BY-WAYS - 12/18/47 - No Use Crying Over Spilt Buttermilk...

Hello, friends!

I send you greetings across the miles. I must confess that I am standing over myself with a whiplash, making myself write the weekly stint. The old ego rises up and rebels against being shunted to the very last page of the Saltsburg Press. Is the old girl slipping? Or are the ads more enticing? Maybe they are - and maybe I'd better get next to myself. Well, just to make the humiliation complete, I'll have to tell you what happened to me the other day. And don't you dare laugh. I had bought a quart carton of buttermilk for my noon lunch at the Y.W.C.A. (We have a dandy cafeteria, but food is high in all restaurants). Of course I drank only one glass of the precious stuff, and instead of leaving the carton for the next day's lunch, I decided to cart it home with me, thinking what nice pancakes it would make for my men-folks. (Chuck was home for Thanksgiving vacation.) But first I must go to the library to return three books of mine, already overdue, and get a book for Chuck's history class report - on the Rise of Prussia during the rule of Frederick the Great. So I pack the buttermilk and a pair of re-heeled shoes in a paper bag, load up the books on the other arm, and board the "Loop" bus headed west. The Y.W.C.A. is 18 blocks east of the square. I set my "impedimenta" on the long seat that faces the aisle, just back of the motorman - so that I could get at my pass in my purse. Glad to be relieved of my burden, I just left them on the seat, and plunked down beside them, as the bus was not filled. About two blocks farther along a reticent lady nearest my seat said, "Pardon me, but there's milk all over your seat" There I was, completely surrounded by buttermilk, and my good brown coat adorned with a new kind of ermine - and in the wrong place. Of course I had to stand up - the cynosure of all eyes. I whispered to the driver my dilemma - and he was very sympathetic. But not a rag nor even a newspaper could he offer. He placed a large cardboard sign over the "Milky Way," so that nobody else would get into it. I looked properly shocked (which I was), as if I were the unfortunate victim of somebody else's stupidity, and started in on a major operation with two tiny handkerchiefs as my sole tools. A kind woman gave me some Kleenex, and another woman scrubbed me off in the back, where I could not reach. It was a hurry up job all the way to the Arcade, where I got off - to scoot through to the library. Of course I had to retrieve my shoes and books, so I grabbed up everything, and got off with all the dignity I could muster. But the buttermilk had spilled into the bag, softened its gentle fiber; the square corner of the carton cut through. When I started up the steps of our beautiful library, there was buttermilk all down the front of my coat - and I was still 'cloudy' in the back. This time I used my brown gloves - to brush off the worst - until I could get to the washroom. When I got home that night, I found some more buttermilk on the shoes I was wearing. What's that song about "Buttermilk Sky?" Well, for me the sky had fallen that day. ***

The work at the "Y" is tremendously interesting. It is so varied that one does not get tired or bored. There is a great deal to learn. I think I told you about having to learn to operate a 15-trunk switch-board. Of course we desk clerks take care of that only from 8 to 8:30 in the morning and from 9:30 to 10:30 at night. The sad part of my job is that I will eventually have to give up my dear little Sunday School class - as I must work every other Sunday. So far I have managed with a substitute. And I have taught them after working from midnight until 8 Sunday morning. But it isn't fair to the children. We have found a lovely teacher for them. But I count it a personal loss - giving them up. There are 206 permanent guests in the Y.W.C.A. and 59 transients. They all pay their room rent at the Residence Desk. So that means considerable bookkeeping and money counting. We at the Residence Desk have nothing to do with the renting of the rooms to the permanent, nor do we keep their records. But we must keep track off the money taken in - and the duplicate receipts. It is our job to register the transients to see that they pay their bills, sort their mail, hand it out to them - and also their keys, which are left at the Residence Desk. We must keep track of all telegrams, special deliveries, small packages. There are many bits of drama - of pathos, of joy, of humor. And we have a screwball now and then to cope with. But it all adds up to mighty fascinating work. Good-by until next week.

Florence B. Taylor
2479 Queenston Rd.,
Cleveland Hts., 18, Oh

Next - 12/25/47 - Thoughts of Christmas. At the "Y"
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