BY-WAYS - 2/21/40 - Saltsburg Bottle Works. First Communion.

The Saltsburg bottle works. The daughter of our dressmaker worked there. I came to town to have a dress fitted; went along to the bottle works - and almost 'never came back.' How fascinating! The glass-blowing part is very hazy, but vivid indeed is the huge moving platform (or endless chain) on which the bottles lay - in perfect array - to pass under the tempering fire. I wonder how many bottles that platform would hold at a time. Looked like a million to me. The fire was in the center - overhead - and intensely hot, but by the time the bottles reached the other end of this flat "kiln" they were cool enough to handle. The bottles were packed as fast as the tray were removed from the wide "chain." I was allowed to help pack. In an adjoining big workshop the boxes were being made. I must have gaped at the amazing speed of those workers. No W.P.A. tempo there. I was curious about the bottle works as a child - and am curious right now. Why has the interest been dormant in all these intervening years? How sluggish our minds are! The awakened interest must be due to approach of second childhood. Enyhoo - as Gracie Allen says - will someone please tell me how I can learn more about that factory? and how it came into being? ****

Aunt Caroline had her hands in bread dough (sixteen big loaves in the Dutch oven in those days) and was singing, the morning that I came with my little trunk, to stay "for keeps." She was singing:

"Tis the song - the sigh of the weary,
'Hawd times, hawd times come again no mo'.
Many days you hab ling'ed aroun' ma cabin do' -
Oh, hawd times come again no mo."

No. 4 school house - and Miss Minnie Hobaugh. Where is "Dandy" Daugherty, who could yell like a Comanche Indian on the playground, yet had to be constantly reminded to speak above a murmur at the "recitation bench?" Brilliant Horace Hileman - and Bessie - Flora and Katie Kunz - Ora McMasters - Viola Orr. The three little "Roses"; I took to the one with the dark brown eyes (Mary) right away. Our first conversation went something like this:

"How old are you?"
"Half-past eight."
"So am I. Let's be friends."

No books, except one - a huge green-backed Story of the Bible that Aunt Caroline gave me, have ever held the charm of the library books of that old school house. Dark red books - binding, smooth as satin - with the great stories of truth and fiction between their covers. Wish I could find a copy of that song "Learn a Little Every Day."

"Little rills make wider streamlets; Streamlets swell, the rivers flow." etc.

Just a simple little song - but of profound influence. To learn a little every day - to grow - to add to your mental and moral stature. William Lyon Phelps says, "The happiest people are those who think the most interesting thoughts." Yes, and those who keep adding new thoughts - to keep the mental stream fresh and clear. ...The wild sled rides down the steep hill not so far from No. 4 (near Mooween)... The improvised roller-coaster, made of freshly-cut logs and a long slab. (I remember, because I got two fingers caught between the slab and a log)... The fascinating young hickory trees, that delayed many a home-coming after school snakes slithering across the lonely road leading to White Station ...wild grapes in profusion ...the beautiful Christmas trees at No. 4 - cut out of the woods near by. We made our own trimmings ...Our own valentines, too... The long, heavy underwear, heavy black stockings, three petticoats... And the boys with their felt boots that smelled to high heaven... And that reminds me, who was our skunk trapper at No. 5 school? ***

Miss Ella Alcorn's store in Saltsburg. The candy was in the front window - and the dry goods far to the rear. Aunt Caroline and Miss Ella at the dry goods counter; Florence ostensibly watching the "traffic" (horse and buggy traffic). But, oh, the agonized struggle between the sweet tooth and - I was going to say "conscience" but I think it was the fear of getting caught. Sad to relate, the sweet tooth won out. (This is my confession, after 40 years of harboring a secret sin)... Years later, Bess Rhea Walker (now Mrs. Martin) treated me to my first soda, a chocolate ice cream soda, in McClaran's drug store. To her it was just another soda; but to me that stool at the soda fountain was Mt. Olympus, and I was having ambrosia and nectar of the gods. For years I refused to try any other soda or sundae - for I was certain there could be no other half so good. (P.S. it still is my favorite). ***

Rev. Calvin's long sermons at Conemaugh and the overwhelming fidgets. Rev. Calvin visited all his church members just before communion, to be sure they were ready to partake of the Holy Sacrament. A godly man, indeed. Aunt C. gave me my first spanking - or switching because I misbehaved during my first Communion... The red letter day, when Ellis brought home a pony from Noble Nesbitt's sale. Never could there have been more joy and content bound for a child in $18 worth of pony flesh. My beloved companion for fifteen years. ***

You must pardon so many personal reminiscences. Thoreau, in his book, "Walden," asks the reader's tolerance of his talking so much about himself. "Because," he said, "I know more about myself than anyone else." And now I must say "Good-by" to you for awhile. Mr. Walker has asked me to take a vacation. In the meantime, I'll try to 'learn a little every day' for you.

Florence Burlingame Taylor

Next - 4/18/40 - Nest-Building. Tribute to Former Pastor