There I was. A high school freshman sitting on the front row of an Intro to Modern History class. I was right in spitting range of my teacher’s desk who embodied an appearance strikingly similar to that of William Howard Taft himself.
Mr. Almost-Taft was beginning to call attendance which for some reason always gave me loads of anxiety on the first day of a course. Mastering a perfectly pleasant “here” is not an easy thing to do, especially when your teacher decides to make a joke of your name (it’s okay Christian Kox, we’re here for you).
“Ah…Miss. Abby Van Buren,” he said mischievously. “Or should I refer to you as Dear Abby.”
Oh god. Here we go.
I had heard about this “Dear Abby” thing previously from my mom and grandparents or really anyone over the age of 50. Because of this age demographic, I would become squeamish when the topic was brought up around my peers. For those that are unfamiliar, Dear Abby is an advice column that’s been around since the 50’s. Pauline Philips is the woman who started it all. She founded her column under the pen name of Abigail Van Buren.
According to my mom, my great grandma was insistent that I was named Abigail because was mom was married to a Van Buren. My great grandma was an avid Dear Abby reader and thought it would be a waste if I was not named after it. My mom didn’t love the name Abigail (I don’t either) but she did like the name Abby (that’s better mom thank you). My great grandma always thought my name was Abigail…sorry grams.
For an idea of what the column entails, I’ve snipped a bit from the current website of Dear Abby.
“Dear Abby is well-known for sound, compassionate advice, delivered with the straightforward style of a good friend. Share a laugh, shed a tear or learn something new every day with Dear Abby.”
Although the idea of being compared to this advice column as a high school freshman was mortifying, it appealed to me more and more as I got older. As I began my journey into college, I realized just how much madness was surrounding me. Everything from politics, religion, feminism, beauty, celebrities, to dietary habits in my culture, everything started to grab my attention.
I was inspired to educate myself.
Although I was forming my own opinions on these topics, I never felt that I could share them in fear of being told off or possibly offending anyone. I continued to research and I realized that I could share my thoughts without putting anyone down, or at least I could try.
My goal for this blog is to share my findings, explore alternate views and to simply think.
So there you have it. Abby Van Buren is reborn in the form of my own Dear Abby interpretation. I hope to have you back so we can think together.
Abby Koenig. 2012. Dear Abby: Happy Birthday, Can I Take Over Your