As the World War II generation is passing and passed, you and your husband are not the only ones to find yourself with gruesome relics disinterred from a veteran’s attic or basement. As Jack Shafer writes, many such souvenirs made their way here from the Pacific theater, despite our military’s orders against such desecration. You’re right to want to return this pair to their homeland. Instead of mentioning to your friend and brother-in-law that you’ve cursed them with your largesse (which you haven’t), show them this article about a similar situation. Say you want to take responsibility for the repatriation of the skulls and you will contact the nearest Japanese consulate to get things started. Certainly, this can be handled quietly and the skulls eventually buried, along with the story of how your father-in-law came to possess them.
Two of my dear friends from college got married to each other last weekend. I haven't seen them in four years, but we communicate from time to time on Facebook. I can think of three possibilities why I wasn’t invited: 1) My invitation got lost in the mail. 2) They forgot to invite me. 3) They chose not to invite me. I feel stung, left out, and hurt. Thanks to social media, I have seen photos and video from the rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception. The event was not small; there were banquet tables for college classmates. For nearly two years, the bride and groom and I were among a tight-knit group who spent hours working together on the college newspaper. Outside of school we had parties at each other's apartments and long conversations over pitchers of beer. Is there were a tactful way to find out why they didn't include me?
When Facebook was first introduced I wondered what it would be like for young people to go through life tethered electronically to almost everyone they’ve known. Now it’s clear that for some being connected forever via social media can be like hauling around a box of childhood stuffed animals. There’s no room for them, but they have too much sentimental value to discard. However intense your time on the college paper was, I’ve got to break the news to you that people have moved on. The reason you weren’t invited is that for years now your interaction with this couple has been perfunctory. Please don’t ask them to spell this out to you. I have qualms about the constant display Facebook engenders and the imperative to publicly document every social event. But ultimately it’s your problem if you feel you were robbed of a slice of the wedding cake. Sometime after this couple gets back from the honeymoon (try not to monitor their updates about it) send a private Facebook message saying you heard the wonderful news they’ve tied the knot. Add you’re delighted to have witnessed the beginning of this great romance and you wish them all happiness.
More Dear Prudence Columns
“My Twin Sister Says I'm Fat: Prudie offers advice on twins entangled in family rifts, rows, and rivalries.” Posted Aug. 25, 2011.
“Give Grandpa a Kiss-Off?: A creeping suspicion tells me to keep my father-in-law away from my kids. Should I listen to it?” Posted Sept. 1, 2011.
“Longtime Companion: Is it OK to hide my gay affair since my wife doesn't want sex anymore?” Posted Sept. 8, 2011.
“Deadly Family Secret: My mother-in-law hid a life-threatening condition that could strike my child. How can I forgive her?” Posted Sept. 15, 2011.
More Dear Prudence Chat Transcripts
“Type "R" for Revenge: Dear Prudence advises a woman who got her cheating ex fired by sending a nasty email—in a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Aug. 29, 2011.
“The Nudist Next Door: Dear Prudence advises a reader whose new neighbor needs better curtains—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Sept. 6, 2011.
“Am I Dating a Swinger?: Dear Prudence advises a woman who craves a monogamous relationship but can't seem to find one—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Sept. 12, 2011.
“He'd Like a Virgin: Dear Prudence advises a woman who lied to her fiance about her sexual past—during a live chat at Washingtonpost.com.” Posted Sept. 19, 2011.