BY WAYS - There will always be a Christmas. The Bondaliers. Helen Hayes.


There will always be a Christmas in the hearts of little children -
And, since childhood is eternal, we are all but children grown,
Thrilling to the Manger story and the journey of the Wise Men,
Mindful that the God of stars is keeping watch above His own.
There will always be a Christmas - and, pray soon, the fruits of Christmas:
Peace on Earth - Good-will - and Freedom - and the dignity of man;
Laughter of all little children; faith and worship; joyous giving;
All that men have lived and died for since our Christmases began.

Last week's column, mailed out Saturday, apparently did not reach the Press office in time. Perhaps it is just as well, as it wasn't a very good letter. I hadn't caught the full Christmas spirit. If I sound a little bedraggled right now, it's because the Christmas spirit has caught me in its lovely but inescapable meshes, and is dragging me right along - willy-nilly. Why do we try to write to everybody just at Christmas, and plan the loveliest programs just at Christmas, and do all the nice things for people that we should be doing the whole year through? No wonder Santa Claus has a breakdown, and never reappears until two or three weeks before the next Christmas.

In my letter I told about the nice party arranged for the bondaliers - out at our Brush High School. But your banquet sounded so much better than our party that I was glad the two stories did not appear in the same issue. I mean, yours was more dignified and uplifting (and more filling, as we had just apple pie a la mode - but a la sumptuous). Whereas your dignitaries made speeches, ours were called upon to ride hobby-horses - funny little trick mechanisms, that spilled the pompous mayors - four of them - all over the place. We had some splendid entertainment, furnished by young vaudeville artists. They are sweet and wholesome, talented young people who give their talent - for no pay - to the hospitals, canteens, groups of weary war-workers coming out of the swing shift - and now to us bondadiers. The women of the Lyndhurst Community Church baked the pies. Everybody was giving something away. That's one thing this war has taught us.

Now, the highlight of this past week was something not on the regular schedule. I thought I was too busy to even consider it. But I had an errand downtown last Wednesday afternoon. As I was about to get off the streetcar, a woman asked the conductor, "Is this the stop nearest the Hanna theater?" The Hanna! HELEN HAYES! Could I spare the time for the matinee? And could I get a seat? I seized Time by the forelock, dispatched my errand, dashed up to the Hanna, found one good aisle seat unclaimed up in the least expensive section. The play had started - but it didn't matter. There was HELEN HAYES' I had waited twenty years - to see her in the flesh. Folks, if Helen Hayes and her cast should play "Harriet" in Pittsburgh, drop everything, and go see it. "Harriet" is the story of Harriet Beecher Stowe, and how she came to write "Uncle Tom's Cabin" The play is well written, and reveals a most lovable and admirable character in Harriet. Helen Hayes gives her warmth and sweetness that keeps a lump in your throat half the time - with a touch to the risibles at the same time. This play brings back to you the poignant fact the mothers and fathers of another era suffered the pangs of seeing their boys go to war, and reading, all too frequently, that message that shuts out the sun - just as the parents of today are doing. Helen Hayes is the most completely natural great actress I have ever watched and listened to. Diminutive in figure, she can draw herself up to majestic heights. Her beautiful little hands are her best "supporting cast." She can dismiss a bad situation, or welcome a new inspiration with a slip of her tiny hand. The crowning scene is, of course, the last, where she stands on an improvised dais by the front door of her drawing room, where the crowd can see her - the crowd that has come to acclaim her and the power of her book to banish slavery in this country. There she stood, in her exquisite silk dress, with its hoop skirt, and made a magnificent speech, epitomizing all her struggles and heartaches - and those of her fellow-beings in the immortal words of St. Paul: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course; I have kept the faith." At that point she and her admiring fellow-citizens began to sing, "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord...," as the curtain came slowly down. And now the curtain must come down on this narrative - but not before I send best wishes for a Happy Christmas - a hopeful Christmas - of better things to come.

Affectionately yours,

Florence B. Taylor
1337 Plainfield Rd.,
South Euclid, 21, Ohio

Next - 1/11/45 - Resolved... ." Good Neighbor - Mabel Woodruff

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