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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: All of us are disgusted with the amount of junk mail we receive. But it wasn't until I researched a speech for one of my classes that I realized the impact junk mail has had on our environment. Americans receive almost 2 million tons of junk mail daily! Fifty percent of it is never opened. That fact struck a chord with me. Now I'm making an effort to stop my junk mail.

I'd like to share some methods that work: First, contact an organization that provides the service of removing your name from mailing lists. Also, when you order anything (or receive junk mail that includes a self-addressed, stamped envelope), send a written request that the organization or company not add your name to its mailing list except for specific billing purposes related to your account. Also, state that you do not want your name given or sold to any other mailing lists, now or in the future.

To halt the delivery of catalogs, I have written a form letter on my computer and just fill in the new address, date it and drop it in the mail. It's also a good idea to keep a running list of companies to which you have sent the stop requests.

Even with my full-time job and carrying a full course load in college, I have managed to get this accomplished. Protecting the future environment for my children and grandchildren is an important priority. -- JUDIE SONGER, ROGERSVILLE, MO.

DEAR JUDIE: Conserving the environment is a concern to many readers, who will utilize your valuable suggestions. Mail (and telephone) solicitations become more numerous with time. Direct marketing to specifically targeted age-groups is a common sales strategy in our computer age.

To have your name deleted from these lists, write to: Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, N.Y. 11735. There is no charge for this service. The lists are purged only once every quarter, so it may take some time to notice a change in the volume of junk mail you receive.

DEAR ABBY: I saved a favorite clipping from your column dated Aug. 5, 1982. It is an essay titled "On Youth." When you published it, you didn't know who wrote it, but later discovered that Samuel Ullman was the author. He was born in 1840 and died in 1924.

His essay is still relevant today, and I would like to see it in your column again. -- ALABAMA READER

DEAR ALABAMA READER: I'm happy to print it again. Its message is timeless.


"Youth is not entirely a time of life -- it is a state of mind. It is not wholly a matter of ripe cheeks, red lips or supple knees. It is a temper of will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions.

"Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. You are as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fears; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.

"In the central place of every heart, there is a recording chamber; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, you are young.

"When the wires are all down and your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then, have you grown old."

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