BY-WAYS - 5/6/43 - Ed Starret. Visit by F.D.R. to Warm Springs, GA. Letter by Nana to F.D.R

Asking your indulgence for brevity and lack of coherence, I shall, in the brief space of time left this Sunday afternoon, try to give you the highlights of the past week. First, the matchless Easter sermon given last Sunday by our Dr. Phillips, "Why Seek Ye the Living Among the Dead?" - the words of the "men in shining garments" at the empty tomb of Jesus - spoken to the three troubled women who sought their dear Lord. The thought - the truth - that Dr. Phillips left with us is that the real YOU is not laid away in a cemetery. These houses that we live in become old and are subject to decay. Then, we move on to new and shining dwellings. He reminded us that we may leave a lasting influence on this earth. Today he added to that thought, and kept repeating, "Ye are the light of the world." His thoughts were so much along the line of Dr. Hutchison's farewell address to his students that you would have thought they had a conference, and had come to agreement on these points. That challenge to you in this sinful world, "Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good." Conflict, conflict, "Fight the good fight." I had to make a decision about the Juniors. Should I try to go on, when there are others more capable than I, with a great deal more time to give to planning? But a voice from within - just as clear as the voice of God to the child, Samuel, said, "Go on; go on! Try to rectify the mistakes of the past year. Don't be just a dreamer. Be a doer of the Word." And the heartwarming part of it is that my precious family is with me - all five of them willing to go 15 minutes early so that my Juniors can have an extra 15 minutes of singing, which they love. ****

Monday night the stars of "Information, Please" put on their program in our Public Music Hall, broadcasting, as usual, from coast to coast. The ticket of admission was a War Bond, ranging in value from $50 to $5,000. Virgil and I felt very insignificant with our paltry investment of $75, and our seats in peanut heaven. The total Bond sale for that "show" was over $5,000,000. We were entertained in advance of the broadcast by Clifton Fadiman's charm and wit, by Oscar Levant's clever burlesquing on the piano, by an accordion solo by the all-knowing John Kieran, by odd "music" furnished by Franklin P. Adams by the simple expedient of tapping a pencil on his cheek, the latter with varied degrees of inflation. Then our guest star, Leon Henderson, delighted us with a mandolin solo. He is a charming person.

Now, I must hurry on to another highlight - a letter written by my dear mother-in-law, a copy of which I have before me. Do you remember my telling you of a young man, son of a very good friend of ours, who was stricken with infantile paralysis a year ago last October? Well, the story of Edward's fight to regain the use of his muscles is one of the most inspiring stories. Twice he has gone to Warm Spring, Ga. At first he went through heart-breaking loneliness and discouragement. But he has "fought the good fight," if ever a good soldier did - and by the greatest patience and persistence has now learned to climb in and out of bed along - to stand, and to walk - ever so little, with braces. His letters are gems of bright courage and hope. And now has come a glowing letter to his mother, telling all about the President's visit there recently. The President, himself a polio victim, is, of course, the greatest earthly source of inspiration to those stricken people. He did not disguise from them his own difficulty in moving about. He shook hands with every one of them, he ate with them, and, in a short speech, put that something in their spinal columns that makes men of living souls. Well, Mother was so full of gratitude - for Edward's sake, that she sat down and typed the following letter, right from the heart:

Dear Mr. Roosevelt,

I am taking this opportunity of writing to you. I am a woman of seventy-four; also a grandmother by adoption to several of our fighting boys., I am almost blind - two percent vision in one eye only. Our son said some years ago, "Mother, take up the typewriter." I thought it was impossible at my age, but he said, "With your British and Yankee background you can surmount that difficulty." So I have been able to be more independent. Also I am a woman to give my flowers of appreciation and praise while a person is here, and not wait until they are in the Great Beyond. I am writing to let you know what a great blessing you gave a young man at Warm Springs this week; also to his mother. She came to our home last Tuesday, and said, "I am walking on air; my boy has seen our President, was introduced to him and shook hands with him," but the words of helpfulness you gave him has given Edward Starrett fresh hope and determination to make his life worth while, as you have done. This lad is a cousin of our son-in-law, with whom we live; he gave promise of a brilliant career; but no complaint from his lips; a true American. He was thrilled at meeting you, so I thought you should know how much good your visit did. You have done what our Lord said, "I was sick, and ye visited me." Thank you, Mr. President, and I pray God to bless you and give you health to carry on for us. With due respect, I am - Grandma Taylor

Brave, kind words from one who has "fought the good fight" herself, and come out in shining victory.

In pride - and humility, Her daughter-in-law,
Florence B. Taylor

Next - 5/27/43 - Craig Seasholes

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