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by Abigail Van Buren

The Door With the Moon Will Have the Longer Line

DEAR ABBY: What is the significance of the moon or half-moon on an outhouse door?

I recently visited the birthplace of Herbert Hoover and saw this freshly painted outhouse with the moon on the door, and in�quired of the security guard as to what it meant. He just laughed and said he'd been asked that question many times, but he's never been able to come up with an answer.

I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who are as curious as I am to know the answer. What is it? -- BOB HESS,

IOWA CITY, IOWA

DEAR MR. HESS: Before indoor plumbing, American privies usually had "two-seaters." The one with the "moon" on the door was for ladies and the one with the "star" was for gentlemen. That way, people who couldn't read could stay out of trouble.

P.S. I was privy to this information when I came upon "The Classic Outhouse Book," by Janet Strombeck.

DEAR ABBY: In February of 1987, my granddaughter called and said she and her husband needed a loan of $500 to pay for their baby, which was due in five months. I mailed a check to them immedi�ately, and they sent a note with both their signatures, promising to pay me $25 until the loan was paid off. I never asked for this note -- they sent it on their own.

Since that time, I haven't received a penny from them, al�though they have bought cars and furniture and have taken vacation trips. The final straw was when my granddaughter paid $150 for a pet snake! Abby, if they had sent me only $5 or $10 a month, I would feel that at least they were making an effort.

I continue buying gifts for Christmas and their birthdays even though I am getting a little resentful. I am not poor, but neither am I rich. I am afraid if I ask for the money they owe me, it will damage the good relationship I have with them, and I don't want to cause any hard feelings. Should I just keep my mouth shut and hope they never come to me for another loan? -- SOFT TOUCH IN NEVADA

DEAR SOFT TOUCH: It's unfortunate that you let it go for so long; they probably assumed that since you never asked for the money, you didn't need it. Write them a friendly letter reminding them of their obligation and enclose a photocopy of the note they signed.

DEAR ABBY: I've heard that drinking coffee can give a person cancer of the stomach. Is it true? -- COFFEE DRINKER

DEAR COFFEE DRINKER: According to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, "Most health concerns about coffee are groundless." Moderate con�sumption -- two to four cups a day -- poses little or no risk for most people, but if caffeine before bedtime interferes with your sleep, drink "decaf."

Hot off the press -- Abby's new booklet, "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." 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, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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