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Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: My husband's sister passed away in 2013. Her husband, "Roger," joined her in heaven three months ago.

There are pictures in their house of my husband's family (parents, grandparents) that he would like to have and that are of no interest to Roger's family since they never knew those relatives. Not knowing the etiquette for asking for items after a person's passing, I asked several people who had lost close family members when a respectful time to ask would be. They all said that two weeks should be fine.

I contacted Roger's granddaughter asking about the pictures and told her we are not interested in anything but the pictures. The granddaughter got angry and said that "everybody is already wanting all Roger's things." Then she blocked me, and now I have no way to contact anyone. I'm worried that the pictures will be discarded.

I feel terrible that I offended the granddaughter. It wasn't intentional. I don't even have a way to apologize. Was I wrong? What is usually the etiquette in such matters? — MISSING FAMILY PHOTOS

DEAR MISSING: You did nothing wrong. You didn't jump the gun because others have also been inquiring about the disposition of property. Emotions can run high when there is a death in the family, and frankly, the granddaughter may have overreacted.

You stated that you "contacted" her. Was it online? I ask because sensitive questions like this are best dealt with directly — in person or by phone. You may be able to contact surviving relatives by reaching out to the mortuary that handled the funeral, or to the church Roger and his wife may have belonged to. It couldn't hurt to inquire again in a month or two, if that's possible. I agree it would be a shame if the family photos were tossed.

DEAR ABBY: My grandchildren work as restaurant servers. When I took them to lunch the other day, they said if I was going to pay by credit card, I should leave the tip for the server in cash. (They offered to pay the kid, but it was my treat, so I said I would leave it.)

They then explained that when a tip is left on the card, the server doesn't get it immediately because the restaurant waits until it clears and then they get paid. Generally, the business gets around to doing it only once or twice a month. Also, on the receipt, you check off 15%, 18% or 20% of the bill. There's no way for the server to keep track of the amount of each individual check. They don't know if they are getting all of what's coming to them or if the owner is pocketing some of the money.

Servers are only just now getting back to work, so I tip a little more generously than I used to. I want to make sure they get their money now. — CASH IS BETTER

DEAR CASH: I agree that cash on the barrel is probably the best way to ensure the server gets every bit of what's intended from the client. That an employer would help himself to money intended for an employee is shameful — and yet I have heard that it happens to parking attendants, too.

My late husband worked as a parking attendant in his youth, and he told me his employer actually had the pockets of their uniforms sewn shut and confiscated their tips. It's why he always asked parking attendants if they were allowed to keep the tips. A word to the wise.

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.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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Jeanne Phillips
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