BY-WAYS - 6/18/42 - Still Visiting in Saltsburg

Greetings, my friends! Can't you hear me calling - I mean, yoo-hooing to you? For I am still back in Saltsburg - in spirit - wishing I could see many of you that I missed seeing. We are never satisfied, are we? The book, "Arabian Nights," has had a disturbing effect upon my "well of content," for I am always wishing - not for jewels and palaces - but for the magic carpet that would go - whiz - to places where good friends live; in this case, Nowrytown, Eldersridge, Blairsville, et al. Well, let's be grateful for other magic; the magic of radio, of which the highly imaginative narrators of the "Arabian Nights" never dreamed; the magic of communication by telephone, telegraph, cable and the printed or written page; and, what seems most wonderful of all, the magic cinema of the human mind, which stores countless pictures and reels of pictures, that may be conjured up and "run off" at will. I added some choice ones to my collection, while in Saltsburg. For instance, the visit that Mother Lytle and I paid Mrs. Wieneke, who, for so many years, kept the home fires burning brightly in Saltsburg House. This is my first meeting with Mrs. Wieneke, but, God willing, not my last. I shan't embarrass her with all the words of admiration that would find expression on my typewriter; but if the rest of you think it's easy to learn all over again how to live - with very little sight - and smile while you do it, just bandage, or "darkly veil" your eyes, and try it for one day. Mrs. Wieneke reminds me so much of Mother Taylor that I ... well, I feel as if I had known her for years. Her children do "rise up and call her blessed;" and, though they want her to come and share their homes, they no doubt realize that no magnet of love is strong enough to take a woman away from the home that is her very own. May the softly murmuring river that glides by your door, Mrs. Wieneke, be music in your ears; and may your flower garden bloom full and sweet.

Tuesday morning - and a bus trip to Indiana, which was to have been shared by the indefatigable traveler, Mrs. Malinda Lytle; but she yielded to a voice within - and came just as far as the bus depot. I understand that she has been chided for gadding so much; but, deep down in her subconscious, a gay little elf keeps whispering, "What's the use of living if you can't keep in touch with Life?" Disappointment in Indiana, in missing an old friend, and a new one; but a good visit with Mabel Henderson Hopkins. Her mother, now past 90, is in good health, for one of her years; but she can no longer enjoy that magic of communication, the human voice. Letters from her loved ones, scattered far and wide, are a source of great pleasure. As Mabel and I climbed "Vinegar Hill" - past the old Telford home, with all its rich memories - and on up that street, M. said, "Wouldn't you like to stop and see Aunt Mabel?" Would I! I hadn't seen "Aunt Mabel" for nearly twenty years - more's the shame on me. 'Way back, in Indiana Normal days, when I was lucky enough to be Ethel Henderson's room-mate, she and I received a weekly passport into Heaven - Sunday dinner and association through the happy Sunday afternoons with a wonderful couple. Judge Telford and his strikingly attractive wife. "Uncle Jim" (Ethel's uncle) was the dearest of men; and think of the graciousness of his lovely wife, to give up the privacy and quiet of her Sabbath afternoons to two giggling school girls! I loved to drum on their piano, and, with the witless ego of youth, I thought I was good.

Ethel was absorbed in their books, hundred of which lined the east wall of their long library; but I was yet to be educated to the value of good books. Aunt Mabel and Uncle Jim did much to teach me their intrinsic worth. Aunt Mabel would often read special gems to me; and I, her audience, too full of chicken dinner, would sometimes fall asleep. For shame! Here, - I've been so full of reminiscing that, with reluctance, I come to the distressing sequel of this narrative, "Uncle Jim" has gone these many years; somehow, after a few years, I lost all contact with "Aunt Mabel." Now I was to see her again! Would she know me? I waited outside while Mabel went in to find her. There she was - in the vestibule! The same snow-white hair and queenly bearing. Mabel bade me come in - and I went eagerly to greet Aunt Mabel. But there was no light of recognition in those beautiful brown eyes. To spare her embarrassment I quickly told her who I was. To my shock and sorrow she told me that she can no longer see enough to read faces; no longer read the precious books, that are the breath of life to her. Somehow - some way - there must be recompense for this. Maybe God will show me how I can help, I pray that it may be so.

Florence B. Taylor

Next - 6/25/42 - Third Anniversary of Column

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