BY-WAYS -8/1/41 - Estelle's Trip to Ft. Sheridan. Washington D.C. by "night" - July 27, 1941

A record day of heat, I do believe. The mercury in our thermometer has pushed up and up, 'til it has no place to go. It now hovers at 112. Is Old Sol dropping red hot coals on you, too? Or is he just pouring out his wrath on Ohio? Just imagine trying to write a column on a day like this! I got up at 5:30, to beat the sun. But the poor brain, like a piece of rendered lard, had nothing more to give out. This is the third day of sweltering heat - with no relief in sight. But enough about the weather.

The exciting trip of four weeks ago seems to pale into insignificance in the presence of the new reel of adventure unfolding before our mind's eye - the adventures of our daughter and elder son. Estelle, in the company of a charming neighbor of fifty, is having a wonderful vacation in Illinois - Fort Sheridan, Waukegan, Chicago - learning at close range what Defense really means. Virgil Jr. has joined the Cleveland Plain Dealer Bicycle Light Brigade in an eight-day tour, covering 325 miles and reaching three states. (Imagine pedaling a bike 60 miles a day in this heat!) Fortunately the boys - 74 of them - are having a quiet day of rest today in beautiful Oglebay Park, Wheeling, W.Va. The entourage consisted of two trucks, one motorcycle (with a handsome police captain astride it - surely the envy of the weary young pedalers), two mothers, two bicycle experts, and two highly competent leaders, who have led the previous tours. Eagerly we scan the morning Plain Dealer (our leading newspaper) for news of the young adventurers. The first night was spent in Akron, where they were taken through the Goodyear plant. Each night they have access to a swimming pool, and mats on the floor of a Y.M.C.A. gym, where they spread out their blanket rolls. Virgil, with a 15-year-old's flair for big words, and dramatics, wrote from Akron, "There have been innumerable accidents," which proved to be one skid, one tangle of two bikes, and one collision into a parked car, which said collision has put one bike out of commission, and ruined one unhappy boy's trip. They have visited the caves at Zoar and the museum at Schoenbrunn, Ohio, the strip coal mine at Georgetown. Tomorrow they will ride along the Beautiful Ohio to East Liverpool, where they hope to visit the famous potteries. On to Sharon, Pa., on Tuesday, where they are to visit steel mills; then home by Burton, O., where they will spend Wednesday night and are to be treated to all the pancakes and maple syrup they can pack away. Mr. Crawford, leader of the troop, and staff correspondent for the Plain Dealer, writes that the boys are eating like lumberjacks. It seems as if the whole world loves a boy. Farmers and their wives, watching for them, are out at the roadside, proffering drinks of cool milk, and all the apples they can eat. Ice cream and candy companies do their part to make this a truly happy adventure.***

Shall we go back now to Washington? I hate to think how hot Washington is right now. The afternoon that we visited Mt. Vernon I almost "succumbed" to the heat, and was forced to spend most of the time on a park bench. It just dulls your patriotism to visit Washington in hot weather. When it was decided that I was to go on this dream trip, I thought to myself, "Oh, when I can see the Capitol building of my beloved America, I'll just stand there in reverential awe." When we reached Washington in the evening, unannounced, Almira Lytle was away at the beach, and her sister was entertaining guests. So we tourists decided to see the Capitol by night, Alfred was at the wheel. Our car was like a Punch-and-Judy show on wheels; I was the luckless Judy, hanging out the right front window. Dad or Phillippa would give me the mental punch, "Ask this man; he looks intelligent." And the limp Judy would jerk up and screech out, "Where's Pennsylvania Avenue?" Alfred would keep right on going - so afraid was he that someone would run into him. (I never saw such reckless driving as in Washington). Such a time! We must have gone around in circles. Patient guides would tell us to turn down such-and-such a street, but by the time I could read the street sign we were too far past to turn down. We would go around the block, only to find a one-way street - and it wasn't going our way. After what seemed hours of a maddening hunt for that Capital, it suddenly came into resplendent view. "There it is!" a chorus of relief - but no reverential awe. Moral: Don't try to "do" Washington by night until you've learned the streets and the drivers' eccentricities by day.

Meltingly yours,
Florence B. Taylor

Next -8/7/41- Ina, Marjorie, and Flora's trip west