BY-WAYS - 6/8/44 - "Liberty Heights." Virgil Jr's Graduation

DIARY: Sunday, May 28

The Juniors are all a-twitter over costumes and learning their parts for Children's Day (June 11th). They are to enact Biblical scenes, with the idea of creating new interest in the reading of the Bible. The only one who is sure not to muff his lines is Moses in the bulrushes (a doll). The same staff of officers and wonderful teachers - except one teacher, who lives too far away - is committed to another year of "labor of love" in the Junior department. Now a part of our daily prayer must be, "Lord, keep us from growing stale."

Monday - The High School graduates have a free day. No school. "Mother I'm going to work in the garden all day," announces Virgil Jr., who has acquired a real zest for gardening. But about 11 of his pals come by, and want him to go swimming. Good-bye, Garden. I'll see you tomorrow.

Memorial Day - A day when our hearts are too full for utterance. The Memorial list grows so frighteningly long. In vain I tried to compose a tribute to those who gave their all for us. But a fitting tribute is far beyond my poor pen., I can only jot down some thoughts that come to me:

Liberty Heights on Memorial Day

"Believest thou in the Lord Jesus Christ?"
The true affirmative is the passport to Heaven.
Believest thou in Liberty?
The unrecanting "Yes" is the master key to the golden gate that opens to Liberty Heights -
the loftiest - and loveliest place in all Heaven.
Only the brave and true may enter here.
"He that findeth his life shall lose it;
He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."
Nathan Hale and all his shining company have gone forth in their glowing prime -
to take an option on the garden spot of Heaven.
Only the worthy may join them.
We honor our departed heroes on Memorial Day.
God - Author of Liberty - honors them through all eternite.

Wednesday - Graduation Day at Charles F. Brush High School - another milestone along earth's highway. The Victory theme and color schemes were grand. The boys wore blue (I call it Victory Blue) caps and gowns. The girls wore white caps and gowns, and carried red roses. Just to look at that assemblage - the blend of strength and gentleness, of gayety and loyalty, puts a lump in your throat. So many of the boys are already assigned to their places in the armed forces. As each name was called, to receive his or her diploma, the position of each inductee was announced - to roof-raising applause. To Virgil's regret (actually painful at the time) he was rejected on account of his eyes. Otherwise he is physically perfect. With glasses, his sight is better than normal. But they don't test that way. A year ago he tried to enlist in the navy, but they turned him down. We thought the army wouldn't be so strict - especially at this time. There are so many jobs. But, as the navy man said, in easing the disappointment for Virgil a year ago, "My boy, you can serve your country just as well in civilian life." As you know, his father and I would have been so proud ... too proud, I guess.

So many have asked about Tommy - Estelle's husband. I haven't written about Tommy because, so far, he hasn't been able to contribute much to the war effort. He went to England with his contingent last August. Due to the effects of the yellow jaundice he was put on limited service, and - of all things - K.P. duty - peeling spuds. If you can imagine an intrepid pilot of airplanes and rider of motorcycles chained to the "rock pile" - of potatoes, then you can imagine his misery. finally, at his request, they made him a dispatch rider - on his first love, the motorcycle. These dispatch riders always travel in pairs, due to the value of their dispatches. Something went wrong with the other fellow's motorcycle. Tom turned to look, and in that moment he collided with an army truck. His right hand was smashed, his arm and wrist broken. That was January 4. He is still in the hospital. Osteomylitis (fancy for bone infection) finally set in, and the middle finger had to be amputated. But - when you think of the boys that have been through hell, and have come out with their whole bodies shattered - and minds, too, this thing takes on infinitesimal proportions.

Now the space is filled. And I must wait until next week to tell you about "the man who moves Heaven and earth" and other interesting speakers Virgil and Dad and I heard this Saturday night. Until then, good-bye, and good luck.

Florence B. Taylor

Next - 6/17/44 - More about Robert Le Tourneau

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