We grew up with advice from both the beloved columnist known as Dear Abby (nee Pauline Friedman Phillips, aka Abigail VanBuren) and her twin sister, Ann Landers (nee Esther Friedman Lederer). Those were the days when life was gentler and questions were about simple everyday things like marriage, children, jobs, and relationships. In those days, no one asked advice on how to deal with terrorists or senseless shootings or obesity or gun control. At the risk of sounding old, those were, indeed, the good old days.
Alas, Dear Abby lost her long and hard-fought battle with Alzheimer’s disease on Wednesday at the age of 94. She has left behind a legacy of loving, fun, and funny columns and advice for living the good life. Once asked by newscaster Edward Morrow in 1954 what her best advice was for living a good life, her answer was succinct and spontaneous. “Giving.”
Dear Abby always strived to express her sincerity couched in humor, which she attributed to her dad. Her columns and writing style were also guided by her favorite Swedish toast: “Fear less, hope more. Eat less, chew more. Talk less, say more. Hate less, love more.” She always said that she got an early start in school when friends would come to her with their problems, ask for advice, and revere her counsel and good sense. She attributed those days and the success of her column to her ability to listen and get to the crux of the problem quickly and with wit, which see did from 1956, when her first column appeared until she passed the advice-writing baton on to her daughter, Jeanne, in 2000.
Dear Abby outlived Ann Landers by eleven years.
Goodbye and rest in peace, Dear Abby, and thanks for the good advice, the love, and the laughs.
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