Here's a letter from Phyllis E. Brown and Julie E. Steven of Springfield. Its wisdom speaks for itself.

"We are seniors at West Springfield High School," they write, "and we had an experience the other night that we think should be told . . . .

"Last Wednesday night around 10:45 p.m., we were on our way home after performing in our class play at school. As we pulled out of an intersection near the school, we noticed a large rust-colored van with no windows next to us.

"Moving ahead of him, we drove off. We thought nothing of it until the van followed us down a street near home, a street not many people use. We stopped at the stop sign, and the van stopped about 20 yards behind us . . . .

"Turning into the street, we saw the van follow us and park across from our driveway. The man in the van got out and started toward us. We know he did not live on the street because it is a very small court and we know all the inhabitants . . . .

"The man, wearing a dark trench coat, came over and knocked on Phyllis's window. She rolled down the window and the man asked her if she was a teen-age driver. She said she was. He said, 'I would like to compliment you on your driving. I followed you home to tell you this. I hope you do not think I'm crazy.' He turned and walked away.

" . . . .We greatly appreciate what the man set out to do, if that was truly his intention. But at the same time we were sure he was after us. We do not believe this is paranoia; simply a reaction to the horrible stories circulating these days.

"Mr. Levey, please tell your readers that we teen-agers are afraid to be out alone at night as it is. Tell them not to approach teen-age girls, even if they mean no harm. You have no idea how scared we were that night."

I have a very good idea how scared you were, Phyllis and Julie, which is why I'm happy to pass on your message. Like you, I doubt that this guy was interested in your driving skills. Sounds like a woman-chaser who lost his nerve and made up some gobbledygook to cover his embarrassment.

But in addition to your warning to the public, ladies, I have one for you:

Promise me that if anything like this happens again, you won't roll down your window and give a jerk like this a chance to talk to you -- or reach you.

Promise me that you won't even head home. Promise me you'll head straight to the nearest police station -- or, if you don't know where that is, to the nearest shopping center or well-lit, heavily travelled area.

I can't rid the world of filberts and cashews like the one who latched on to you. But you don't have to play right into their hands, do you?