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Timely help needed by young watchmaker

An intriguing request from a high school student starts this week's column. Paul Menzer of Spring Hill wants to be a watchmaker after he graduates.

Naturally, taking watches apart and putting them together would be valuable experience. Paul tries to find old or broken watches at garage sales but doesn't have much luck.

Are any stashes of defunct watches gathering dust out there instead of preparing a man for a career? Paul may be reached at (352) 686-2829.

Mickey Martin of St. Petersburg would like to find the 45 rpm record by Spike Jones Mommy Won't You Buy a Baby Brother? The flip side is Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer. Mickey long ago was separated from her record, and she would like to share it with her grandchildren. If you can help, call Mickey at (813) 381-8595 Friday evenings and Saturday mornings.

Kay Mack of St. Petersburg would like to polish her somewhat rusty macrame skills. She wonders whether a reader near the public library, 37th Street and Ninth Avenue N, could help her scrape off the barnacles (so to speak). Kay would also love to find a source of ceramic items _ butterflies and other ornaments _ to use on some macrame. Call Kay at (813) 327-3963.

A reader in St. Petersburg would like to donate her sizable collection of record albums to a group that could use them. She encloses a list of titles too extensive for us to provide here, but they cover quite a range. For details, call (813) 547-4844.

Chris Beyers of Dunedin has a large box of yarn in assorted colors for needlepoint that she is sure a crafter can use. If you can, it's yours. Call (813) 734-5262.

Dorothy Baker of Largo would like to surprise her son with one of those old silver aluminum Christmas trees from yesteryear. If you have one, call Dorothy at (813) 584-7709. By the way, she includes a Merry Christmas to all.

Kay Calandri of Clearwater and her grandson like to work difficult puzzles (not jigsaw or crossword, however). Do you know of a good source? If so, call (813) 791-8020.

Cause to give thanks

Olive Howell of Dunedin, recently back from a summer in North Carolina, thanks everyone who helped in her search last spring for a script ball for her IBM Selectric III typewriter, but none of those she received fit her machine properly. Upon closer inspection, her husband discovered that the ball she needs must have four separate grooves inside the ball. Those she received are solid round balls. Call Olive at (813) 734-2048 to get in on chapter two of the Selectric Saga.

The Switzes of Largo can't say enough good things about the readers who helped them locate the trucker recordings they wanted. Their search unearthed an unexpected source that should prove useful to others seeking old recordings. Bananas Music Store, (813) 343-4013, has a warehouse in St. Petersburg at 2226 16th Ave. N, (813) 327-4616, open to the public and overflowing with vinyl in 45, 33 and 78 rpms.

The records are categorized, and, when you have found your music, you can rent a record player on the spot to record the records onto tape. For just under $10 you may transfer an hour's worth of music.

Maria Cascais of Spring Hill thanks all the women who answered her appeal for doll patterns and tips to tame unruly doll hair. So, Pat Wheeler, Dorothy Stranak, Connie Zimmardo, Marge Hunt, Wendy Pulsifer and Rita of Spring Hill, thanks also from Exchange Central. You readers make us look good.

While we're thanking folks, we'd like to include everyone who dialed TimesLine to hear John Nicklaus' recording of The End of a Perfect Day. If the song had been on a jukebox, John could be on his way to a platinum platter; 1,853 phone requests were received. Don't wait 40 more years, John, before you again dust off your voice. Fame awaits!

Send questions, answers and tips to Reader Exchange, Home & Garden, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg 33731. Only questions of general interest will be answered. Requests will be accepted only by mail; phoned requests will not be accepted. Except in unusual circumstances, readers must agree to the publication of their addresses and phone numbers in order to be considered for the column.