BY-WAYS -12/25/48 - Thoughts of Christmas. At the "Y"

Jingle, bells! Jingle bells! Jingle all the way - from here to Saltsburg - and then east and west and north and south - and all along the way. Santa Claus is coming to town! It's strange how that intangible something inside of you sets you to throbbing - and wanting to reach out to every one of your friends - to wish him well. Can it be that the song of the choir of angels above the hills of Judea long, long ago is still in the air, and that, somehow, our hearts tune in at Christmastime? Oh, yes, the song is still there - for every "receiving station" that can adjust its reception center to the right wave length. Oh, let's tune in - and LISTEN! This is a strange hour of the day to be writing about Christmas, and to be all pepped up about it. I am down at the Y.W.C.A., on the "graveyard shift," which starts at midnight. Perhaps it was the lovely red "candle" burning in every window on the first floor - for the first time this year - that set aglow that old Christmas spirit. Or perhaps that first Christmas card, that came today from Uncle Sam and Aunt Annie Smith - 'way out in Long Beach, with whom we spent Christmas last year. Or perhaps it is the gay red-and-silver greeting card on the door of every permanent guest here. Or is it just "in the air"? The only sounds that I hear now are the baritone and bull-frog voices of Fred, the night watchman, and Mr. Swain, whom Fred is breaking in as relief man. No drama there. But you may be sure that drama is not dead in this building; it is only asleep.... There! What did I tell you? Just at this point (at 6 a.m.) Mrs. Schultz - our "chief of staff" in the cafeteria - and one of my very favorite people came in. I had a 'phone call for her from the head of the cafeteria, from the latter's home. Mrs. S. was puzzled; then, as the telephone conversation progressed, all the jolly briskness went out of her. One of her helpers in the cafeteria was caught stealing money yesterday. That is sordid drama. On the brighter side is the exciting news that Mlle. Suzanne Bertillion, spy supreme, heroine of the French wartime underground, has a reservation in our "celebrity room" - No. 807. Niece of the famous Alphonse Bertillion, inventor of anthropometry the science of measuring the human body, better known as the inventor, or discoverer, of finger printing, Miss Bertillion is famous in her own right. She probably did more than any other woman to thwart the Gestapo, and effect the rescue of Jewish refugees and Allied prisoners. How I wish I might hear her speak!....

Now it is eight days later - and much has happened since then. I wish I had recalled the last letter to the Press. It was somehow delayed; and it must sound silly now - and incongruous with Christmas. At least I hope this letter will reach you in time for Christmas Just that I may send love and good wishes for Christmas. And I beg of you all to read Margaret Lee Runbeck's gentle sermonette in the December issue of the Christian Herald, "The Christmas Within." She reminds us that in the rush and splurge of the Yuletide we shall "prepare the Inn, but neglect the Manger." Oh, may our hearts prepare Him room!

With heartiest wishes for all of you, my dear readers, that you may have a Happy Christmas, I am,

Affectionately yours,
Florence B. Taylor
2479 Queenston Road,
Cleveland Hts., 18, Ohio.

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