BY-WAYS - 2/14/40 - JUST SUPPOSE...

The boys are so noisy, and tussle around;
They race with the dog, and they wrestle and box.
But suppose a paralysis caught their young limbs!
Or an accident injured a spine?
And make of their playroom a shrine.

Be it food, or the pleasures of kings.
Our living room is their "gym." -
How can the house look neat and trim?
We parents would long for the tumult again,

Our daughter hates oatmeal, and civics, and milk,
And longs for the exotic things -
A dash of paprika on her bill of fare,
But suppose she went dancing - no whine on her lips -
Right out of our lives evermore,
Remorse would be ours for the good things she missed,
And the dullness that makes life a bore.

So, bring on your tumult and laughter, my boys;
We welcome you, just as you are.
And when our ship comes - slow, but sure - into port,
May it bring you, Estelle, caviar.

What brought on such a train of thought? You ask. No morbidity, I assure you. I was thinking of a little incident, the inspiration (if you may call it such) for the poem, "Little Foxes," written two years ago. By association of thought I remember how I came to have that little experience; and that's where the children come in. Children, by nature, are loving and generous. For weeks after a serious operation that came my way, Estelle and the boys took over the heavy part of the housework. Each Saturday morning Estelle would urge me to "clear out" - go visiting, or to a show - anywhere; and she, with the help of the boys, would clean that apartment from the front stairs to the back. On this particular Saturday morning I went to a picture show that opened at eleven. I was there early, and the section where I sat was virtually empty. In the midst of a fascinating scene, a charming feminine voice, with a foreign accent, came over my shoulder, "Would you mind removing your hat, pliz? That leetle feather..." Off came my hat before I had time to think that it would have been easier for me to move over one seat than get that trick hat on again. Then - I thought - why didn't she move over? No one beside her; isn't life like that? We let "leetle feathers" cut off our vision, rather than "move over." The delightful poem, "An Indian's Soliloquy," printed, cuss words and all, in the Press recently, reminded me of another Saturday excursion, and a chance meeting with someone from good old Penna. I had gotten on the street car at an eastern intersection, and at the very next stop a woman got on, whom Fate - and lurching street car - threw into my lap. She apologized, saying she was unaccustomed to street cars, having come from out of town. I, in turn, apologized for the rough riding street car. (We have brand new ones since then). The ice was broken, and we talked all the way downtown. I learned that she is Mrs. Harry Shelling, at that time a resident of New York State, but formerly from Elderton, Pa. Her husband is an oil man, and has charge of oil wells near Olean, New York. She gave a very clear description of the modern scientific methods of "prospecting" for oil. I was sorry indeed when our street car journey ended. ****

Have any of you seen moving pictures of devastated China? These pictures are taken, or at least assembled and exhibited by the American Committee for Relief in China. Truly, we, as a people, know nothing about being utterly homeless, hungry, and ill. That pitiful trek of the refugees, with the few belongings that they were able to carry on their backs, just makes you sick with pity. 40,000,000 homeless! The aim of this relief organization is to build huts and clothe and feed 1,000,000 a month. That is a big order. I came away from church this morning feeling that our few pence were nothing in that maelstrom of misery. But, oh, the gratitude for a warm home, and a full dinner pot (if it was only shank of beef, carrots, onions, and potatoes). Only a few of us can go to China. But, oh, the endless good we can do as American citizens. To me the big word is PREVENTION. Prevention of war, prevention of crime, prevention of sensational movies, prevention of immoral publications, prevention of parenthood among degenerates, prevention of a child being born into a home of misery and futility. There is unceasing work for us to do right here. ****

May I close on a happy note? First of all, apropos of nothing at all, let me say that I enjoy the household hints in the Saltsburg Press more than any other paper. I have started to save them. May I contribute a small household hint? I'm sure hundreds of others have hit upon it, or else a better one; but at any rate, I didn't steal this idea. My size 8 thimble is too large, and size 7 is too small; so I put a small strip of adhesive tape inside the larger one. (It took me 40 years to think that up; hope it helps someone). Charlie came home from school, and asked, "Mother, what is a mirage?" So mother began an elaborate explanation. (The less you know about a subject, the more elaborate the explanation). He stopped me. "I'll tell you. It's the place where 'the little man who wasn't there' parks his car." That's what they learn in these city schools.

Faithfully Yours,
Florence B. Taylor

Next -2/21/40 - Saltsburg Bottle Works. First Communion