BY-WAYS - 5/20/48 - More on the Curiosity Shoppe - May 15, 1949.

Greetings, my friends!

As I look out upon the fading glory of our tulip bed, I am wondering what flowers are blooming in your gardens - in my beautiful Pennsylvania - in Delaware, New York, District of Columbia, in Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, California, in Washington and Illinois. One needs only to contemplate the marvels of Nature and her sheer beauty to believe in a Supreme Being and to worship Him. Four dear old ladies checked in at the "Y" last night, who are on another pilgrimage - just to survey the wonders of this country. Of course they are lucky to have the "do-re-mi," but they are getting so much fun out of life. I am sure they would stop their car, get out and drink in the beauty of a "cowslip by a river's brim." Out in Los Angeles, in Clifton's beautiful and unique restaurants (gorgeous flowers, ferns, palms, rock gardens, waterfalls, etc.) a little sign by the cashier's window says, "We also need food for the soul." And there you get it, free of charge. "God knows that we need daily food for the soul, and He supplies it lavishly. Daily He leads us to the Fountain of the Water of Life, but He cannot make us drink. That we must do ourselves. ***

Now, shall we continue our tour through this unique Curiosity Shop that is our home? Let's skip up to the third floor, where I was washing pink luster china this morning. The third floor is Dr. Phillips' "holy of holies," and Virgil and I would not dream of trespassing until "the master" came home from Florida. It is there that the has his study, his library, his most prized antiques. In fact, that was his private apartment when the dear old brother and sister, now deceased, shared this home. What a story I could tell you of this once-wealthy family! The dear old bachelor who shared this home until his death four months ago was once at the head of Cleveland's most famous catering firm. He and his favorite sister, a spinster, went abroad nearly every summer, took their nieces with them, educated them in the best schools in Europe. I would be proud to mention "dear old John's" full name, for he was everything that was fine and noble and loving-hearted. But I must drag in the greedy nieces, and I might be sued for libel. "Dear old John," as Dr. Phillips invariably calls him, owned a very beautiful home in Shaker Heights, where his sister presided as gracious hostess. When Dr. Phillips came to Cleveland as our pastor in 1928, a rare friendship between these two bachelors, one old, one young, was formed. After five years of living in a hotel, Dr. Phillips was persuaded to make his home with "John" and his sister. But John, the generous gracious one, was not a good business man. He refused to adulterate his famous ice-cream. It had to be pure cream. He could not meet the cheap competition. The business dwindled to nothing. He finally lost his beautiful home, and had only his fine furniture left. Dr. Phillips conceived the idea of renting this big house, and bringing John and Charlotte in with him. They lived here, rent free, but furnished the food, much as we do. John finally had to mortgage the furniture and expensive dishes - in order to be clothed and fed. At a Church School officers' and superintendents' meeting here about five years ago I got a "close-up" of John, the gallant host and his frail little sister, whose mind was already slipping fast. But Dr. Phillips took care of them to the end. I learned that, not from him, but from members of our church. "Dear old John," who loved the ground our pastor walked on, "gave everything" to him. But, as Dr. P. said, it was not his to give. And now the well-to-do mortgage-holder and the grasping nieces are forming an endless procession through this house, grabbing off what they want. And only one, the one who did not get to Europe, shows any sentiment about the family pictures, journals, and those priceless things of the spirit.

John's mahogany four-poster bed is being taken right out from under us, as well as the beautiful wardrobe, dresser, desk, and drop-leaf table. But we have plenty more to fall back on, as there are three other bedrooms, completely equipped. I wonder what our red-blooded sons thought as they crawled into a Sheraton Field bed, 150 years old, with its curved canopy frame, covered with a white crocheted canopy, done by a dear old lady of our church, another ardent admirer of Dr. Phillips. Well ... I haven't told you YET about that third floor. But, you see, human beings always wedge their way in and take up all the space.

Faithfully yours,
Florence B. Taylor

Next - 5/27/48 - A New Secretary - Charlie
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