Q. My brother is a recently-single parent taking care of three children ages five, nine and 11. The children are becoming unkempt-looking. And they all seem out of sorts. I have asked my brother if he needs help, and he says, “No.” He has gone from a happy individual to a withdrawn, isolated man. I am concerned and am not sure what to do.
The panelists noted that the question does not explain the reason for the brother recently becoming a single brother.
Q. I’m a single mother living in a small apartment building. A young woman, who I suspect is also a single mother, has just moved in with her toddler. I think she has a job, and the times I’ve seen her, she has looked very tired. We’ve never met. Would it be inappropriate for me to ask her if I could be of help?
“It would be very appropriate for this woman to reach out to her neighbor, especially since she thinks the neighbor might be isolated and alone,” panelist Denise Continenza said.
Q. My 11-year-old son has not seen his father in 10 years after I divorced his father when I learned he was a drug addict. I am happily remarried. My son has a stepbrother. As my son enters his teen years, should give him information about his biological father? I am also worried about awakening a possible genetic predisposition to addiction.
Q. My daughter has children from a previous marriage. She has recently remarried. Her in-laws are buying expensive and not necessarily age-appropriate gifts for the grandchildren on birthdays and holidays. I don’t want to get into a spending war with them, but ’m not sure how to handle this. I don’t want to become the cheap grandparent.
The first question asked by the panel was: “What does the daughter feel about this situation?” It may not bother her and-or she may not be aware that it bothers her parents.
Civic Theatre of Allentown is presenting a winning double-header of parodies for the 2019 holiday season, with “A Christmas Carole 1944” on the main stage, based on Charles Dickens’ sublime classic “A Christmas Carol” and, just across 19th Street, the adult comedy “Who’s Holiday!,” with the main character borrowed from Dr. Seuss’ delightful story of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”
Advent’s origins date back to the Middle Ages, when it was a pre-Christmas season devoted to prayer and fasting before the coming of Jesus. Here in Bethlehem, Advent is commemorated with the lighting of giant outdoor candles – one for each of the four weeks before Dec. 25.
For the past 54 years, the Christmas City has also held an annual non-denominational Adventbreakfast to bring the community together to celebrate the beginning of the sacred season.
For the past 20 years, the professional acting ensemble of Touchstone Theatre, Bethlehem, has presented its “Christmas City Follies” to help audiences celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, while satirizing the commercialization and human foibles that continue to distract from the true meaning of the holidays.
Directed by Jp Jordan, and utilizing original vaudeville-style sketches filled with humor, music and shopping carts, the “Follies,” through Dec. 22, is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of shopping, package-wrapping and party-going.
Q. My 12-year-old daughter’s best friend has a 16-year-old sister who just got her learner’s permit. My daughter told me that they went on a long highway drive with the older sister driving and the father in the passenger seat. I am furious that my daughter was in a car driven by someone who has little experience, and hasn’t even taken driver’s ed yet. Should I confront the parents, not let my daughter go over to her friend’s house, or just let it go?
The immediate response from panelist Denise Continenza was “None of the above.”
If you are a fan of classic Hollywood movies, you might have seen the 1949 Technicolor film, “In the Good Old Summertime,” starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson. It was the musical version of the 1940 Jimmy Stewart movie, “The Shop Around the Corner,” which in 1998 was adapted as “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
In all its transformations, the plot is about two individuals who despise each other, unaware that they are the secret pen pals whom they “met” through lonely hearts advertisements. They know each other only as “Dear Friend.”
Civic Theatre of Allentown’s holiday show, “A Christmas Carole 1944,” through Dec. 21, Nineteenth Street Theatre, Allentown, is a refreshing departure from traditional productions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
The good thing is that nothing is lost in this stylish adaptation. Scrooge is just as miserly and mean, spouting, “Bah, Humbug!” at every opportunity.
Only “He” is a “She,” living in a high-rise apartment in New York City, the country is at war, and in place of workhouses there are taxes, welfare and FDR.