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Dear Abby: I need some advice on how to deal with a matter that has hurt me deeply. My husband and I are longtime friends with three couples in their 70s (as we are). Over the years, when we have received announcements of high school and college graduations, marriages and births of their grandchildren, we have always responded with gifts or checks. (We can well afford it.)

My granddaughter recently had a baby. (She is unmarried.) She is opposed to abortion and chose to keep her baby and finish college. I wrote to an etiquette expert and asked the correct way to word the printed birth announcement. She suggested sending baptismal announcements instead. So I sent the announcements to my three closest friends, and not one of them sent my granddaughter a card - much less a gift!I am very bitter with these so-called friends and will never send them even a Christmas card again. If they are good Christians - deliver me! Thanks for letting me release this anger. Sign Me . . .

- Deeply Hurt

Dear Hurt: I cannot fault you for feeling hurt, but instead of ignoring these longtime friends, may I suggest you tell them how disappointed you are in them for having ignored the birth of your great-grandchild.

Dear Abby: For years I have been wanting to write to you about a problem many of us older folks have during the Christmas and Hanukkah season: Many of us have exchanged holiday greetings with longtime friends and relatives year after year; then suddenly, their cards and letters stop coming. We can only assume that they are seriously ill or dead.

Occasionally, a thoughtful relative will send a note saying, "Uncle Elmer died peacefully last August," or, "Aunt Martha is incapacitated and is no longer able to send holiday greetings," etc. However, all too often we are left wondering.

If my holiday cards are not returned to me, I naturally assume they were received, but Abby, it would be comforting to know what happened - and when.

- Louise Hauter,

La Canada, Calif.

Dear Louise: Your point is well-taken. Thank you for a letter that I hope will jar some readers into action.

Dear Abby: I recently had lunch with my two sisters, whom I don't see very often. The get-together was long overdue.

The problem: One of my sisters has gone from alcoholic to religious to fanatic. She prayed over her food so loudly nearly everyone in the restaurant could hear her. It was very embarrassing! I feel that she should do her praying in private. How can I get the message through to her without hurting her feelings?

- Embarrassed,

Red Wing, Colo.

Dear Embarrassed: No need to feel embarrassed. Let your sister pray wherever she wants to pray. Prayers are not the worst things people overhear in restaurants.

Worth Quoting: Pablo Picasso said: "I have always believed and still believe that artists who live and work with spiritual values cannot and should not remain indifferent to a conflict in which the highest values of humanity and civilization are at stake."

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)