DEAR ABBY: The letter from Lowell K. Allen, who served on the submarine "Cato" in World War II, contained some errors. First and foremost, there never was a submarine called the Cato. Also, there is not now, never has and never will be a 20 mm submachine gun. I think the man meant to say a Thompson .45-caliber submachine gun.
He did correctly point out, however, that even the so-called "educated" make mistakes. I spent 30 years in the Navy, 1943-1973, and there are documented cases of deck guns being fired "accidentally." -- J. PAUL SURPREMANT, LCDR U.S. NAVY (RET.), FLORIDA
DEAR PAUL: Thank you and the other readers who pointed out the inaccuracies in that letter. Because of a typographical error at my syndicate, Mr. Allen's ship was referred to as the "Cato." Mr. Allen served on the USS Gato (SS212).
I contacted Mr. Allen, who apologized for incorrectly referring to the gun as a 20 mm submachine gun, and said it was probably a .45-caliber submachine gun as many readers accurately guessed. Also, two initials were transposed in Mr. Allen's rank. He was RMCS, meaning Radio Man, Chief, Senior.
I appreciate the fact that so many people took the time to write and point out the errors. You are all heroes in my book. However, I didn't write that column because I have an "anti-gun agenda." I wrote it because I am anti-gun from the bottom of my heart.
DEAR ABBY: My son, "Marty," and his wife, "Darla," recently spent a week with me in my home. I worked very hard to make their visit enjoyable. One evening I planned a lovely dinner. After we finished, I asked Darla if she would help me clear the table. She looked at me as if I had mortally wounded her -- and walked out of the room!
Later, I approached Marty and told him how upset I was over Darla's behavior. He replied, "This isn't the 1950s, Mom. She doesn't have to help." He also said that Darla was never taught to express appreciation and wasn't raised to do housework. (She didn't lift a finger the entire week.)
That was three weeks ago. I haven't heard a word from them since they left. Was I wrong in asking my daughter-in-law to help? -- UPSET MOM IN FLORIDA
DEAR UPSET: Certainly not. And I hope your son didn't just sit there, since I assume you raised him to lend a hand when there's a job to be done.
You are not going to change Darla. The next time they visit, go to restaurants or buy take-out food and serve it on paper plates.
I hope that when you pay them a visit, they pamper you as you pampered them -- but don't hold your breath. As tempting as it would be not to lift a finger, I know it's not in your DNA to play the helpless houseguest.
CONFIDENTIAL TO MARTHA IN MOBILE: Look carefully before you leap. Experience is the comb life gives you after you've lost your hair.
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