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Dear Abby: I have been reading your column for 50 years. I love you and your sister and have learned a lot from you.

I'm 81 years old, and I happen to know you are both close to my age. I'm curious: Are you still writing your answers or is someone else writing them for you?I don't see how you could still be doing it. Most of my friends my age are in wheelchairs or using walkers or canes. That's normal at our ages, since we are at the end of the line.

I read the death notices every night to see who has just died, and the majority of the notices show people 10 years younger than I am. I guess I'm lucky.

- Jane in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Dear Jane: You say you've been reading my column for 50 years? That's quite remarkable, since I've been writing it for only 39!

Also, congratulations on reaching 81. My twin sister and I were born in 1918, but we don't count our years; we count our blessings.

P.S. Both Eppie and I write our own columns, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Dear Abby: My 17-year-old son (I'll call him Bill) has a friend at school who confides in him. "Meg" is 15, and has been sneaking out of her parents' house in the middle of the night to have sex with several different older boys. Her parents don't have a clue about this. Meg uses no birth control or protection for herself or her partners.

I want to alert her parents, but Bill has sworn me to secrecy. Meg was recently tested for syphilis and pregnancy, and while waiting for the results, she continued to sneak out and have sex with different boys. (She said if she got pregnant, she wouldn't know who the father is.)

I can't tell Meg's parents without getting my son in trouble with her for having told me. Bill refuses to tell her parents, but continues to warn Meg about her promiscuous behavior. What should I do?

- Concerned and Fearful

Dear Concerned: If your child were behaving promiscuously, wouldn't you want to be told? Explain to Bill that because health and possibly lives are at stake, you cannot remain silent. This is not some petty piece of gossip. Neither you nor your son is doing anyone any favors by withholding this information from those who can help Meg.

Tell Meg's parents what you have told me.

Dear Abby: My wife and I have brunch with a couple we are very fond of. We pay one week and they pay the next. They drink and we do not. The brunch bill for the four of us is usually around $50. But their bar bill is between $30 and $40.

I don't think it's fair that we should have to pay for their drinks, but when we suggested separate checks, they were insulted and said, "No way."

They don't seem to realize what the problem is, and we can't tell them or they would think we were cheap - which we are not. We have partially resolved the problem by cutting down on the number of times we brunch together. But now they seem hurt that we don't see them every Sunday like we used to.

Is there a solution other than telling them the truth?

- Abstemious in Arizona

Dear Abstemious: Yes. Ask for separate bar bills.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable - and most frequently requested - poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)