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by Abigail Van Buren

Two Handed Policy Keeps

DEAR ABBY: Please print one of my pet peeves: I don't know how many times I have pulled into busy parking lots and seen small children running between the parking spaces with little or no supervision. Three times in the last month, I have seen drivers brake abruptly to avoid hitting little kids.

My sister-in-law had a system when her children were small. Once the car was parked and the engine turned off, the child could open the door and exit the vehicle. However, when the child closed the door, he or she had to keep both hands on the car until an adult came and took him or her by the hand. She would always remind them by repeating, "Remember, both hands on the car!" -- KUDOS TO MY S-I-L

DEAR KUDOS: I'm glad it works for your sister-in-law. However, were it my child, I would insist that he or she wait to be assisted out of the safety seat -- and after that I would take the child firmly by the hand.

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.

DEAR ABBY: Thank you for encouraging "Desperate in the U.S.A." to contact the nearest suicide hotline. "Desperate's" friends should take his or her feelings seriously. In one poll, 7 percent of youth under 25 acknowledged having made at least one suicide attempt.

As you point out, there are many suicide crisis lines in the country offering free crisis counseling 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Our Suicide Prevention Center, the oldest in the country, receives more than 17,000 calls annually. Please let your readers know they will automatically be linked to the closest available accredited suicide hotline by calling The National Hopeline Network's toll-free access number: (800) SUICIDE (784-2433). -- KITA S. CURRY, PH.D., PRESIDENT, DIDI HIRSCH COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH CENTER, CULVER CITY, CALIF.

DEAR DR. CURRY: Thank you for the valuable input. Readers, if you or anyone you know suffers from depression, this is a phone number that just may come in handy. The urge to end it all is something that can strike people of all ages -- not just teens.

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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