Dear Annie: I just heard about your contest to write a poem for July 4 that is more balanced, and that mentions women, as well as men. Why would you print something like that in August, when school is out and kids can't participate? It would have been an excellent project for my classroom.
Could you please rerun the original request and extend the deadline? Maybe a few of my middle school kids could write something special that merits being printed in your column. Thanks. -- Teacher in Florida
Dear Teacher: It didn't occur to us at the time that the contest request would run during summer break. You are right that it is perfect for the classroom, as well as would-be poets, so we will extend our deadline until June 1. (That's absolutely the latest, folks.) Here is the original letter:
Dear Annie: I appreciate the patriotic intent of your July 4 column, but what would my daughter and seven nieces make of the mention of 27 men but just two women? The author overlooked Sacagawea, Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the myriad other female contributors to our nation's progress.
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Maybe next year you could share someone's writing that does a better job of recognizing the meaningful roles many courageous and capable women have played and continue to play in shaping our nation. All credit to Ginger Rogers' high heels, but Sacagawea did everything Lewis and Clark did, but she did it postpartum and carrying a newborn on her back.
If no one has written anything more balanced since Mr. Whitaker's piece appeared in 1955, consider the gauntlet tossed. -- A Loyal Reader
Dear Loyal Reader: We agree that an updated version is long overdue. Several readers suggested a writing contest and we love this idea. So readers, put your creative caps on and send us a poem or essay that expresses the contributions men and women have made to our country's history. This also might be a good project for teachers to give their students.
Send your efforts to Annie's Mailbox at creators.com or Facebook.com/AskAnnies. We will print the best one on July 4, along with your name.
Dear Annie: I'm puzzled by the apostrophe in "Annie's Mailbox" combined with a photo of two women. If both of you are named Annie, then the apostrophe should be after the "s" ("Annies' Mailbox"). If only one is Annie, why are two women pictured? -- Your Fan, the Grammar Cop in Sarasota, Florida
Dear Grammar Cop: We love these questions. They are so unexpected. For the record, there are two of us, and neither of us is named "Annie." One of us is Kathy and the other is Marcy. (This should be noted at the bottom of the column.) The Mailbox was named in honor of Ann Landers, with whom we both worked for many years. Hence it is "Annie's Mailbox" with an apostrophe. Hope that clears it up. After all, there can be only one Ann Landers. We simply do the best we can to honor her legacy.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com or write to Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies.
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