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by Abigail Van Buren

Single Woman's Paper Trail Could Point the Way to Safety

DEAR ABBY: When I was single and living alone, whenever I went out with friends or on a date, I'd leave a note on my refrigerator stating the date, time I left, with whom I was going, the person's phone number, address, work, where we met -– anything. I would also jot down when I expected to return.

My friends thought this practice was silly. But if Chandra Levy or other missing persons who lived alone had done this, at least there might have been a trail to follow. Call me paranoid, but to me it was always a basic safety issue.

Maybe this letter will help other singles out there –- both women and men. Thanks. -– SHELLEY IN SAINT CLOUD, MINN.

DEAR SHELLEY: Thank YOU. You displayed intelligence and maturity at a young age. I suspect many young people may be reluctant to leave that kind of information because they're afraid it might somehow curtail their independence. However, it's a potent form of insurance in the case of any kind of emergency.