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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I'm 16, normally a good kid, but I made a major goof. Ordinarily I'd be punished, but my parents think I've suffered enough. They suggested I write to you as a way of reminding other kids about the importance of obeying their parents.

Last Saturday, my parents had a dinner engagement and said I could have two girlfriends over for the night. They gave me three rules: no mess, no boys and don't open the door to strangers. My parents left at 7. My girlfriends and I made popcorn and put on some CDs. We flopped in the living room and started munching. About 8 p.m. the doorbell rang. Glancing out the window I thought it was a guy I am dating and opened the door. Big mistake.

Three guys pushed their way in, threatened us with guns and said they wanted money. They asked if it was my house and if anyone else was around. I was too scared to tell them anything but the truth. Two of them started tying up my girlfriends, the other tied my wrists behind my back with cord and led me from room to room opening drawers, closets, cabinets and taking jewelry, cash and other items. When we got back to the living room, my friends were lying face down on the carpet, hogtied and gagged. I was then bound up like a salami, gagged and pushed to the floor. They told us not to move for half an hour and left.

When we were sure they were gone, we started struggling, but couldn't get loose or communicate with each other. My parents weren't expected home until well after midnight, and I was not content waiting three or four hours for help.

Since I had not been hogtied, I was eventually able to get to my feet, hop to the door, get it opened, and hop across the lawn -- falling three or four times. Fortunately, our neighbor saw me. By the time she untied me and we got back to the house, my poor friends, still bound on the carpet, were sure I had fallen into the shrubbery and couldn't get up.

Luckily, aside from a few aches, none of us was hurt. But I'm sure we'll have nightmares for quite some time. Meanwhile, I urge kids to obey their parents. I wish I had. -- TIED UP ON SATURDAY NIGHT

EAR TIED UP: Your letter gave me chills. You and your friends are lucky you weren't beaten, raped or murdered. I'm printing your letter as a warning for other young people. Parents may seem overprotective much of the time -- but they usually have good reasons for setting the rules they do.

DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Happy Mom in North Carolina" about her 6-year-old son's reaction to the "facts of life" reminded me of my 6-year-old daughter's reaction.

She, too, prodded me for more details about where and how babies were made, until I carefully and gently explained the process.

When I finished my speech, she wrinkled her little nose and said, "Do you get to wear a blindfold or something?" -- MOM IN AUBURN, N.Y.

DEAR MOM: Your explanation must have been a real eye-opener.

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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