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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Early last fall, my mother committed suicide. It was very hard on our family, both emotionally and financially.

Our house was full of old memories, mostly sad ones. My father could no longer bear to live there, so he moved us to Georgia from Boston where my parents had lived since before I was born. Of course, he had to change jobs. Although his new job paid better than the one he held previously, without Mom's income, times were hard. My three brothers and I had to give up many of the extras we had always taken for granted.

One of these extras was summer camp. I had gone to camp in Maine every year since I was 9. I'm now 15, and this would have been my last year to attend. Although I hated the idea of missing camp this year, there was no money for it.

In early January, an anonymous letter arrived. It seems our grandmother told her women's club about our situation. Enclosed with the letter was a cashier's check for $10,000! A member of the club felt so bad that on top of the grief for our mother, we would miss out on camp, that she wanted to help. Because of her unbelievable generosity, not only were we able to go to camp, there was money for school clothes for all of us.

I don't know who the lady was, but because of her I had the best summer of my 15 years. She and my friends at the camp are responsible for an amazing summer for which I am totally grateful.

Abby, if you print this letter, maybe that wonderful woman will read it and understand that I would thank her a million times if I could. She has confirmed my faith that there are good people in this world with kind and generous hearts.

Mom didn't mean to cause anyone any problems, and she would have wanted us to continue our summers as we had in the past. Thanks to this kindhearted stranger, we were able to do that. Sign me ... FOREVER GRATEFUL IN GEORGIA

DEAR FOREVER GRATEFUL: Indeed, there are wonderfully generous people in this world, and your "angel" is one of them. Although the newspapers and television news are filled with the misdeeds of people, along comes someone like your anonymous benefactor, and the basic goodness of mankind is reaffirmed. One day, you, in turn, will be able to pass along the kindness she showed to someone who needs a helping hand. The power of good deeds can be infinite if all who are affected by them are inspired to repeat them.

DEAR ABBY: My sister is getting married for the third time to a man who also has been married twice before. What kind of gift should I get, or can I just settle for sending my good wishes? I want to do the right thing, but I'm getting weary of "getting hit" for gifts every time she goes to the altar. -- MAGGIE IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR MAGGIE: You do not have to give your sister as expensive a present as you perhaps gave at her first wedding, but you should give the happy couple a modest gift, especially if you attend the wedding. A suggestion: momogrammed towels so the new husband will not be reminded of his predecessors. Better yet, ask them what they could use.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, 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. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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