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Dear Abby: I have been reading you for years, but this is my first time writing to you. I hope you will share this information with your many readers.

Bill Clinton will be our first president who was a Rhodes Scholar. Since the scholarship was established in 1902, this is quite an accomplishment.- Bill Rosenberg, Los Angeles

Dear Bill: Thanks for writing. For those who are interested in knowing how one qualifies for a Rhodes scholarship, according to the World Book Encyclopedia:

The committee seeks people with superior scholastic records. Candidates must also display qualities of character, leadership and personal vigor. Applicants from the United States must be at least 18 years old, no older than 24, unmarried, and must have completed enough college to have received a bachelor's degree before arriving at Oxford.

The Rhodes scholarships were established by Cecil J. Rhodes, a British colonial statesman, whose aim was to strengthen ties among the English-speaking peoples and provide potential leaders of many nations with an opportunity to study at Oxford University in England.

Dear Abby: At 70ish, I basically agree with you that it's OK to look up an old boyfriend from World War II, but a recent experience changed my mind.

I had dated a young naval officer (no affair) in New York when I went home to Massachusetts for the Thanksgiving weekend. I met him in Boston (where he was then stationed) that Saturday night. Looking for a place to dance (we never found it; too crowded with football fans), we wound up at the Coconut Grove, where the big fire broke out as we were attempting to leave. On top of everything else, Bill contracted pneumonia after giving me his jacket while we waited, shivering, in emergency at the hospital.

Not long ago, I just happened to be thinking back to what a hero he was and decided to try to call and tell him so. I tracked him down in his old hometown back east, and we had a pleasant talk about the old days. To wind it up - with nothing but a friendly intent - I said, "Well, if you're ever out here, do give me a call. It would be nice to see you."

His stinging comment: "I date younger women now."

- Slapped in the Face in California

Dear Slapped: You should have replied, "That's OK. I date more mature men now!"

Dear Readers: The American Optometric Association (AOA) will be operating VISION USA for the third consecutive year. Sponsored by Vistakon, a division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Products Inc., VISION USA will provide free eye care to low-income working Americans and their families.

During the month of January, low-income working people can be screened for eligibility for VISION USA by calling a toll-free number: 1-800-766-4466. To qualify for eye care, persons must have a job, or live in a household where there is one working member; have no health insurance, and an income below an established level based on family size; and have had no eye examination within the past 12 months. The eye examinations will be given in optometrists' private offices during the month of March.