10/1/39 - Letterwriting BY-WAYS - 10/1/39 - Letterwriting .... THE MAIL BAG.


Life is short - and time is fleeting -
Take five minutes for a greeting;
If there's no time for a letter,
I suggest here something better
Than that deadly silence, causing
Fear, concern - by your not pausing
In your work - or play to tell
"Joe is working; children well."
Send a card to those who care;
Keep your friendships in repair.
Greenbacks...stamps...you haven't any?
Love will carry for a penny.


This is national letter-writing week; the New Year of our letter-writing resolutions. We have "Clean-Up Week" and "Be-Kind-to-Dumb-Animals-Week", etc. Let this be "Repair Week" - to repair some hurt, unwittingly inflicted upon a loved one, by long neglect in writing; or the silent damage done to an old friendship. Even the best of friendships - of long standing - need new props. A post card is a wonderful prop. My only sister - so far away, in Texas - is an exceedingly busy and useful woman, with very little time for letter writing. The penny postal is our salvation. I was quite amused (with a wee tinge of suspicion) when the friendly postmistress in the little village of Lyndhurst said, "I never saw anyone get so much on a post card as you do, Mrs. Taylor." It's the Scotch in me, I guess.

But now for our Mailbag. In the letter accompanying that fine poem printed last week, Paul Lowman writes, "I dedicate this letter to the Greatest and also the Most Humble Man that ever walked this earth in the flesh." (If only we would dedicate more of our letters and our utterances to Him!). In speaking of war, Paul quotes the poet, Robert Burns, who said, "Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn." I delight in this closing expression of Paul's, "Although a Presbyterian now, I am happy that I was corn-fed on the Psalms." (So am I).

And now for an inspiring letter from one who walks in darkness - but "sees the light." You remember that for the September Mailbag I suggested letters telling of your contact - if any - with a blind person, who inspired you with his triumph over darkness. To make sure of at least one letter, I wrote to a sightless person who has made a signal success of his life - because he has overcome every handicap. My letter, sent to New York, evidently did not reach him until three or more weeks later. Here is his reply - verbatim:

The Seneca Hotel - Chicago - Sept. 19, 1939 Dear Mrs. Taylor:

Thank you very much for your letter, which has just reached me. I have been in Chicago two weeks now. I am very busy rehearsing for my new program which begins on September 25th, over NBC. It is sponsored by Alka Seltzer and is to be called "Alec Templeton Time." I hope that you will be able to listen in. You ask my philosophy in life. I am afraid I have not given this question very much thought. However, I really feel that if we all tried our best to make ourselves and other people happy by being cheerful and kindly, and doing our utmost to add a little sunshine to other people's lives, we will have accomplished our true objective.

My greatest hobby is people - I like meeting them, and talking to them, and knowing all about them. I especially like elderly people, as they have so much to tell me from their experiences in life. I also love delving into the lives of our great men, and it gives me a great thrill to learn how they conquered their difficulties. Of course I have always had a great deal of love and care showered on me. You say you would like to meet my mother. I also would like you to meet her. She has been an inspiration to me all my life.

Perhaps some day we shall all meet. Until then my very kindest regards and affectionate greetings.

Sincerely yours,
(signed) Alec Templeton

May you write it on your heart about "being cheerful and kindly and doing our utmost -" etc. God bless the lad! Good-bye now - until next week.

Florence B. Taylor

P. S. - Mr. Fennell's letter is intensely interesting.

Next - 11/28/40 - The play, "There shall be no Night"

By Ways Table of Contents