KATHY MITCHELL AND MARCY SUGAR \ Annie's Mailbox Her bandana has nothing to do with gang activity
Dear Annie: I am a 13-year-old girl who has had cancer. When I was taking chemo-therapy, I lost all my hair, so I had special permission to wear a bandana to school. (I needed permission because bandanas also can be gang symbols.)
Last year, my school had a skating party at a local rink. When I got to the rink, I wasn't allowed in. I explained to the rink manager why I was wearing the bandana, but even though he understood I wasn't in a gang, he said it was the rink's policy not to allow bandanas. He claimed it might fall off my head and trip someone. He finally said I could come in if I wore a helmet, which, of course, I didn't have. I had to sit in the lobby while all my classmates had fun for over an hour. I was in tears. The manager finally agreed to let me skate, with only 20 minutes left.
Now, a year later, the time has come for that same field trip. I'm still wearing my bandana, as my hair is too thin to look good. I've pretty much decided not to go, but thinking about it has made me upset again. I didn't make a big deal at the time, but now I'm wondering if I should expose what they did. What do you think? Vengeful in Vernon, Calif.
Dear Vernon: It shouldn't be so difficult for management to make an occasional exception to their rules. It might have been a good idea for you to make a "big deal" out of it at the time, but a year has passed, and it's possible the policy has changed.
Before you turn down the field trip, ask your teacher or principal to call the rink and find out if you can be admitted with a bandana. If it's still a problem, your parents or the school administration should intervene with the manager on your behalf to make sure last year's fiasco isn't repeated.
Dear Annie: I was emotionally abused by my mother throughout my childhood and have been in therapy most of my adult life. I have forgiven my mother and now understand that she is not capable of accepting what she did to me. I am able to have a long-distance phone relationship with her, but I have no interest in being close.
The problem is, every year around Christmas, my mother calls and tells me she is coming to visit for two weeks. I never invite her. Last Christmas, my husband and I went away on a vacation to avoid her. She called, crying, saying she was going to kill herself. What can I do? Help Wanted in the East
Dear Help Wanted: Would it be possible for you to visit Mom, maybe for a day or two, and stay in a hotel? That way, she would not come to see you, and you would have control over the amount of time you spend with her. If that is too much closeness, discuss with your therapist some methods for saying no to your mother without feeling guilty or manipulated. You deserve to have peace of mind.
Dear Annie: A friend of mine recently purchased a dog for his sister (her dog had recently died). He did this without asking her if she wanted another dog. He thought he was doing a wonderful thing, but he presented the little dog to his sister upon her return from a hospital stay. She was quite frail and not in any position to take care of a puppy. To make matters worse, the dog was not housebroken.
I work at an animal shelter and made arrangements for the dog to find a wonderful new home. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Please advise your readers never to purchase a pet for someone without their permission. And when considering getting a dog or cat, please check out your local animal shelter first. Animal Lover in Connecticut
Dear Animal Lover: Bless you for caring. Readers, take note.
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