DEAR ABBY: I am a mother and grandmother, and I am very upset because our president is sending young mothers to the Persian Gulf. Yes, I know there have always been women in the armed services, but when it comes to the possibility of getting killed, it's a different matter.

We should do what we did during World War II. All the single people go first, then the married ones with no children, then those with only one child, etc. How do you tell 3- and 4-year-olds that Mama has to go to war?With women's lib, everything has changed. I think it's terrible to break up families this way. I hope you think this is important enough to put in your column. - FLORENCE GOODWIN, MELBOURNE, FLA.

DEAR FLORENCE: I agree with you; it is indeed terrible to break up families. But women are in the armed services voluntarily. They are not "drafted " as were men during World War II and Vietnam. Every woman who joined should have been fully aware that she could be called upon for combat duty.

And you tell 3- and 4-year-olds that Mama has to go to war the same way you tell them that Daddy has to go.

DEAR ABBY: Although I am a longtime reader of your column, I've not written before. But I think what I have to say might improve the manners of some who are unaware that the way they address people indicates a basic sexist attitude.

Recently, I had my first appointment with a new dentist. His assistant called me from the waiting room by addressing me as "Hillary." She called me Hillary all during the treatment.

I had difficulty restraining my anger. But the worst was yet to come. As I was leaving the office, I heard this same assistant calling the next patient, "Come in, MR. Jordan." I was fuming at her for calling me by my first name for an hour and then addressing the next person by "Mr."

Am I wrong to be furious? I have changed dentists. - INSULTED IN MESA, ARIZ.

DEAR INSULTED: If you choose to be furious, it's your right, but you may have done yourself a disservice by changing dentists. If he was a competent dentist, why punish him - and yourself? You should have first told his assistant to please call you "Mrs. So-and-So." Then, if she persisted in calling you Hillary, you should have complained to your dentist. And if she still ignored your request, you would have been justified in chewing her out and taking your teeth to another dentist.

CONFIDENTIAL TO FEELING LOW IN TACOMA: Don't despair. The world is round. What looks like the end may be only the beginning.

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