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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My 11-year-old son recently hit a ball over the fence into our neighbor's back yard. He went into their yard, thinking no one was home. Well, the owner of the house and a friend (both women) were sunbathing in the nude. According to my son, they did not seem bothered by his surprise appearance, so he got his ball and left.

I told my son it was wrong to go into someone's yard without permission. However, I am bothered by the fact that my neighbor sunbathes in the nude. My son can climb the trees in our yard to peek, which no doubt he will, now that he knows what goes on next door. Also, because the women didn't object to his coming to pick up his ball, I fear he may intentionally hit balls over the fence as an excuse to go over there and get an eyeful. There will be many times during the summer when I will not be home to make sure he does not do either.

Abby, should I ask my neighbor to please refrain from sunbathing in the nude? -- MRS. R.B. IN SANTA CLARITA, CALIF.

DEAR MRS. R.B.: No. Your neighbor has the right to sunbathe in the nude in the privacy of her fenced back yard. Better to tell your son to refrain from climbing the tree in his yard to get an eyeful.

DEAR ABBY: I am a happily married woman. My husband and I have been married for nine years. We have three children, ages 7, 5 and 3.

My question concerns my husband's first marriage, which lasted less than a year and was annulled by the Catholic church. There were no children from that marriage, and it is now a part of the distant past.

I think our children should be told about their father's first marriage, don't you? If you think they should be told, when and how should I bring it up?

Please don't use my name, as few people outside my family know about this. -- FEELING GUILTY

DEAR FEELING GUILTY: There is no reason to feel guilty since that marriage was annulled and there were no children involved. I see no reason to tell your children about it. However, since it is on your mind, you could tell them when they are all old enough to know what a divorce is.

DEAR ABBY: I recently became legally separated and have no intention of reuniting with my estranged husband. Because his employer provides excellent benefits for our entire family, we have agreed not to divorce until one of us decides to marry again.

I am not interested in hearing approval or disapproval of this arrangement. However, I would like to know if I am morally obligated to continue wearing my wedding ring until we are legally divorced.

Please do not tell me that if I had morals I would get a divorce. My financial situation makes the continuance of benefits imperative to the survival of my family. -- BENEFITING IN EL CAJON, CALIF.

DEAR BENEFITING: No one is "morally obligated" to wear a wedding ring under any circumstances. Furthermore, the presence of a wedding ring does not necessarily indicate that the wearer is married. Neither does the absence of one guarantee that the person is NOT married.

For Abby's favorite family recipes, send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet No. 1, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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