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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a letter carrier. Spiders and bees and ants ... oh, my! These insects leap and fly out of mailboxes during spring and summer. Or, they are transported into my vehicle hiding between letters that I remove from mailboxes on my route.

Many people are allergic to the bites and stings, and the natural reaction to a bee in your face, or a spider on your arm, can cause traffic accidents.

Abby, please ask your readers to give mail carriers a break by putting a few mothballs loose in their mailboxes or in a clean tuna can at the back of their mailboxes to keep these insects away. The mothballs should be replaced several times during the insect season. -- BALTIMORE FAN

DEAR BALTIMORE FAN: Thanks for the handy hint. I'm sure no one is happy to reach into a mailbox to find it inhabited by insects, so your suggestion will benefit not only mail carriers, but all individuals with outdoor mailboxes.

DEAR ABBY: Occasionally you print letters concerning photographs of an ex-spouse in family albums. I have found a solution to the problem and it works quite well for us.

I have six grown sons -- all married. Three have been divorced three or four times, so I have photographs of all my ex-daughters-in-law. I like all of them, and they treat me well. Naturally, I want to keep their pictures.

I bought extra photograph albums, then took all of their pictures and transferred them to the new album. The title on the cover is "Has-Beens." Everyone thought it was a cool idea, and now there are no more hurt feelings when they all come to visit me and go through the family albums.

Perhaps this idea will help others. -- DORIS A. VEILLEUX, WINCHENDON, MASS.

DEAR DORIS: An excellent suggestion! You are a practical woman. However, had you asked me what to call it, "History," "Closed Chapters" or "Canceled Contracts" might have been a kinder title.

DEAR ABBY: After 30-some years of reading your column, here goes:

The woman I love and I are both in our early 40s. I have been married once; she has not. She is living with her father, who is unable to care for himself and will not ask for assistance, and she will not leave him to marry me.

We tried living together, but her regular visits to her father (120 miles from here) prevented her from getting a full-time job. Abby, I love her and want to help, but her dad will not hear of it. He is in poor health, and she worries about him when she is away. I sympathize, but this gent has driven several wives away, and now he's a lonely old man.

I have waited for five years, but I cannot wait forever and would like to get on with my life. What can I do? -- STILL WAITING IN MONROVIA, CALIF.

DEAR WAITING: The woman you have loved for five years appears to have already made her choice -- it's Daddy, not you. Face the facts and get on with your life without her.

Everybody has a problem. What's yours? Get it off your chest by writing to Dear Abby, P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069. For a personal reply, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

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