BY-WAYS - 10/14/43 - Clifford and Nancy Boak Erikson - October 7, 1943

Suppose we gather up the loose ends this week; correct some errors, complete old columns, and also add a sequel to a story of last month. Last week I used my pen instead of the typewriter. (Estelle uses the typewriter a great deal more than I do these days. Right now she is typing the manuscript of a book our minister, Dr. Phillips, is writing.) Well, let's blame it on my poor penmanship - but, somehow, the word "encouraging" turned out in print as "managing." And thus the McQuiston sisters, instead of being complimented, were accused of "managing" others. And who wants to be managed! Then, "stumps" became "stamps" - which hardly makes sense. Better luck next time. Although I filled the column to overflowing last week, I did not quite finish it. I just want to add two items, because of their importance. Mrs. McQuiston was whole-heartedly interested in the Ladies' Aid Society. And you recall - from the Centennial story of the Saltsburg Methodist Church - what a marvelous job the Ladies' Aid did in helping pay off the debt of that church. In World War I Mrs. McQuiston made her children sit up and take notice by going out and selling Liberty Bonds. She wanted to help fight to preserve that freedom that her grandfather and uncle helped establish in the Revolutionary War.

Now for a happy sequel to a story of last month. It was about Nancy Boak Erikson, the daughter of my hosts last August. You remember that she was sewing tiny garments - little garments in blue - for a boy; for "Cliff," her Flight Commander husband, and all the boys in the outfit were counting on a boy. They named him "Pedro" (pronounced "Paydrow") after a great favorite of theirs. Well - "Pedro" arrived on the last day of September, and according to Grandfather Boak, is a perfect specimen of manhood in miniature. The Atlantic cable must have quivered with the glad news. And a certain young father over in North Africa must be nearly beside himself with mingled emotions: ecstasy over having a son, and torment over not being able to see him for awhile. When Nancy was in her second year in Flora Stone Mather college (right here at home), she met Clifford Erikson in quite unorthodox fashion. She went into a restaurant near the college campus for her noonday meal. She paused, inside the door, looking for a vacant chair - and perhaps a beckoning signal from some old crony. This tall, blond, handsome young Swede, whom she had never seen before, came up to her, and said, "You're just the girl I've been looking for. Will you have lunch with me?" Nancy laughed that gay, bubbling laughter of hers - and acquiesced. She didn't take him seriously. He was frightfully young - only nineteen - while she was a very mature, self-confident woman of twenty. Nancy isn't pretty - but she's sweet. Her coal-black hair is lovely, but rather course features crowd her blue eyes, and make them small. But Nancy has such a freshness and spontaneous generosity in her make-up that her personality soon outshines all surface beauty. Cliff knew - when she entered that room - that she was his woman. It seems that a Swede considers marriage very seriously, gives a lot of thought to it, and when his dream girl comes along, he declares himself, then sets out to win her affections. Nancy couldn't dream of taking him seriously. He was only a boy - in his first year in college. She dated other boys - and plenty! There is no subtle coquetry about Nancy, but such a wholesome comradeship and gayety that I'm sure she never lacked for escorts and friends. But Cliff refused to look at another woman. He hung on doggedly for four years. He quit college in the middle of his third year - to go into business with his father, in order that he might feather that nest for Nancy. But she was disappointed in him. The Boaks had always set great store by a college education, and diplomas. However, no threats or pleas on her part could change his mind. Those Swedes have a stubborn determination all their own. Then the war came long - and Cliff felt that he should enlist. Nancy told him that if he would enter Officers' Training School, and make something of himself in this war, then she would marry him. (Just like a woman. She must manage him somewhere along the line.) In the meantime she received her bachelor's degree here, and attended the University of Mexico for a year. Cliff plunged into his new studies and rigid regimen with all the zeal shown in courting Nancy. He did distinguish himself in every way. Nancy went out to California and married him last October. Obviously she has never regretted it. The Swedes have such a wholesome, Heaven-has-truly-blest-us attitude toward parenthood. As soon as he knew that Nancy was to experience the miracle of motherhood, he told all the boys. They were so pleased and so honored by being taken into the happy young couple's confidence that they each became a self-appointed godfather. No doubt all kinds of gifts and gadgets will be sent to Pedro. Sometime, before snow flies, I must go out to see him - and report to you. In the meantime, let's pour all we have into the Victory pot - and bring Cliff and all the rest of these wonderful men home soon. ***

You remember how a large green pea fell on the head of Henny Penny, and she thought the sky was falling?" Our poor little doggie, Pal, had a worse experience this summer. This was in the early days of his sojourn here, when we kept him pretty much in the kitchen and basement. it was Sunday afternoon. The family was scattered - upstairs and down, but I was nearest to the kitchen, being in the dining room, typing my weekly column. Crash! Clatter! What could be the matter? It didn't sound quite like a tableful of dishes upsetting, yet about as noisy. I rushed out - to find a large section of the ceiling plaster had come down, scaring the wits out of the poor pup, who hid in the farthest corner of the basement. Then we began to speculate about fixing it - for we were sure King Eldoras (our landlord) would never do it. But, bless his stout heart, he did! It took him three months to find a plasterer - and then he hailed this one, passing by. This man said the whole ceiling would have to come down, and be done over again. But Mr. T. survived, and told him to go ahead, dourly reminding him that he wasn't losing any money on the job. This "plaster-man" did such a beautiful and skillful job that I had to comment, and ask him how long he had been at it. "Since I was seven." "But where?" "Over in Seecily. My gran'father, my father, four brothers, one nephew - all plasterers." I just hope our soldier boys didn't have to destroy any of the beautiful work of the Bonadello artists.

And now my family thinks surely the sky is falling, and the world is coming to an end, because I have my column written before the end of the week. Have I bored you? Do write, somebody.

Florence B. Taylor

Next - 10/21/43 - AN ANGEL UP-TO-DATE

BY-WAYS Table of Contents