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Have parents start process of intervention

Kathy Mitchell Marcy Sugar Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: I am a 14-year-old girl with a big problem. My friend “Megan’s” father beats her. He pins her up against walls. She showed me a bruise on her arm one time.

Megan lives with her father and her grandparents. Her grandparents are mean to her, too. Last year, they tried to kick her out of the house. They treat Megan horribly, and from what she tells me, they treat her sister like an angel.

This has been reported to Child Services twice – once by her mother, and once by the school, because I made her report the abuse to a teacher. Megan’s mother lives 90 miles away, and Megan doesn’t want to leave our school to go live with her. Also, her father told her if she left, she would never get anything from him again.

The situation is getting worse. Megan sometimes talks about killing herself. I know I need to report it, but if I do, the message will just get back to Megan’s father. He either won’t care, or he’ll try to punish her for it. Should I talk to Megan first? If I do report it, whom should I tell? I read your column every day, and I trust your advice.

Please help. – Megan’s Friend

Dear Friend: First, tell your parents. They should speak to the school counselor and the principal about what Megan has told you so the facts can be checked out. Then let Megan know you are doing this and will be there to support her emotionally. Megan is lucky to have you as a friend, so please encourage her to discuss this with the counselor, too.

Dear Annie: My sister, “Lianne,” and I got into a terrible fight on the phone in December of 2003. We hung up on each other and haven’t spoken since. Lianne fights with everyone, including my other siblings and my mother.

Lianne became engaged last April, and I sent her a congratulatory card. I also sent a Christmas card last year. I have tried to make contact, sending notes and apologizing profusely, but I’ve heard nothing. In the past month, I have left four friendly phone messages on her answering machine, including giving her the best times to reach me. I live 1,000 miles away, so a personal visit is out of the question.

Lianne and her fiance will be married in June. The rest of the family expects me to go to this wedding, but I am uncomfortable attending an event for a sister who won’t even speak to me.

Please tell me what to do before I spend money on airplane tickets and hotel rooms. – Confused Older Sister

Dear Sister: One doesn’t attend a wedding without an invitation. If Lianne puts you on the guest list, it may be her way of reconciling, so please go. Until you receive the actual invitation, however, we wouldn’t make any plans.

Dear Annie: My husband and I are having a disagreement about toilet paper. As silly as it may sound, when a toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll needs to be replaced, I like to have it roll out from the front. But when my husband replaces it, he makes it roll out from the back. This bothers me, and I always change it around.

I’ve asked him many times to do it my way, as I believe that is correct. He doesn’t seem to care. I know this is silly, like leaving the toilet seat up or leaving the cap off the toothpaste, but I really would like to know if there is a right way to replace a toilet paper roll. – Anal Retentive (As My Husband Calls Me)

Dear Crazy: You must be kidding. That topic has taken up more space in this column than almost any other subject. We can’t imagine how you missed it, but here it is again: If the toilet paper has a pattern, it should roll from the top over. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter. Really. However you like it is just fine with us.

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