DEAR READERS: March is the month for national fund raising for the American Red Cross. Most of the local chapters have letter-writing campaigns. (Thank-you, Red Cross, for not soliciting me by telephone.)

Most people believe that the Red Cross is funded by the government. It is not. The various chapters raise money through drives, bake sales, auctions, special events, etc. (It's no piece of cake going hat in hand to the public when so many other organizations are doing the same thing.)The Red Cross is not a "social organization" - it provides help for those who need food, clothing, shelter and furnishings following disasters such as fires, floods, tornados, train wrecks, explosions, etc.

The Red Cross conducts blood banks. It teaches first aid, CPR, lifesaving, water safety and physical fitness. It contacts those serving in the military when an emergency arises at home. (I know. When I gave birth to my son prematurely during World War II, the Red Cross flew my husband home while he was serving in the infantry.)

President Bush, in his inaugural address, called on those who were favored with wealth and power to take on the reciprocal obligation of helping those who lack the ability to take care of themselves.

You never know when you will need the Red Cross. Right now, it needs you, so please send a check to your local American Red Cross office today. The address is in the white pages of your telephone book. And thank you for reading this "magilla."

DEAR ABBY: I am a respectable middle-aged married woman who took a part-time job selling perfume in a first-class department store over the Christmas holidays. A gentleman who appeared to be about 60 asked me to recommend some perfume for his wife, then he proceeded to tell me what a wonderful woman she was. I suggested a few fragrances, then he asked me what kind I was wearing, so I wrote the name of it on my business card together with the price - $150 an ounce - and gave it to him. He put the card in his wallet, thanked me courteously and left. That's all the contact I had with that man. (He never did return to buy the perfume.)

Well, two days ago, my husband gets a telephone call from this man's wife informing him that her husband and I had been fooling around! Abby, this woman must be crazy.

I am a very outgoing person and I do smile a lot, but I am very happy with my life and I do not "fool around." The worst part of this whole thing is that my husband actually believed this woman, although I have never done anything to cause him to doubt me.

I can't talk to any of my friends about this because they will think my husband has lost his mind for believing a stranger.

Now what do I do? My husband won't talk to me. - ONE UNHAPPY WOMAN

DEAR UNHAPPY: If your husband won't talk to you, he probably won't listen to you, either, but give it a try.

Tell him that you are hurt and insulted, and if your marriage is going to survive he must go with you to a family counselor and find out why he would believe the outrageous accusation of a stranger rather than the word of a faithful wife. Your husband is either sick, or his lack of confidence in you says more about his own character than he intended to disclose.

CONFIDENTIAL TO FLORENCE IN ARLINGTON, VA.: I, too, am sick of the "babble of Tower": Let's get on with more important things.


(C) 1988 Universal Press Syndicate