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Dear Abby: Would-be student can start by looking for scholarships

Dear Abby: I'm a junior in high school. My father has been unemployed for almost two years. My mom is deceased, and Dad constantly mentions how the money is running short. However, he hasn't gotten a new job nor has he explained why. I think it is a bit out of line to tell him to get his life back in order, since I'm his son and because I don't know much about the workplace.

I'm going to college next year, and I'm afraid that I won't be able to go somewhere good because my dad can't afford it. I'm sure other relatives will help out, and there's financial aid, but my dad's happiness matters, too. He has told me that the jobs he finds don't pay nearly as much as his previous job did, but wouldn't ANY money be better than NO money?

I don't understand what he's thinking. What should I say to him? How can I help him get his life back in order? —Confused in New Jersey

Dear Confused: You would be doing your father a favor to tell him that because of his difficulties in finding work, he should contact the unemployment office because the people there can sometimes offer counseling to people in his position. Your father may be holding out, hoping to find another job that will pay him as much as the last one. However, by now he should have realized that it may never happen.

You would be doing yourself a big favor to visit your local library and start researching what scholarships might be available to you. It could make you less beholden and more independent of your relatives when tuition time rolls around. A counselor at your school might also steer you in the right direction. Please don't wait. Do it now. You seem like a bright young man, and I wish you the best of luck.

Dear Abby: How should I react to a couple who repeatedly drop in at our house to visit — unannounced? I feel this is very rude, and they're trying to catch us off guard and see us at our worst. I have thoughts about doing the same thing to them. What do you think? —Disgusted in Manteno, Ill.

Dear Disgusted: You can try doing it to them, but I doubt it will have the desired effect. These people may have never learned that it is impolite to drop by without calling first to see if it's convenient.

Try this: The next time they show up, tell them firmly that you're too busy to entertain them, and in the future they should call before coming over. If that doesn't stop their impromptu visits, repeat the message or don't answer the door.

Dear Abby: Could you please settle something for us? My father is currently married to his third wife. His second wife died, and his first marriage has been annulled by the church.

Dad and his wife were married by a justice of the peace, but now he wishes to be remarried in a Catholic church. My father insists that, because he was already married by a justice of the peace, that this will, in fact, be his fourth wedding. I say it is still considered his third.

Also, when all is said and done, which date would be considered their anniversary? —Wondering in Worcester, Mass.

Dear Wondering: In the eyes of the church, when a marriage is annulled, it is as though it never existed — so scratch the first one. And because not all churches recognize civil ceremonies, I'm not sure the civil ceremony would count either. So, if your father married his second wife in the church, his next church wedding will be his second — and he would logically measure his anniversary from the time he and his bride take their vows at the altar.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © Universal Press Syndicate