While I'm away, readers give the advice.

On being asked to return something given to you as a gift: Just about the time I got my first apartment, my parents were reclaiming my brother's room as a den - he had married at that point. My mother gave me his bed. I bought a dresser and nightstand to match, and when I later married, this became my guest bedroom set.

Thirty years later, my brother and his third wife bought a larger home. My mother called and said Brother needed his bed back. I told my mom I had had it for 30 years compared with his 23, therefore the statute of limitations had passed on returns. For once, she was speechless!

P.S: When people ask if I have any siblings, I always respond: No, my brother was an only child.

  On when to tell young children of their parents' impending divorce: I believe the kids should be told as soon as possible, with all present, in a family meeting of sorts. Kids are masters at picking up nonverbal cues that something is amiss (when they haven't been told yet to ignore their intuition. Don't get me started). When parents withhold information like this, kids often walk around unconsciously holding their breath, waiting to find out why the air is so heavy.

Chat with Carolyn Hax online at noon Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.