Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: At the End of My Rope in New York

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I'm in a lot of the same classes with "Marta," but we're not really close. One day, she asked if she could put one of her binders in my locker. I said fine, but then she started putting more things in there, and last week, she threw her jacket in. Marta smokes, and the smell lingers in my locker. It's disgusting.

That's only one issue. Last month, Marta decided to move to my lunch table. I sit with a very good group of people. None of them is friends with Marta, and they don't exactly like her. Marta is a bit on the heavy side, smells like smoke and doesn't take care of herself. She sometimes embarrasses me with the things she says, and now, some of my friends won't sit with me anymore.

Marta calls me every day and practically follows me around in school. She won't leave me alone. She has even gotten me into trouble for stopping by my house without notice. She has become very annoying, and I don't know how to get rid of her without hurting her feelings. -- At the End of My Rope in New York

Dear N.Y.: Marta is perilously close to becoming a stalker. Obviously, she doesn't have many friends, and you are sweet to include her, but you don't have to be quite so nice.

Tell Marta to please get her things out of your locker because you don't like the smell of smoke on your clothes. If her locker isn't large enough, she should talk to someone in the school office. Then, gently encourage her to join some after-school clubs, take up a sport or develop some other interests that don't involve you. Everyone needs some space.

Dear Annie: I have been married to "Clarence" for two years. He is a decent, caring man (as men go), but one thing bothers me.

Clarence's first wife passed away 13 years ago, but he keeps a picture of the two of them on the end table. It's not a small picture, either. I've asked him to put it away or put it inside his nightstand, but it's always back the next day. He also has the same picture in his wallet, and it's the first thing you see when he opens his billfold. My photo is all the way in back.

This bothers me a great deal. Any suggestions? -- Second Place

Dear Second Place: There is no point competing with a dead person. Maybe Clarence has some residual feelings of guilt about remarrying and the picture makes him feel as if he is somehow making it up to his late wife. You can ask him to compromise by removing the end table photo and keeping the one in his wallet, but you cannot force him to do it. If this is his only obsession, learn to live with it.


Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Troubled Husband," whose young daughter was the result of his wife's affair. He was having trouble forgiving his wife.

When I was 39, my father needed a blood transfusion, and I discovered our blood types were not compatible. When I asked my mother about it, she refused to discuss the subject. A cousin later told me that Dad was not my biological father.

All my life I have felt different from my siblings. I always loved my father, but I still feel I have a right to know my birth history. I can tell you that my mother would have been better off raising cobras instead of children. I was an unpleasant reminder of an affair she thought would deliver her from an unhappy marriage.

Let "Troubled" know that if he really loves his daughter, he will tell her the truth. If she finds out about it from someone else, it will be devastating. -- El Paso, Texas

Dear El Paso: We agree that, in most instances, adult children should know their biological history. The key word, however, is "adult." Young children should not be burdened with this information until they are old enough to handle it.


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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