BY-WAYS - 2/3/44 - Planning the trip to California. Ticker acting up

Greetings, friends!

This is an awful hour of the night to be sending greetings - for I hope you are all fast asleep - at 2:30 A.M. But I started in at 9, and now I'm wide awake as a night owl. So afraid am I of the "column's" being late again that I must get it off today. I haven't made a very good start in the new year. There was a terrible let-down after the moving orgy (although Estelle carried the main burden of packing and moving). But now I will really have something to "write home about" - and I expect to write volumes. You see, I've caught the moving bug and so I'm going to start moving westward - Monday morning. It's all Knox's fault. Or partly Ina's. With a sister's solicitude she done writ and told him how the chief operator in the plant of mine - the ticker - had gone on a strike (for shame! In war time!). So Knox has practically guaranteed that if I come out there, he'll put the old so-and-so to work - on a full-time basis. And out of his past successes I have implicit faith in his ability to do that very thing. It all seems like a wonderful dream. And yet it doesn't seem right for one member of a family to have such a great adventure, and the others kept chained to mundane tasks. (At least home-work for school seems very mundane, in the eyes of two boys that I know). But Virgil, Jr., who has just passed his 18th birthday, will be through High School in four months, and ready for a new adventure. At my request the Draft Board classified him immediately, for I didn't want to be away, should he be called at once. He is in 2-A, which means a deferment until graduation. How one's emotions get all mixed up! We are grateful that he can finish High School. And yet it seems wicked to want to hold your own child back a single day, when so many grand young men have paid the supreme sacrifice, and those incomparable heroes of Bataan and Corregidor have suffered unspeakable torture at the hands of those creatures that we call human. They're not human; they are inhuman. Oh, that war machine must be smashed! It must be obliterated from the earth. ****

Now it is Saturday afternoon - and the big suit-case is checked to Chicago. The first step in the realization that I am actually going to California! Pinch me, somebody. It's all a dream. They may have to stick me in the baggage car on the El Capitan - the streamlined coach, that dashes from Chicago to Los Angeles in 39 hours, there are no reservations before Feb. 12th - and that one is a brand-new cancellation. But I can't wait that long. I want to get straightened out, and get back for seed-planting for the wonderful Victory garden we are to have this year. So I'll take my chance in Chicago. Will write you enroute. Speaking of the baggage car reminds me of one more anecdote about King Eldoras, the ancient landlord of most of Lilac Road. The last time he came to collect the rent, Estelle and I were almost in tears over his pathetic portrayal of his wife's longing for Florida. She has been in poor health the last two years. "If anything should happen to her, I wouldn't want to leave her in the white sands of Florida" he soliloquized. "But if that is where she longs to be in her old age, why don't you take her there?" I demurred. "If anything happens, you can always bring her back." He caught my meaning, "Yes," he agreed, with a sudden nod of satisfaction. "That's right. It wouldn't cost any more to bring her back that way than if she was alive."

The sudden switch to mercenary considerations just about wrecked our risibles. Mr. T. just has to think in terms of money. Some time ago in telling me about his courtship and marriage, he confided, "I cherish my wife just like a gold nugget." In late summer, when nearly every housewife on Lilac Road had hostessed the Block meetings, I announced quite frankly that I would be ashamed to invite them to our house until we got it Kem-toned. "Hm-M." hummed a sympathetic home owner, in reply - "A Townsend house, I take it." (Only Townsend is not the name). In desperation, Estelle and the men folks set to work in the fall, and did most of the house over. We left the stairway, leading from the living-room upstairs - just for contrast - to shame Mr. T. and make our guests aware of the glorious transformation. For six weeks we just looked and marvelled and sighed over the clean peach walls and and white ceiling, and the brilliant reflection of the lights. (Virgil likes a well-lighted house).

When we moved to friendly Lilac Road, I always dreamed a fancy dream of having all the women-folks at our house for some kind of jam session. They made me a "block-head," as Virgil calls it, in November; on the evening of Pearl Harbor day my dream came true. We had a great time. More little projects came along - for which we wanted to contribute money. Some women hurried home for more money. The enthusiasm ran to fever pitch. All the young folks were to be organized into special groups. We were really solidly united in our efforts... and then we found it best to come to Plainfield Road. But isn't that just the way life is; We just learn how to get along with other people; we just get our house in order, when we have to move on to a new life. Oh, I wanted to tell you many things about the lovely, cozy home here. But now it is time for Saturday's last mail - and I must close.

Florence B. Taylor.
220 W. Broadway, Glendale, Calif.
c/o Dr. J.K. Gilkerson

Next - 2/10/44 - Enroute - South of Salt Lake City

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