Dear Amy:

My husband and I have lived in a small town for the past six years. We have two young children. We both work in the school system and are coaches.

A year ago one of our former athletes who had just graduated from high school and wasn't going to college offered to be the nanny to our then 6-week-old and 1-year-old girls. Everything was fine until the beginning of the summer when a friend of mine informed me of an awful thing that she had heard.

It seems that our nanny had searched through our things and found some "movies" that my husband and I had made just after we were married.

Apparently our baby-sitter not only watched the movies, she also told many people about them, in detail. I also found out that she invited people over to watch!

I have been absolutely devastated by this. If I stop by the local grocery store, it seems that someone else finds the need to tell me what he or she has heard.

I am totally embarrassed by this. We are in our thirties and are established. Now I feel I am a prisoner in my own town.

I don't know who knows about this and who doesn't.

I can't believe this girl did this to us. School starts soon, and it'll be time to face everyone. Can you give me any advice? All I want to do is move. I feel that I can't trust anyone anymore.

Horrified

You don't say whether you have confronted this unscrupulous girl about her behavior. If you haven't, then you must -- if only to verify what happened. She has placed your children at risk by bringing strangers into your home, and if she has also stolen this material or made copies of it, you might want to get the police involved. I realize that this could bring this private matter further into the public realm, but you should consider it. If these "films" have somehow made it onto the Internet, then you need to know.

In terms of your reputation in your town, I think that you should assume that very few people have actually seen this private material, even though many people may have heard about it. Let people assume whatever they want, but the fact is that you and your husband are consenting adults who are married to and love each other. Focus on that fact, and hold your head high.

Finally, get this material out of your home. Either place it in a safe-deposit box, or, better yet, destroy it. These recordings could come back to haunt you in ways that you can't yet imagine. Not only could your children find them, but also if your marriage hits a rough patch, this could be used against either one of you (hello, Paris Hilton) and harm both of you personally and professionally.

Dear Amy:

A letter from "Bride of the Beard" brought back memories of our parents.

Dad was stationed in Germany, and the rest of us joined him later. Upon arriving in Germany, I saw a very nice-looking man with a mustache. I told Mom, "That's Daddy." She said, "No way!" Mom was aghast at his mustache. Later that evening, while Dad was sleeping, Mom cut half of his mustache off. He never had hair on his face from that time on until after Mom died. Then he grew a beautiful beard. It looked great.

This bride need not worry; she should do as my mom did. If her husband wants a beard so bad, it'll grow back.

Ann and Trish

I love your story, but your mother's action was extreme. I would never suggest it. She sounds spunky, though, and she left you with a great memory.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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