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DEAR ABBY: Six years ago, my best friend asked me to be godmother to her beautiful little daughter, "Sharona." At the time she made it clear that if I accepted, she and her husband would name me as Sharona's guardian in their will. I was deeply touched that they would trust me with such an important responsibility and was happy to accept.

As she has grown, Sharona and I have developed a close bond, and I love her as if she were my own. Her parents have since had two sons, and although I am not the boys' godmother, they have now asked me if they can name me as guardian for all three.

I love the children, but I am 27, single and live 1,500 miles from my family. I cannot financially, physically or emotionally take on the task of raising three children. If anything were to happen to my friends, I couldn't bear the thought of anyone other than me raising Sharona. Would it be terrible if I turned down the request to also be guardian to the boys? -- GODMOTHER TO ONE IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR GODMOTHER TO ONE: No, it would not, because your reasons are valid. However, your friend and her husband may want to ensure that their children would all be raised together if anything were to happen to them -- which it probably won't. So be prepared in case they decide they want to make other arrangements for Sharona.

DEAR ABBY: Could you please remind your readers that Hawaii is part of the United States? You would be shocked at how many times tourists have asked me, "Have you ever been to America?" And when I visit the mainland, people ask me if we have cars in Hawaii, if we live in grass shacks and can I dance the hula.

A great way to get the word out that Hawaii is a wonderful, up-to-date place that happens to be the 50th state in the union would be a "reminder" from you. I am proud to be an American, and I find these questions to be insulting. -- CHERI-ANN IN HONOLULU

DEAR CHERI-ANN: Please don't take offense. The questioners are not trying to be insulting. Obviously, these people were absent (or distracted) on the day that their class in modern history covered the fact that Hawaii went from being a U.S. territory to a state on Aug. 21, 1959. When you are asked these kinds of questions, tell the person to go to Google.com and search on the word Hawaii.

DEAR ABBY: I have a housekeeper who comes once a week for five hours. My family is calling me an ogre because I expect them to pick up their stuff before she arrives.

Abby, I want that woman's full five hours spent cleaning -- not picking up after everyone so she can get started. Whatever she doesn't get done will most likely have to be finished by me. I work full time, plus I am the one who runs errands and helps with homework. I don't need another chore added to my list.

Am I being unfair? -- FULL PLATE IN ELIZABETH CITY, N.C.

DEAR FULL PLATE: Not from my perspective. Insisting that your family learn to pick up after themselves and care for their clothing is doing them a favor. In years to come, when they are out on their own, those lessons will have become second nature and maybe they won't need a housekeeper.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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