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Posted on Mon, Feb 6, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Savings bond gift matures into mother/daughter battle

By Dear Abby


I'm 30 years old and have a close relationship with my mother, but something is bothering me. When I was a little girl, my grandmother gave me a U.S. savings bond for my birthday. It has matured to its full value. My mother refuses to give it to me. She said that my grandmother intended it as a wedding gift.

The last time I brought it up, she got teary and emotional. When my grandmother died 18 years ago, it was tremendously painful for my mother. I think the reason Mom won't give me the money is it makes her feel like her mom is still around. By letting go of the bond, she would be letting go of one more piece of my grandmother.

I also think it makes her sad to picture her mom not being there at my wedding. Despite all this, I can't help but feel she's using this to have some control over me.

I'm studying for my master's degree in special education, and some extra money would be helpful at the moment. I don't plan on marrying anyone anytime soon. I feel sad and angry. Does my mother have the right to withhold the bond and decide how and when I can use the money? Should I drop the issue and let her choose when to give it to me? Please help, I need your advice. -- 30-YEAR-OLD CHILD


Your grandmother gave you the savings bond as a birthday gift. When you became an adult, it should have been given to you then. You're a big girl now, and whether you decide to marry or not it should be yours to do with as you wish.

It's time to hand your mother a large box of tissues and have a heart-to-heart talk with her about that savings bond. Don't let her off the hook, and don't be surprised if she finally admits she spent the money.


How does one let a gum chewer know, tactfully, that the smell is revolting? Besides the irritation and rudeness of chewing/popping with one's mouth open, certain smells often affect me physically.

From a young age, I have suffered from migraine headaches, which can bring on temporary loss of vision and vomiting. The scent of certain mints -- like spearmint -- triggers migraines. My doctor has warned me to avoid these triggers. However, in a confined area like an airplane, or sandwiched between two chewers at a concert, it's impossible. I become violently ill from the smell. I have tried politely explaining my situation, but the chewer is often indifferent, indignant or unsympathetic.

Abby, I'm at a loss. My husband and I often leave concerts we were looking forward to because of this problem. What can one do or say in a situation when sitting for hours in an assigned seat next to a gum chewer? -- HURTING IN VIRGINIA BEACH, VA.


In a theater, the first thing you should do is explain the problem to the gum chewer just as you did to me. Say that the smell of certain mints triggers migraines that sometimes result in spontaneous vomiting, and ask if the person can dispose of the gum before you become ill. If the person refuses, ask an usher to seat you elsewhere.

When you're on an airplane and trapped in similar circumstances, get up and ask a flight attendant to locate a seat for you that's far enough away so you won't be affected. In most instances, you will be accommodated.

Your problem is not trivial. Sensitivity to certain scents can trigger serious physical reactions, including closure of a person's air passages.

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.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)