BY-WAYS - 7/16/42 - Johnnie Gilkerson. Girls at Heart - July 1, 1942

Greetings again from Grand Central Station! This time it's Johnnie Gilkerson, Knox's only boy, passing through Cleveland, on his way to New York, and then...? John is in the navy; he has been stationed at the San Diego Naval Training Station for about sixteen months. We were quite thrilled to get his father's letter, and the subsequent telegram from Johnnie, saying he will arrive this evening at seven. A delegation of young people (including yours truly ...ahem) are going down to the Terminal to meet him. We hope that he may have a good many hours to spend with us - and that he may be able to attend the concert at Cain Park, in which Virgil and Merle Deemer are playing. Again I am finding it hard to concentrate - for Estelle and two other girls (three magpies) are chattering here - and it's too hot to move the typewriter or the magpies upstairs.

Well, let's go back to Saltsburg, and meet some other girls. The birth certificates and the records in the family Bible say that four of these girls were born over 75 years ago; but I still maintain that they are girls at heart - with the added charm that well-cultivated maturity brings. One other girl of 83 was supposed to be in on this party; but that villain, known as Lumbago, sneaked up on her, and put a knife in her back. The luckless, but unbowed victim was Mrs. John Wilcox. It's amazing how she can rise above her pain, and enjoy other people's joys and successes. What she really wanted to do on this momentous occasion, when her scattered friends were reunited in this town, was to cook them one of her matchless dinners. But Father Time and the aforesaid villain said "No;" she laughs at Father Time; so he called in this wicked ally - but they'll never down her spirit. Two of the "girls" - Mrs. Ida Frye Parker of Scottsdale, and Miss Margaret Welch, of Pittsburgh, turned fairies, said the magic word, and a wonderful dinner appeared on the snow-white dinner table, down in Martin's restaurant. The lucky guests were Miss Mary Andre, of Saltsburg-next-door-to-the-postoffice. Mrs. E.K. Costello, of Homer City, and your hick-town reporter (as New York refers to Cleveland). I was sort of proxy for Mrs. Wilcox, and she told me on the q.t. to keep the party from getting too hilarious. I did my best, but Mrs. Costello is too much for one person to handle. Seriously, it was a great privilege and pleasure to be with these fine women. They have truly found the fountain of youth; and the word carved out of its marble base are "Be in love with Life; be in love with people." Oh, I wish there were time to tell you more (but maybe I have gossiped too much already). Many interruptions have brought around that demon, deadline. Better luck next week.

Florence B. Taylor

Next - 7/23/42 - Entertaining Angels Unawares

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