Dear Abby: I have never written to you before, but feel compelled to write after reading the letter in your column from a woman who was stalked on the freeway and tried to find a police station. Abby, having better locator signs may not help.
Many police stations are locked! In addition, if they have windows, they're often shut, with blinds drawn to prevent looking in or out. Speaking from experience, if you are being followed, you will be no safer in front of a barricaded police station, with no hope of getting in, than anywhere else on the street.In case you're thinking that I live in a high-crime area, this happened in North St. Paul and also in Oakdale, Minn. - two suburbs of St. Paul not commonly known as high-crime areas. (Certainly not the images some would have of Los Angeles or New York City, which come to mind when you think of barricaded police stations.)
The advice I got after my experience was to do just as that woman did - drive to a highly populated and well-lighted area, usually an all-night store.
This just blew me away. Back in the old days, you went to the police for safety; nowadays, you go to an all-night store.
- Stalked in St. Paul
Dear Stalked: I checked with the North St. Paul chief of police and learned to my dismay that many police stations are not open 24 hours a day. But there is usually an outside telephone located near the front door, which rings another location where a dispatcher is on duty.
If you are being followed, drive directly to a well-lighted area such as an all-night store; do not drive home - it's dangerous to let a stranger know where you live. And if you encounter a policeman on the way, honk and flash your lights to get the officer's attention.
Dear Abby: My boyfriend asked me to be his guest at the wedding of his friend, the groom. I didn't know either of the people getting married. After the ceremony, the bride stood on a stairway and threw her bridal bouquet out into the room. I was near the front of the group; the bouquet came right at me, so I caught it.
My boyfriend says I shouldn't have caught the bouquet or, at least, I should have given it back to the bride or to someone else. I didn't know it at the time, but the bridesmaids were standing behind me in the group. My boyfriend says the bride threw the bouquet toward her bridesmaids and intended for one of them to catch it.
Should I have given the bouquet to one of the girls behind me, or should I have given it to the bride? Did I commit a social blunder? What should I have done?
- Jackie in Las Vegas
Dear Jackie: You were not obligated to surrender the bridal bouquet to the bridesmaids, but it would have been gracious had you offered to return the bouquet to the bride after the festivities.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)