BY-WAYS -5/22/41 - Mrs. Emily Nelson Wright

Saturday night - and all is well! (At least, I hope so). The house seems strangely quiet. "Big" Virgil has gone to see the play "You can't Take it With you," which I saw last night. Estelle has gone to a dance. The boys decided - early this morning - that, after their day's work was done, they were going on an "expedition" - downtown. Virgil has a nice paper route, and Charlie has turned "charman" for Saturdays (and a dandy one, since he got a raise). So they have a little money in their jeans, and the high spirit of adventure in their souls. It is with mixed emotions that a mother watches her fledglings try their wings. They must fly - sometime. But how earnestly we watch them in their trial flights - that they do not fall, victims to the crouching enemy. May all our young "birds" develop strong wings. For they will need them in this hectic period in world history. Can you picture a girl at a dance, who had her first horse-back ride in seven years - just the day before? Estelle was to take a hot bath and a rub-down when she came home from the ride (at 7 P.M., after a long day's work). But somebody else was using the tub. So she threw her trot-wracked frame across her bed - never to move again until morning. It is so funny - to see her walk with "cow-boy's knees," and ease in and out of chairs. She will surely be limited to the hesitation waltz tonight. ***

A week ago today I watched for the mailman with special eagerness. For it was time for the questionnaires to be flocking back from Pa. The thought came, "Do I have the right to burden the mailman this way? But he seemed to be doing all right. I went down the walk to meet him. Some mail, yes, but not a word from my readers. I had to swallow my disappointment and hope for Monday and Tuesday. They came and went, and all the other days. At the risk of losing my job, I must confess that not one reply came, in answer to my appeal for your suggestions. Did the thought of criticizing scare you away? Did you think your opinion is not important? If you only knew how important it is to me! The sweet letters I have received heretofore have been of the greatest help; but, in choosing material for a newspaper I have no right to cater to my special friends, to the detriment of other readers, who are paying for the same paper. Mr. Walker, a friend of long standing, is taking me on faith; I have to substantiate that faith. I do know that I get a greater "kick" out of sharing an adventure, an experience with you than the thrill of the original adventure. But I want to be dead sure that I am not usurping valuable space that should be used for something else. The fate of "The By-Ways" hangs on your response. ***

An enthusiastic new reader of the Saltsburg Press is a Cleveland woman, Mrs. Emily Nelson Wright, who has spent the winter in Philadelphia helping nurse a married daughter back to health. I wish I might introduce Mrs. Wright to you in person, and have you hear her play the piano. Quite a good many Cleveland pianists - that are real artists like her - think they have to withdraw a little from the "madning" and motley crowd, in order to preserve the chastity of their art. Not so Mrs. Wright. She not only welcomes Life; she goes out to meet it - and has the time of her life. Imagine a diminutive grandmother, with graying hair (Don't ask me her age; she is ageless) and twinkling light brown eyes - that change with her mood; a determined chin; but a voice that would disarm the most savage beast. She is English, with a precise and delightful inflection; but those initial h's and final r's seem to disappear. As proof of her good nature, she quoted her son-in-law's remark, when she was the only one in the household to escape illness last winter, "Nothing effects an old piece of wood." Mrs. Wright has had a varied and interesting career. Some of her experiences would make good story material. She has promised to keep me supplied with stories. May she never lose her enthusiasm for life, in all its aspects. ***

Observed on our Public Square where tame pigeons watch avidly for a friendly, open hand - and a bag of crumbs or grain: A tiny little girl, who seemed to know her pigeons, put a bit of corn on the end of her protruding tongue. A trusting pigeon flew up and painlessly removed it. There was surreptitious laughter around the vegetable counter in the store today. Gravitating toward the laughter, and aching to know the cause, all I could see was a small boy with a cut or scratch down the length of his cheek. As the family group called, the obliging clerk volunteered the explanation of suppressed laughter. This nine-year-old boy had been invited to a very special birthday party, and he decided it was time to shave! ***

It is now Sunday P.M. and time to close. And I had planned to tell you of a visit to a bakery. Shall I tell you next week? In anticipation of your help, I remain.

Yours sincerely,
Florence B. Taylor

Next -5/29/41 - Miss Maude Ewing. Mrs. J.C. Rose