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Happy new year! Are you being served?

Well, hello, 1999! This should be a fascinating year as we wind up the century and the millennium. And it should be a banner year for our staff here at Exchange Central as we bring lots of requests and responses together. So, here we go again.

The list of groups that would like to have your old Christmas cards will run in the column next week, Jan. 9, instead of today. A few folks wanted to get in under the wire, so you'll have a wider choice of where to send the cards.

Here's an unusual request to get us off to a spirited start. It comes from Susan Topkin, education assistant at Great Explorations, the Hands-On Museum (for kids of all ages), in St. Petersburg. She tells us that one exhibit area in the museum is always in need of donations. It's called the Backstage Dressing Room. It's full of dress-up items, uniforms and costumes the children use in role-playing.

Susan is hoping that our readers will donate outgrown Halloween costumes or old uniforms to this project. Donations are tax-deductible and would be greatly appreciated. Please call Susan at the museum, (727) 821-8992 or 821-8737, if you can help.

Maxine Massimento of Seminole is hoping to find an old-time lawn jockey. If you know of a place that sells them, please call Maxine at (727) 393-3806.

Peggy Parfumorse of New Port Richey would love to find the words or record of a song her children loved back in the 1960s, when they were toddlers. The song was on a children's show, and there is a short version and a long version; Peggy knows the shorter song and has sung it to her grandchildren, but she's hoping to track down the longer one for her seventh grandchild.

The song goes this way: "Look, Mommy, do you see, there's a horse in striped pajamas; no, that's not what it is at all, it's a animal called a zebra, you see." And so goes the song. For example, another verse pictures the penguin as a bird in a tuxedo. Peggy awaits your call at (727) 372-3740.

Memories of childhood also prompt this request by Connie Fox of St. Petersburg, who is looking for two books that she loved as a child. She has searched the Internet but so far has had no success. However, who can say our readers won't outperform the electronic sources? The books are Deegie and the Fairy Princess by Ruth W. Rempel and Funny Bunny (a big Golden Book) by Rachel Learnard, with pictures by Alice and Martin Provensen, Simon & Schuster, 1950. Connie's number is (727) 323-2723, and she asks that you leave a message on her machine.

Milly Cucinotta of Spring Hill wonders if double-pointed knitting needles are obsolete. We don't think we'll commit ourselves to providing a guess, but we will say that Milly desperately needs size 10{ (she can live with size 10 or 11 if necessary) if she is to knit hockey socks for her grandsons. Milly has looked in all the crafts stores to no avail, but, as she writes, "your readers are more informative than the Yellow Pages." Let your fingers do the dialing to contact Milly at (352) 683-0514.

Marjorie Copening of Dunedin echoes Milly's sentiments when she writes, "I have faith in your column!" Well, let's justify this faith by locating sheet music for the old song Sleepytown Express, published in either the 1920s or '30s. Marjorie also lists many sources she has contacted with no success, so she is turning to our readers. She can be reached at (727) 738-0799.

Steve Calabro of Palm Harbor needs instructions for an item he purchased at a garage sale. It's a Pasta Perfett No. 900 machine made by the Vitantonio Manufacturing Co. of Eastlake, Ohio. Steve would love to have a copy of someone's instructions, or have someone talk him through the instructions. Call Steve at (727) 781-7085.

Robert Bolick of Largo seeks help with his Dormeyer mixer, which is badly in need of blades. The company is out of business, but Robert would be happy with an old set. Give him a call at (727) 584-5611.

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; no phoned requests, please. Except in unusual circumstances, readers must agree to publication of phone numbers. Please include area code.

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