present than I would run around town in my nightie. In fact I'm more likely to run around town in a nightie as I work for a club that caters to gentlemen who know what it means to bring a gift.

Indignant, Walla Walla

Dear Walla,

When you go away on vacation, do you leave them the key? Do they water the plants and take in the mail, or drive you to the doctor when your own children are living in another state or just too busy having their nails done when they could have rescheduled but no, they have "lives of their own," ungrateful brats who come running when they need a loan or a babysitter? If no, then they are mooches and unlikely to get a clue anytime soon without you slamming the door in their face. If, however the answer is yes, you must live with an arrangement not unlike that of the members of your gentlemen's club, who also understand the mutual scratching of backs. God Bless, Donna

Dear Madrone,

A girl I know, let's call her Rolla, why not, had a boyfriend who was, shall we say, a business partner of her father. The boyfriend turns out to be a rat, and the father, in order to preserve what was left of his old age, was compelled to turn his back on the ex. They are now prevented by both their honor and the state of New Mexico, from associating. All well and good. Or is it? It turns out that on the sly, Rolla keeps a little something going with said rat. Is this not a betrayal of her father? And should I tell? I know all parties involved because I am their parole officer.

Bursting, Santa Fe

Dear Bursting,

Either way, when the truth comes out. your name is going to be mud. If you tell, the father will be annoyed that you have made his betrayal public, and come between him and his daughter, the daughter will blame you either for the breaking of her father's heart or the breaking off with the rat. If you don't tell, then they will all blame you anyhow, the father for letting him make a fool of himself, Romeo and Juliet for treating them like they weren't important enough to talk about. I say you can suit yourself on this one, taking into account the terms of their parole and whether or not automatic weapons were involved. God bless, Donna

Dear Madrone,

I am fifteen years old and my mother treats me like I am ten. She won't let me have boys call, or go to parties. If I even wear make up, she has a fit and makes me cry. She finds out everything, there are no secrets. I don't want to go against her Madrone, I am a good girl, but there is a big dance coming up and there is a boy I like who likes me back and I would like to go with him. In a group of course and properly chaperoned, but I know there's no hope, not unless you write her Madrone and I can cut out this column and say SEE, the Madrone gives me her blessing. I'm begging you to take my part.

Sad, Half Moon Bay

Dear Sadder

I call you that, because what I have to say will not cheer you up. I will not go against your mother. If she says so, she says so. If you are not happy with her decrees, you have three options- bow to her authority, fight like hell or sneak. I do, however, refer you to the concept of walking money. See below. In the meantime, your mother must have done at least one thing right, because she raised a smart girl who knows where to turn for advice. God bless, Donna

Dear Readers:

WALKING MONEY means having enough so that you never, ever, have to know someone because they pay your rent or feed you. No one gives you walking money, you earn it.




Pamela Bongiorno Monk is a full time faculty member of Penn State University, where she teaches creative writing, both fiction and non fiction. She pursues freelance writing, authoring plays and feature articles. She has broken nearly as many rules of family as she has enforced.

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