BY-WAYS - - January 11, 1945 - Resolved... ." Good Neighbor - Mabel Woodruff



To write to someone in the Service each day; To exercise faith, and make it grow strong -
To put all my gripings and groanings away. To carry a faltering comrade along.
To shell out the coupons in wholehearted glee - To help heal the heartbreaks. For unfathomed joy
(Each coupon a thread in the Peace tapestry). Adopt and restore at least one wounded boy.
To move to the battle-front each night and day. To remember, though tyrants have their little day,
To use my best weapons - and then kneel and pray. That Jesus, the crucified Christ, lives always.

Does the above sound egotistic? - as if I would impress you with the big things I'm going to do in the coming year? Such is not meant to be. It is just one person's ideal, toward which to strive. I may set it down on paper, but there will be scores of my readers that have more stamina, courage, vitality, perseverance, and vision - to see it through. In a way we must all be egotistic if we are to win this war and build a lasting Peace structure. Everyone must feel that the winning of the war depends on him. That sense of importance, multiplied by 95 million (leaving out the babies and morons) - oh, what it could do!

How many of you listen to "Breakfast at Sardi's" - and that lovable master of ceremonies, Tom Brenneman? His program is broadcast five days a week, at 10 A.M., over the Blue Network (850 kilocycles) from Sardi's restaurant in Hollywood. It consists of a salute to the Service men and women, a wishing ring ceremony, an interview with the oldest guest there, and the presentation of an orchid to her, and, finally, the reading of a letter from someone nominating his or her candidate for a "good neighbor" - the best and kindest neighbor or benefactor in that community. An Armroy orchid is sent air express to that deserving person. Christmas Day the "good neighbor" letter described the kind deeds of a Cleveland woman. And thereby hangs a tale. In the spring of 1917 Mabel Woodruff was a carefree young woman, but with the heritage of philanthropic urges. Her older brother was the Taylor family's minister. He it was who "stood by" Mother Taylor when she knew she was going blind, and reasoned with her thus when she scorned any aid from her kindly neighbors: "Mrs. Taylor, do you think you have a monopoly on kindness?" His younger sister Mabel was a special friend of Virgil's twin sister, Phillippa, and was her bridesmaid in the pretty home wedding in the spring of 1917. War had just been declared. Mabel's younger brother enlisted, fought on the battle-fields of France, and came home a physical and mental wreck. A deep love for her brother gave Mabel Woodruff the tremendous urge that has made her a great woman today. Determined to help her brother, she took up the study of psychiatry. She not only nursed him back to health, but now owns in partnership, and runs two sanitariums for the mentally ill - one in the city, and another, a lovely place, nestled in the peaceful woods of our Chagrin River Valley. Miss Woodruff's life has been so completely full that she has had no time to think of marrying. Her social life has been limited indeed. But she did manage to come to Phillippa's and Alfred's silver wedding celebration. It was there that I met her. Titian-haired, blue-eyed, alert, sincere, she has not one ounce of flabbiness in her body or mind. I fastened myself to her side like a leech - so magnetized was I by her quiet power and gift of understanding. That very night I sought her aid for a dear friend of mine and her husband, who was gassed and shell-shocked in the last war. She took the keenest interest, and had me contact her later for specific advice. She had at her finger tips the names of two outstanding psychiatrists in the South, where this husband was on an extended architectural project. Here was a woman completely free of all mercenary considerations - eager to help a fellow-man. She had that perfect combination of a hard head and a soft heart. And now comes a lovely orchid in recognition of a long series of kind deeds. To my everlasting regret I missed that broadcast - but Mother and Phillippa and all that household heard it, and were thrilled "to pieces." It seems that Miss Woodruff has "adopted" the crew of a ship - and has sent them two Victrolas, countless records, over 400 books, all kinds of sports gear and equipment. And now for this Christmas, she sent about 180 Christmas boxes full of goodies and little things dear to a sailor's heart. Does she deserve that orchid? I would like to know how she received it. I have a hunch that, in a quiet moment she shed a tear, whispered a prayer, drank in all the orchid's exquisite beauty - and then went on and pinned it on some poor, beauty-starved soul. I'll find out for you.

Please help me, dear friends keep my New Year's resolutions. What are yours? With love and best wishes for a happier New Year.

Your friend,
Florence B. Taylor
1337 Plainfield Rd., So. Euclid, 21, Ohio

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