BY-WAYS -7/10/41 - Phillippa's Speeding Ticket - July 6, 1941

Hello, everybody! It's nice to be back again - after a month's vacation. So much has been crowded into the past week that I hardly know where to begin. Let's begin with the "Prologue to Glory," as the fine play about young Abe Lincoln is called. The prologue consists of the events leading up to this grand trip; the nice invitation from Virgil's twin sister, Phillippa. "It won't cost you anything but your meals and night's lodging;" my reluctant refusal, thinking my family couldn't get along without me; the unanimous urging on the part of my precious family, and the promise on their part to keep the household machinery well-oiled and running; the mad rush to get ready - which consisted chiefly of laundering the household linen and personal clothing, mending and altering the latter - enough to last a whole week. (New overalls and slacks have to have a hidden tuck, which has to be let out in a surprisingly short time, with these fast-growing boys). All this had to be done in a day and a quarter. My good husband got up at 4:30 last Sunday morning, to help me with the final packing, and serve breakfast to me on the run. As the clock struck five, the appointed hour, my brother-in-law turned into our drive. In five minutes we were on our way - Phillippa, her husband, Alfred, Father Taylor and I, Dad in the same carefree capacity as your lucky reporter. Out into a new world of enchantment stepped (or rode) three of us. Only Father Taylor had ever visited our nation's capital and our great metropolis, New York. Alfred had passed through New York as a frightened young immigrant from Yorkshire, England, only 16, and resentful of the long detention on Ellis Island. He wanted to visit New York as a free and independent American citizen.

Lest I forget the epilogue, let me say that we arrived home last evening - the car and its four occupants, with no parts missing; all four human beings on friendly terms. When I kissed Mother and Margery goodbye a week ago, I told Dad I'd better kiss him, too, as we might be enemies by the end of the week. The dear ones here kept all their promises, and actually got along better (with fewer arguments) than when I'm here. Which makes the trip quite perfect. When we set out on Route 422 - to go to Indiana, Pa., I assured the others quite smugly that they could just leave that part of the trip to me; I knew every curve and crossroad - as far as Butler. Before we knew it, we were off 422 - at its junction with 19 - onto the latter, and headed for Pittsburgh. Well, Phil and Al (Nicknamed for breath-saving) had never been to Pittsburgh; it would be one more big city to boast of having seen. So we kept right on going. Pittsburgh made them glad we live in Cleveland. Of course they did not see the beautiful part of Pittsburgh. Our lucky break was in hitting that wonderful new super-highway, just beyond Irwin. That highway is a marvel of modern road-building. My brother-in-law, a most conservative driver, was going 75 miles an hour before we knew it - with the same feeling of speed as 45 or 50 on the ordinary road. Those engineers had faith to remove mountains - as far as good motoring is concerned. The road bores its way right through the mountains. The tunnels have little sky-lights that are a perfect illusion of day-light coming through. We are told to use our head-lights; but we do not need them to find our way.

The motorists help pay for the highway, which is as it should be. The toll for the whole distance - from Irwin to the outskirts of Harrisburg - is, I understand, $1.75. For shorter stretches, 1 cent a mile. We left the highway at Breezewood, heading for Gettysburg. Phillippa took the wheel at this point. Always a fast worker - with tongue, hands, feet, mental machinery, she makes a car move accordingly. She took those mountains between Breezewood and Gettysburg at 50 and 55 miles an hour, and at the point of my story she was hitting 70. I was about to die of fright - for I am a coward when it comes to mountain curves - when, lo and listen! A siren sounded behind and then beside us, and there was one of those big ominous creatures, known as the Pennsylvania Highway Patrolmen. He had been following us for 10 miles and had "all the evidence." We were honored with police escort to the nearest office of Justice of the Peace, where a one-armed dispenser of the law slowly and painstakingly ticked out on his typewriter all the evidence, together with the culprit's name, residence, etc., etc. The patrolman had to swear that all this was the truth, the whole truth, etc. - and Phillippa and I were getting shakier and shakier. At last she got the verdict - ten dollars and costs. All this in spite of our eloquent pleading that we saw only one speed limit sign - and took it to be a local one. Well, we went on our way - more slowly, less blithely, more wise in the ways of Pennsylvania laws. Oh, I forgot to say that we were moving right along "with the crowd" when all this happened. Personally, I was thankful for the reduced speed, but sorry for the first nail in the balloon tires of our vacation buoyancy.

Now I must close. But more - much more next week.

Florence B. Taylor

Next -7/17/41 - Washington D.C