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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have a handicapped placard. I have noticed that a lot of people have a hard time getting the card to hook over the rearview mirror (and also removing it). I, too, was struggling and came up with the following idea:

I asked my husband for a three-quarter-inch metal washer. He tied a string on the washer, and then tied the string to the mirror -- letting the washer hang down about two inches. I bought a small, sticky-backed magnet at the hardware store, which I attached to the back of my handicapped sign. All I have to do is touch the magnet to the metal ring, and the sign is visible and easy to hang or remove.

I hope this idea will help all those who have struggled trying to hang their handicapped placards. Just touch the magnet to the metal and be on your way! -- JUNE PETERSON, REDWOOD CITY, CALIF.

DEAR JUNE: How kind of you to share your inspiration. I'm sure that many readers will find your idea helpful. Thank you for sharing it.

DEAR ABBY: I am 9 years old and I have a problem. Every time I get money from my parents or my aunts and uncles or my grandparents, I spend it on gum, chips, chocolate and sodas. Then, whenever I want to buy something like a jacket, I don't have the money.

My dad says I should buy a piggy bank, but I got one last Christmas and that didn't work. How can I save my money? -- MIKE CHARLES, ROSEMEAD, CALIF.

DEAR MIKE: To save money, you have to stop spending it. The only way your piggy bank will work is if you put money in it and don't take money out of it. Each time someone gives you money, immediately put half of it in your piggy bank, and before you know it, you will have saved enough to buy something special.

DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Living a Nightmare" could have been written by me almost eight years ago. I didn't think I could ever escape, but I did.

When I could stand it no longer, I had my husband put in jail for his abuse. Shortly thereafter, I was notified by his parents that he was being released on bail. They were having a party and wanted me to come. I knew what that meant, so I quickly packed my bags and left.

I went to the nearest shelter for abused women, where arrangements were made for me to transfer to another shelter -- in another state. In order to survive, I had to change my name and get a new Social Security number. It was hard, but living is important to me.

I am now happily married and live an abuse-free life. I wish "Living a Nightmare" all the luck in the world and my prayers are with her.

Abby, for obvious reasons, please do not print my name. Sign me ... THE GIRL WHO GOT AWAY

DEAR GIRL: Congratulations on ending the abuse and redefining your life. I'm printing your letter as a beacon of hope to other victims of abuse, to let them know that although it may be difficult, a happy outcome is possible.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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