Ann Landers gave advice that counted

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 25, 2002

She was in all of our homes.

It wasn't through a television set. And she didn't come knocking on the front door, promoting a related book or project to benefit her pocketbook.

Ann Landers has been a mainstay on Page 3 of the Austin Daily Herald for many years. She's come into many homes not just in this community, but throughout Minnesota and America as well.

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That's what makes her death even harder to grasp.

Saturday, Eppie Lederer -- known to the world as Ann Landers -- passed away. She was 83.

Readers have known and come to expect Ann Landers in each issue of this newspaper.

There's numerous reasons why we could connect with her. One was that Ann Landers was a Midwesterner. She was based in Chicago, but her advice didn't come off as stuffy or snobbish.

It was plain, down-to-earth frankness on touchy issues like marital strife and homosexuality.

A lot of these topics through the years have -- and still may be considered -- taboo.

But Ann Landers didn't care. It was more important to give sound and direct advice to someone that she genuinely cared about -- her readers.

In a Chicago Tribune story, she summed it up best.

"Well, they don’t consider me a stranger," she once explained, with sacks of letters to back her up on the matter. "I'm the lady next door, their best friend, the mother they couldn't communicate with before, but they can now. Most of all, I'm a good listener."

We're one of 1,200 newspapers that have believed Ann Landers' advice and wit are beneficial to our readers.

Lederer said it was her desire to have no one else use the "Ann Landers" name once she passed away. The people who distribute her column, Creators Syndicate, are honoring that request and will run a similar advice column called "Ann's Mailbag" in its place.

Everyone knows it won't be the same.

That's because Ann Landers was unique. Each column we read, we could visualize the situation and chuckle, knowing that we have a sibling or uncle who could easily take the place of some of the characters in her story.

Thanks,Ann, for your many years of devoted service to not just the readers of this newspaper, but others across America.

Your voice will be missed, but your timeless advice will live on.