Dear Readers:

Several weeks ago, I printed a letter from "Buena Vista, Va." She said a friend of hers had found an Ann Landers column while cleaning out his mother's apartment after she died. When Buena Vista's mother passed away, she discovered one of my columns in her mother's desk drawer. She wrote, "I have the theory that in the desk drawer of every American between the ages of 35 and 95 is an Ann Landers column."

I asked my readers to tell me if this is true. Well, is it ever! Since I posed the question, I have been inundated with responses, and learned that my columns are on your refrigerator doors, folded in your wallets, taped to the bathroom mirror, stuck inside the medicine cabinet, hidden in the bottom of a sewing basket, glued to your child's notebook and tacked up on your office bulletin board.

What amazed me was the variety of columns you chose to save. I expected to see the poems and essays, but I did not anticipate that so many readers had saved the column on how to bake a perfect pie crust, the recipe for my Omaha sister's great meatloaf, and instructions on how to get rid of hiccups and warts. Many readers sent columns regarding medical issues; my views on wayward children, smoking, drinking and drug abuse; and my insistence on thank-you notes. Several readers saved the column in which I announced my divorce. One added, "I wept when I read it."

So, thank you, dear readers. Tomorrow, I will reprint the column that more people saved than any other.

Here are a few comments from dedicated readers:

From Jacksonville, Tex.: I loved the column from the person who didn't like the way teenagers are always being put down. One line really grabbed me. It said, "We are the future." How true! I glued that one in my scrapbook.

Ithaca, N.Y.: You missed something, Ann. The column "Buena Vista" found among her mother's belongings was about ungrateful children who never visit their parents. By clipping that column, the mother was sending her own children a message. I will think twice before I leave something like that for my children to find.

Copiague, N.Y.: The best advice you ever gave was, "The naked truth is always better than a best-dressed lie."

Alexandria: Send you one column? Surely you jest. I have six on my refrigerator door alone, another five in a file folder marked "humor," and 18 more that I have saved for my teenagers. One column, indeed.

Colorado Springs, Colo.: You had a Gem that said, "Hanging on to resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head."

Washington: For years, I have had the following nuggets of your wisdom taped about my desk at work: "It is far better to be alone than to wish you were."

Calgary, Canada: I don't have a whole column, but I cut out two of your most wonderful phrases. They are, "If it's love, it will last. And if it isn't, who needs it?" The other is, "Hatred is like acid. It does more harm to the container in which it is stored than to the object on which it is poured."

Tarrytown, N.Y.: You asked, "Which columns have readers saved?" I believe a more accurate question would be, "Which columns have saved readers?" You have saved my life more than once, and I cannot thank you enough.

Questions may be sent to: Ann Landers, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, Calif. 90045.

(c) 1999, Creators Syndicate