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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR READERS: Much to my delight, pennies-from-heaven letters continue to pour in. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Your letters about "pennies from heaven" have touched my heart more than words can express. At the time that the letters first appeared in your column, my father was losing his battle with cancer. He died peacefully at home last month with his loving family by his side.

The morning of his funeral, I asked the funeral director to place 11 pennies in his pocket. Each penny represents a member of our immediate family. You can be sure that all of us will be looking for those pennies to fall from heaven! -- DIANNE RICHARDSON-CONDA, MOUNT LAUREL, N.J.

DEAR DIANNE: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your father. Keep your eyes peeled for those pennies. They're sure to come back to you.

DEAR ABBY: Seven years ago my husband had a stroke. The first day I walked out of the hospital, I picked up three pennies and put them in my pocket. His condition was touch-and-go.

Every day walking out of the hospital, I would find a penny or two and add them to the others in my pocket. When I changed clothes, I would transfer the pennies to the pocket of what I was wearing. It seems unbelievable, but every single day I would find more pennies. In a strange way, I found it comforting because I felt reassured my husband would pull through -- and he did!

To this day, every time I pick up a penny on the street, I add it to the pennies I saved from the hospital. I will never spend them because they brought my husband and me good luck when we most needed it. -- LENA KATZ, WEST PALM BEACH, FLA.

DEAR LENA: Those pennies are a tangible reminder of your good fortune. And that alone makes them priceless.

DEAR ABBY: My mother had a favorite penny story from when she was a little girl in Farmville, Va., in the 1890s. She died in 1983 at the age of 93.

Times were tough and there was no money in the house. So my grandmother sent my mother to the store to buy a penny's worth of oil for their lamp -- with the promise to pay the stern general store owner "next week."

Sheepishly, she left the house, walked down the front path and opened the gate. Lo and behold! There was a penny lying on the street. Mother always called it a miracle. -- MARTHA IN CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OHIO

DEAR MARTHA: I don't blame her. That penny saved your mother a world of embarrassment, and that's worth more than money can buy.

DEAR ABBY: Three years ago, my father passed away in upstate New York. We traveled to his funeral from our home in North Carolina. Within two weeks we sold the home and moved Mom back to North Carolina with us. They had been married for 58 years.

My mother passed away last year. Before her casket was closed, one of my relatives approached me and asked if I had put three pennies in my mother's pocket. I was confused and asked what she was talking about. She told me there were three bridges Mother would have to cross to get to heaven.

I immediately placed six pennies in my mother's pocket to pay the toll -- I knew my dad was waiting patiently for her at the first bridge. -- MISSING MOM AND DAD IN GODWIN, N.C.

DEAR MISSING: How touching. It's nice to know you can "take it with you."

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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