DEAR ABBY: I am a Hispanic-American woman who has been married to my husband for three years. He was born and raised in North Carolina. He’s a wonderful person. We both share a passion for antiques, and we love researching and learning about the past. My husband is white, and he grew up in times of segregation. He feels comfortable sharing and showing stuff from that time.
A year ago, we watched the movie “Green Book” about the travel guide published from 1936 to 1966 for African American travelers to use when discrimination was widespread. After that, he became obsessed about buying a copy of an actual Green Book and, regardless of my concerns, he did.
We recently bought a Victorian house built in 1900 and have been excited about renovating it and keeping it as close as possible to the original style. We have also enjoyed buying antique furniture to recreate that time in our home.
My husband bought an old wall phone and hung the Green Book on it. I expressed to him how uncomfortable this makes me, but he insisted on hanging it in the sitting room. When one of my friends comes over, I try to hide the book, but my husband finds it and hangs it back on the phone.
I wasn’t born in America, but I am a naturalized citizen and familiar with the sad period of segregation the book represents. What do you think about this? Am I too sensitive to the issue? Should I just take the book and place it in the trash? — OFFENDED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR OFFENDED: What is your husband’s motivation for having and displaying the book? He may be a wonderful man, but he is insensitive to your feelings. Because you have already told him how uncomfortable it makes you, it is beyond inconsiderate that he would hang the Green Book in your shared sitting room.
Resist the urge to destroy it, but when friends come over and inquire about the book that is so prominently displayed, don’t hesitate to tell them — in plain, unvarnished language — how you feel about it. You are entitled to your feelings.
DEAR ABBY: I have an ongoing dilemma with my sister. She often plans vacations for us to take together and springs them on me out of the blue. She then pressures me to say yes and becomes impatient when I tell her I need time to think about it.
The thing is, she isn’t a great travel companion and I don’t enjoy going on vacation with her. I have taken trips with her before. She is finicky and picky, and she often expects me to front the money for expenses. I have limited vacation time, and I’d rather spend it with my significant other and friends who are better travel buddies.
I can’t be honest about this with her because she is extremely sensitive and would take it poorly. On the other hand, I feel guilty dodging all her requests for vacations. She doesn’t have close friends because her attitude tends to repel others. I want to do the right thing, but I don’t want to feel used or guilted. How would you handle this? — PUT UPON IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR PUT UPON: I would handle this by telling her no and following it up with why — that although you love her as a sister, you do not enjoy having plans sprung on you and demanding an instant answer, fronting the money for expenses and spending time with someone who is finicky and picky. It’s the truth, and it may be the wake-up call she needs. Above all, remember that the truth will set you free.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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