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DEAR ABBY: My husband's parents will soon be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. My husband has two brothers and two sisters. His sisters decided, without consulting us, that all the children would chip in and send their parents to Hawaii as their anniversary gift. They have already told their parents, who are thrilled about it.

The problem is, the sister whose idea it was is the only one who can afford such an expensive gift. The rest of us are barely making it from paycheck to paycheck.

My siblings and I bought our parents a set of dishes for their 50th. We would have loved to send them to Hawaii, but we knew they wouldn't enjoy it knowing we would have to take out a loan to pay for it.

I am more than a little resentful that my parents got dishes while my in-laws will get a trip to Hawaii. (My parents are no less deserving.)

I have polled my friends and co-workers from all levels of income, and they agree that a trip to Hawaii isn't a typical anniversary gift -- it is excessive. -- BURNED UP AND BROKE

DEAR BURNED UP: A trip to Hawaii is not an excessive anniversary gift for people who can afford it. However, one or two members of a family have no right to decide on any gift "from all the children" without having consulted all of them. And to have told the parents before discussing it with all the siblings was inexcusable.

DEAR ABBY: My father sent for your booklet "What Every Teen Should Know," and asked me to look it over to see if it would be helpful to my 12-year-old daughter. (She is his granddaughter.)

I read the booklet and thought that the way you approached all of the subjects was just great. I decided not just to hand her the booklet, but to read it with her so we could discuss it. Now she feels very comfortable talking with me about all the subjects that young girls wonder about, but are afraid to bring up. It broke the ice.

Now my daughter will always come to me with questions because she knows I will always be there to listen to her and guide her. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for caring about our young people. -- GRATEFUL MOM IN LYNN, MASS.

DEAR GRATEFUL: I, too, am grateful. Thanks, Mom; your letter made my day.

DEAR ABBY: To those who are in the habit of putting on their glasses when they answer the telephone, the following true story may shed some light:

At the University of Illinois Medical School, our ear-nose-and-throat professor demonstrated a simple hearing test. He asked for a volunteer; Aaron Hilkevitch responded.

Hilkevitch sat down facing the class in the amphitheater and his glasses were taken away. The professor approached him from the side and whispered, "One, two, three." Hilkevitch couldn't hear. So the professor approached him again and whispered, "One, two, three" a bit louder. Again, Hilkevitch couldn't hear. Then he blurted out, "Give me my glasses so I can hear you better!" This brought down the house; the class roared with laughter.

Later, of course, we learned that improving one sense organ enhances the perception of other sense organs. The opposite is also true -- that on the loss of a sense organ, other sensibilities become more acute, as a person with impaired vision develops other compensatory skills. -- SELIG J. KAVKA, M.D., CHICAGO

What teen-agers need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with their peers and parents is now in Abby's updated, expanded booklet, "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

4900 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64112; (816) 932-6600

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