DEAR ABBY: I read the letter from Belle K. in Cadillac, Mich. (Oct. 17), who had only the yearbook from her senior year in high school and would like to purchase yearbooks from the other three. She asked if there was some way to get her hands on them.
I have a similar problem. I grew up in one Oklahoma town and moved to another, 7 1/2 hours away, the summer between my junior and senior years. I have lost the yearbook from my sophomore year -- the last in which a dear friend's photo appeared. She was killed in a car accident in January of our sophomore year. In addition to her class picture, one of her poems is featured in that yearbook.
It would mean the world to me to have that memento back. Because the yearbook would be 14 years old, it's unlikely the school has any left. Can you suggest other options for digging those precious memories out of the ashes of time? -- MISSING THE MEMORIES IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR MISSING: I don't have to. After Belle's letter ran, many caring readers offered wonderful suggestions. A sample:
DEAR ABBY: Belle should put an ad in the paper where her old high school is located. That's what I did, and I got a response right away. The wife of a former school counselor called and said she had several. Tell Belle I wish her luck. -- JUDY IN GREEN RIVER, WYO.
DEAR ABBY: As chairman of my high school reunion committee, I have been successful on a couple of occasions in finding old yearbooks on eBay. There's a large selection there. If she can't find them under the "yearbook" category, she should look under "annuals." -- KEN IN KANAB, UTAH
DEAR ABBY: For high school annuals, contact your local library. Old annuals are occasionally donated and sold at book sales by the Friends of the Library. The staff will alert whoever sorts donations to keep an eye out and let you know if the one you're looking for comes in. -- SONIA MURRAY, PRESIDENT, FRIENDS OF BILOXI LIBRARIES
DEAR ABBY: Many historical societies (and public libraries) keep documents such as city directories and yearbooks in an archive. While they normally aren't available for circulation, most organizations have reading rooms where you can peruse the materials, and even take pictures or scans for your own use. (I became familiar with this process through a recent school project.) -- KRISTINA IN PORTLAND, MAINE
DEAR ABBY: I found copies of my high school yearbook at an antique/collectibles store in my hometown -- at an affordable price. -- MICHAEL G., SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR ABBY: eBay or Craigslist! My brother found not only old yearbooks from his era, but class rings as well. -- PATTI IN FREMONT, CALIF.
DEAR ABBY: My old high school is now offering yearbooks on CDs, to be viewed in a slide show format. It was a preservation project that's now doing double duty by giving a lot of pleasure to former students whose yearbooks have disappeared for a variety of reasons. Belle should check to see if her alumni association is doing something similar. -- E.J.H. IN LAS VEGAS
DEAR ABBY: Most teachers who served as yearbook advisers keep a store of old yearbooks. I have made many an older grad happy who had lost one to fire or flood. Belle should contact the school. She might get lucky. (There might even be an extra in the school library.) -- BILL K., OAKLAND, CALIF.