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by Abigail Van Buren

Two Handed Policy Keeps

DEAR ABBY: "Grateful Doctor in Dallas" wrote about the difficulty in tracking down some of the teachers who made a difference in his/her life.

I have been teaching for 39 years, and often reminisce about former students and wonder how they're doing. A student in the very first third-grade class I taught tracked me down and invited me to his high school graduation. I couldn't have been more pleased.

Those trying to locate "missing" teachers can write to the education association in the district where they attended school. Most associations maintain a list of retired teachers and their addresses. Some will also know where those who have left the district have relocated.

Teachers love to hear from former students, Abby. It is gratifying to know I have touched the lives of many of my students, as they have certainly made a difference in mine. In fact, one of my former students is now my current principal! -- THELMA L. CLIFFORD, NEW JERSEY

DEAR THELMA: I'm sure many former students will appreciate your informative letter. We all have had at least one special teacher who stood out above the rest. Your tale proves the truth of the old saying: It pays to be nice to everyone you meet because you never know when you'll meet them again.