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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: This letter is in response to your answer to "Sad in the Midwest." She had purchased a piece of jewelry for her closest friend after receiving some money from an inheritance. The friend wore the jewelry only occasionally, so "Sad in the Midwest" wanted to buy the jewelry back.

I don't think she should request the jewelry back. When I receive a piece of jewelry, I treasure it so much that I wear it only on special occasions because I am afraid of losing it.

My mother-in-law has hurt my feelings in the past because I'm reluctant to wear my better jewelry often, but I feel I have a valid point. Maybe "Sad in the Midwest's" friend feels the same way. -- TEXAS LIL

DEAR TEXAS LIL: Thank you for the input. Many other readers also disagreed with my answer. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I can hardly believe the advice you gave "Sad in the Midwest" to offer to buy back the jewelry she originally gave her friend as a gift. Although "Sad" may have seen her friend wear the jewelry only three times, it does not mean her friend has not worn the piece of jewelry in her absence. Nor does it suggest her friend does not appreciate or cherish the gift.

When you give people a gift, it is theirs to do with as they wish; surely she does not expect her to wear it every day. For her to offer to buy the jewelry from her friend is declasse. If "Sad" liked the piece of jewelry as much as she indicates, she should have bought it for herself. I would suggest that instead of offering to buy it, she ask her friend if she can borrow the piece and have it copied by a jeweler. -- MICHELLE M. HURLEY, COLUMBIA, S.C.

DEAR MICHELLE: Mea culpa! How do you say, "Your solution was better than mine" in Latin?

DEAR ABBY: Please add this to your collection of "acts of kindness."

Back in 1990, I saw the movie "Crazy People," starring Dudley Moore. It was about people with mental illness bonding together to become productive citizens. This movie sent a clear message to the public that mental illness is just that -- an illness.

Since I suffer from clinical depression and have for most of my life, I wrote a letter to Dudley Moore telling him how much this picture helped me. To my surprise, a few months later, my phone rang and I heard, "May I please speak to Carol? This is Dudley Moore calling."

Abby, he was so interested in my illness, so supportive and caring. He was modest and sincere. I can't tell you what a big help it was knowing that someone of his fame still cares for those who fight a daily battle with mental illness. It made my day. -- CAROL ANN IN BETHESDA, MD.

DEAR CAROL ANN: Thank you. Your letter made MY day.

DEAR ABBY: I have a perfect response for "Speechless," the woman who didn't know how to respond to her mother-in-law's "Did you miss me" question: "Yes, but my aim is getting better!" -- MISSED MY MOTHER-IN-LAW IN NEW JERSEY

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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