OPINION | DEAR ABBY: Granddaughter disturbed by grandmother’s early work

Dear Abby: My grandma died when I was 7. She was my favorite person. I adored her. She played with me when no one else had time, taught me how to bake, told me stories and didn’t care that I was playing in the dishwater when she was trying to wash dishes.

I always knew that before she married Grandpa, she had worked as a cook in an American Indian boarding school in the U.S. I now know how atrocious and evil those places were. They practiced government- and church-condoned cultural genocide and children were sexually and emotionally abused there.

I love my grandma, but I’m embarrassed, angry and disgusted that she worked in one. If it was church-affiliated, I know she would have overlooked any abuse, even if she saw the act. How can I get past my anger at someone for something they did a lifetime ago? She has been dead more than 40 years. — Hurt Granddaughter

Dear Hurt: Your grandmother sounds like a loving, caring, hardworking woman who was trying to feed (and possibly nurture) the school children. It may have been the only job she could find. Terrible things happened there, but they were not her fault.

Child abuse isn’t restricted to one religion. Many religious people in many denominations cannot believe there is such evil among them. If your grandma had shortcomings, forgive her and move on. Dwelling on negative feelings for someone who was good to you and is gone isn’t healthy.

Dear Abby: My wife died two years ago. I met a woman shortly afterward. We dated for a year, shared the same hobbies and were intimate. We were inseparable. Now, after a year of marriage, we don’t do anything together, and she has put on 30 pounds. Her three girls, who I was led to believe were independent at ages 20, 22 and 24, are actually supported in part by her. Her 15-year-old son lives with us and just stays in his room on his computer. He gets food delivered and does no chores.

I make $250k a year. She makes about $50k, and I give her an allowance to help pay for her son’s private school and whatever else she wants.

It’s obvious that I’m not No. 1 in her life. I may not even be No. 2. My friends say that she’s a gold digger who took advantage of me. I can’t believe I was wrong, and I’m always giving her “one more chance.” Am I being taken advantage of? — Ranking Low In North Carolina

Dear Ranking: Not knowing your wife, I can’t judge whether she’s a gold digger. Of this I am certain, however: You are being taken advantage of no more than you want to be. If you want to save this marriage, tell your wife you are unhappy and offer her the option of counseling. If she refuses, consult an attorney and be happy that the marriage will be a short one.

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 P.O. Box 69440,Los Angeles, CA 90069 or visit