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by Abigail Van Buren

'Odd Ducks' in Teen Years Can Easily Turn Into Swans

DEAR ABBY: May I comment on the letter from the girl who has a crush on the "weird" guy in her high school band?

Thirty years ago, I was that weird guy with the burr haircut, buck teeth, horn-rimmed glasses and skinny as a rail. I had a crush on a good-looking blonde, but she was out of my league, so I never asked her out.

Twenty-nine years later, I was on the Internet. Through a classmates reunion site, she and I started chatting. She was divorced, as was I. The more we talked, the more we fell for each other. When I finally decided to visit her, "fireworks" flew.

We have been married one year this week, and it has been one of the most exciting years of my life. Tell "Odd Duck" to hang in there. Things will be great if meant to be. -- HERMAN B., WATERFORD, CALIF.

DEAR H.B.: Congratulations on your anniversary. (I'm a sucker for a happy ending!) Many people, like fine wine, improve with age. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I'd like to respond to "Odd Duck in South Texas." Bravo for you, young lady! When I was in high school, I was considered an "odd duck" myself. I didn't drink, smoke, or ride around aimlessly every Friday and Saturday night. I studied, got excellent grades, respected my parents, and for that, I was ostracized by my classmates and always felt like an outsider.

You and your friend Tad should hang in there. When you finish high school, and later, college, you'll realize that the people most worth knowing just might be those "odd ducks." -- HILLARY IN WEINER, ARIZ.

DEAR HILLARY: You're right. Some people develop social skills later than others.

DEAR ABBY: I, too, was not the "coolest" kid in high school, and I was also in the band. I was desperately in love with a popular girl I'll call Susan. We were good friends, but it never went further.

Years later, Susan confessed to me that she also had feelings for me, but was afraid her friends would turn on her for not dating someone from the "cool" crowd.

Living your life by someone else's standards is not living at all. "Odd Duck's" ugly duckling might someday become a swan. -- HAPPILY MARRIED IN PHILLY

DEAR HAPPILY MARRIED: It takes courage to stand by one's convictions. Susan's lack of maturity was its own punishment.

DEAR ABBY: I am an 11-year-old boy, and my mom says if I want something at the store, I have to pay for it myself. I try to do chores for money, but I'm always too busy with schoolwork. I barely get enough time to play outside. Do you have any suggestions on how to get money? -- NEEDS $$

DEAR NEEDS $$: Talk to your parents and ask them if your chores can be done on the weekends. If you want something badly enough, you'll find the time.

WORTH REMEMBERING: "People can keep a journal to record their life, their thoughts, their happiness, the events of their families, etc. They can also keep a journal of creative observations, their hopes, their ideas and dreams, as Leonardo da Vinci did. He always had a notebook hanging from his belt to record his observations. I have one constantly in my pocket and on my night table. We must be the source of good ideas and dreams for a better world. We are part of evolution." -- ROBERT MULLER

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600