From the Children's Hospital mailbag . . . ."Now that I'm out of college," writes Jenny Adams of Reston, "I finally have a little money $5 to spend on Children's. It's not much, but I have wanted to contribute for several years, and have not had extra money . . . ."

It's the thought that counts, Jenny, especially when it's as charitable a thought as yours. How about the rest of you recent grads?

"I was just sitting down to make a Christmas list up, and was trying for the umpteenth year to think of a small, sensible gift for each of my children's teachers," writes Barbara Anderson of Sterling. "Teachers must get a little tired of perfume, stationery and Christmas ornaments, but what else can you find for less than $5?"

Then Barbara hit on the answer: a gift to Children's in honor of each teacher on her list. "I hope other parents will do the same," she says. I hope so, too.

Lake Ridge Executive Park in Woodbridge is selling new homes, and Phil Stepp of Springfield is doing some of the selling. One day this month, "I found this $20 in my sales model," Phil writes. No one claimed it. Now a sick kid has.

The check was for $20, and the note said "Hope this helps, from a government retiree."

It sure does, Richard E. Barton Sr. of Greenbelt. Here's hoping your fellow retirees follow suit.

Ain't love grand? Clare Sazama of Potomac sure thinks so. She's affianced to a fellow named Geoff Stevens, and she sent $20 to our Children's campaign in his honor.

"We both love kids, and there's nothing either one of us needs that's more important than saving a child from suffering," Clare writes. Who said love is blind? That sounds like 20-20 to me.

"Enclosed is a check for $10 from Jason Shipman," write his parents, Chris and Dave, of Alexandria.

"Jason is 15 months old, and this is his second annual contribution to the hospital. We hope he will continue this tradition on his own when he's old enough to understand what we're doing."

When your parents show you this clipping about five years from now, Jason, I hope you'll be able to read this:


Most gamblers are so glad to win for a change that they always do the same three things.

First, they thank some deity. Second, they turn right around and reinvest every cent they just won. Third, they quickly go broke -- again.

Not so Bruce and Barb Alexander of Alexandria. "We recently won a bit of cash playing the number 666 in the Maryland Lottery," they write. " . . . . Have been holding back about half the profits looking for something special. While reading your column, we decided that the 'something special' was Children's Hospital."

Thanks to the Alexanders, and to Triple Sixes, the pot is now $100 fuller. How about the rest of you lottery-hitters?

Another kind of "game freak" weighed in with his winnings, too. George T. Wittie of Northwest sent along $33 -- "which sum is my gains during the past year from playing Scrabble." Any Trivial Pursuit bettors out there? Parcheesi? Go Fish?

The Children's campaign always activates the memory cells of former patients at other children's hospitals. Eric L. Nehrbass of Olney shared this memory:

"I was born and raised in upstate New York, and I remember the numerous trips my panicky parents had to make to the Children's Hospital located at Buffalo, N.Y.

"My two brothers and I managed to inflict enough damage on ourselves that the staff at the emergency room came to know my parents on a first-name basis . . . .

"Now that I have a son of my own, who exhibits the same blatant disregard for life and limb that I once did, I would like this $25 check to go to the Children's Hospital here in Washington in anticipation of the time when he may need their services . . . ."

That's where I sent it, Eric. Many thanks.

Finally, a remarkable $25 gift from Mary and Arthur Rohan of District Heights. They sent a buck for each of their 25 grandchildren, the 25th of whom just arrived the other day.

Twenty-five grandchildren???!!! I had to hear about this in a little more detail. So I called the Rohan home, and Mary answered.

"How many of them are girls? Let's see," said Mary. "Can I count them real quick? Judy has two, Chuck has two, John . . . .I think that's nine. Yes, the other 16 are boys."

Males outnumbering females is nothing new in Rohanland. Of Arthur and Mary's eight offspring, seven are men. "And we're lucky to have five of our eight right here in the D.C. area," said Mary.

Actually, I think the people who are lucky are the kids at Children's, Mary. Here's wishing much health and happiness to your 25 "grands" -- and maybe a 26th next year?