Dear Annie: I am a 16-year-old sophomore, and ever since the seventh grade, a boy at my school has had a crush on me. "Elton" has asked me out a few times, but I've said no. At first his attentions didn't bother me, but now I'm a little scared.
Elton stares at me whenever I am near him. He writes letters saying he loves me and assuring me he isn't a "stalker," yet he follows me around. He asks my friends to tell him about me, about my grades, which classes I'm in, etc. All of my friends say he won't stop talking about me. Last year, one of my most reliable friends claimed he was holding onto a photo of me. I don't know when he snapped it.
I have told Elton quite clearly to stop writing me notes, and not to go out of his way to hang around or talk to me. But I'm a little frightened. In the past three years, I've worried that he might be watching me, even at home, and sometimes I won't open the blinds.
I am not sure how serious the problem is, but it is enough that I would rather go to another school to get away from him, although I don't think I can change districts. I cannot go near the majority of my friends without him being around, which means that there are only two people I can safely talk to at school. I considered contacting the authorities, but I'm not sure what would happen. What should I do? Very Scared
Dear Very Scared: Some crushes are harmless, but Elton has crossed the line. He may say he isn't stalking you, but he is, and there are laws to protect you. Tell your parents immediately, and ask them to contact the school. Elton needs to understand that his behavior is frightening and inappropriate, and that his obsession is harmful to both of you. He may need professional help. If he doesn't stop, your parents should notify the police.
Dear Annie: My widowed brother (83) is going to marry his widowed girlfriend (78) in November. The family is very happy for them.
The question is, what do we give for a wedding gift? They each have their own home but plan to live in her house. Between the two of them, they don't need any more "doodads."
Is a gift card for their favorite restaurant OK? I would appreciate any other suggestions. Indianapolis
Dear Indianapolis: All gift certificates are fine, including those for plays, concerts, movies, trips to a spa or groceries for a month. You also could give them a tree to plant in their garden, a bottle of fine wine or a framed photo. Your choices are limited only by your imagination. Our congratulations to the bridal couple.
Dear Annie: I generally agree with your advice, but feel you missed one option in the recent response to the lady whose husband "forgot" to give her messages regarding job interviews and friends. He may be controlling, but he may also just be disorganized and forgetful.
Why didn't you suggest that "Desperate" buy an inexpensive prepaid cellular phone and share that number with a few close friends and any prospective employers? You only pay for the minutes used, and you are reachable pretty much all the time. Ventura, Calif.
Dear Ventura: We, too, were ready to give "Desperate's" husband the benefit of the doubt about his forgetting messages, until we combined it with his taking her car away and being unavailable to baby-sit when she needed to volunteer. That's not forgetfulness. That's a pattern of controlling behavior. But thanks for the information on prepaid phones. Some of our readers can surely use it.
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