Cumberland Times-News


March 25, 2013

All it takes to prevent this is a little courtesy

Traditionally the phrase “RSVP” is included in any written invitation to a party or get-together, and indicates that the host/hostess would appreciate hearing from the invitee as to whether or not  that person will be attending the planned event.

This allows for gauging the necessary amount of food, beverages, space, favors, etc., and indicates that, even if you can’t attend, you have received the invitation and appreciate being invited.

Understanding of this common practice seems to have completely disappeared in the Cumberland area.

My 8-year-old son recently asked to throw a midwinter “Star Wars” party, just for fun. We sent out the invitations two weeks in advance. The party is tomorrow, and as of this morning, one person has RSVP’d.

Fortunately in conversation with me about a different matter another parent mentioned that he had instructed his son to tell my son at school that he would be coming.

I appreciated that RSVP, but since my 8-year-old frequently operates on the theory that wishing makes it so, I can’t always trust him when he tells me that someone is planning to attend his party.

Hearing from the parent directly is more reliable.

So the “party” tomorrow will consist of my son and one lone guest.

Unless some others show up unannounced.

This is not an isolated incident, it happens literally EVERY time we give a party, and I’m frankly sick and tired of it!

I would estimate the average number of RSVPs we have received for any party to have been about 2 percent of the number of people invited. At BEST!

And worse instances have occurred. When my eldest son was six, he invited 21 children to his birthday party.

Only three bothered to RSVP at all. Only one of them showed up, and he came an hour late.

My little boy was devastated.

His party was only saved by the fact that his birthday falls near his cousin’s, and they had a joint party, so some of her friends had brought gifts for him, and their presence and the attention they paid him somewhat consoled him. Without them, it would have been a tragedy for a 6-year-old boy.

Because this lack of courtesy so angers me, I have made a hard and fast rule for myself: the moment we receive an invitation (or as quickly thereafter as possible) I check the date on the calendar, telephone the RSVP number, write the party info on the calendar and staple the invitation to the calendar.

The entire process takes about two minutes.

It’s not rocket science.

I have encountered other parents who are just as angry as I am about this issue — but oddly enough, some of them were parents who failed to RSVP for invitations we’ve sent them in the past!

It is such a simple thing to do. Even if you don’t want to or can’t attend, at least have the decency to respond to the invitation. And do it in a timely fashion, don’t wait till the night before the party.

Frankly, I’m sick of seeing my sons’ hearts broken because their friends or their friends’ parents can’t be bothered to make a simple phone call.

The hurt to a child of not knowing if his party will happen, or that his friends don’t care, is agonizing.

There’s enough stress in life as it is.

Throwing a party should be fun and exciting, not an unpleasant chore or a source of pain for a child. Please, take the time to RSVP. It matters.

Ellen McDaniel-Weissler


Text Only
  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014

  • Speed cameras Speed cameras

    We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Group wants status quo on Sunday hunting

    Many Maryland residents have grown very concerned about two legislative bills that are arriving on the desk of Gov. Martin O’Malley after being approved by both the Senate and House chambers this session. With the governor’s possible signature of these bills into law, hunting would be allowed on certain state lands on Sundays — a day in the past reserved for rest and non-hunters to enjoy public lands.

    April 10, 2014