BY-WAYS -10/2/41 - The Wilsons. The Forest Primeval

The Forest Primeval

"This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines
and the hemlocks," -
The beeches, the red oaks, the maples, the
carpet of moss on its bosom;
The canyon - not rocky nor bare - but with
underbrush, vines and tall pine trees. -
The river - Grand River - so far in the depths
of the canyon, 'tis hidden
From timorous tender-foot. Only the hardy
may see it and drink
Of its crystal-clear waters - as pure, undefiled
as the forest itself.
Here's a mound - just a small one - but yonder -
within the clear sound of the waterfall.
Safe in the depths of the forest, is the tomb
of the Indian chieftain -
The mighty - let's say - Kalapootchie, with
Indian signs pointing toward it -
An arrow sign cut in the beech-bark, and
pointing to Chief's mausoleum. -
And there, in the forest primeval, with
whispering pines and the river's
Soft laughter, to soothe his brave spirit,
lies, under a blanket of needles,
(Pine needles) the once mighty warrior -
let's say - Kalapootchie.

What is this? you say - stealing the lines, or the line, of the poet. My apology to Henry Longfellow, to whom the first line belongs. So exquisite in its musical rhythm. Do you remember how most of us oldsters had to "scan" it in our study of good poetry? I know that my obliging assistant, the compositor, will mark, in heavy type, the syllables that get the accent (in Longfellow's line). And may I be pardoned for trying to emulate one of the masters.

The subject is a most inspiring one. To go back thirteen years, when Virgil and I joined a certain dramatic club, just formed, we met a certain couple with whom we became staunch friends. Together we played pinochle, threshed out our ideas about plays and good acting, discussed the problems of parenthood, agreed (for a time) on how this country should be run, commiserating with each other during the Depression, when our mortgages stayed just as high - on Mortgage Hill, as our lovely community was called. Always, when I began to lament moving into such a high-taxed neighborhood, I would say to Virgil, or he'd say to me, "-but then, we wouldn't have known the Wilsons" - or the many other priceless friends we found there. Such is the quality of friendship - that one would be a pauper indeed, without that friendship. Six years later Elsie and Melville dropped out of the dramatic club - and two years after that the Taylors dropped down off Mortgage Hill. Then Elsie and I did most of our visiting by telephone. I loathe the telephone, and am in constant disrepute because I won't call up my friends. Thus our friendship lay dormant for awhile, although always revived at Christmas. In the meantime - last year - the Wilsons bought a 200-acre farm - about 50 miles northeast of Cleveland's Public Square, or 39 miles from their suburban home. Elsie called me at the time - and for over a year Virgil and I have been talking of going out to see that farm. We finally got there last Sunday afternoon. Melville has a remarkable father and mother, hale and hearty, who live on this farm the year around. You can imagine the courage and the industry of this whole family, who have taken over a neglected farm - the house well over a hundred years old - and are bringing that once beautiful colonial home back to its original beauty. For years that house was inhabited by dirty "trash." One man made a business of stealing chickens, and keeping them safely hidden in an upstairs bedroom. One family, who was averse to chopping heavy wood, took off the beautiful shutters and the once-handsome picket fence, and used them for firewood. Only brave souls, with the blood of pioneers in their veins, could tackle such a place, and restore it to an immaculate, substantial home. Mr. Wilson, a retired mail carrier, spends all his time repairing and rebuilding that home.

There have been interruptions - and it is time to close. I must continue another time. The poem gives you an idea. "The "forest primeval" is theirs - as romantic as the one in "Evangeline."

Florence B. Taylor

Next -10/16/41 - More of the Landlord - Eldoras T