BY-WAYS - 5/27/48 - A New Secretary - Charlie

Now comes a new era in authorship. At long last I have a private secretary. This secretary is available only every other week end. His presence will be sadly missed next column-day. The aforesaid secretary goes to Kent State University when he is not working for me. Typing being one of his minor studies this quarter, he really needs the practice. ***

Last week I left you up on the third floor of our antique shop, and I really must bring you down before the hot weather sets in. I mentioned the pink luster china which I handled as carefully as new-born butterflies. Even so, one of the precious saucers fell apart in my hands. That may not seem to you to be a major catastrophe. But you don't know Dr. Phillips and his fetish about his rare china and other antiques. One day a valuable figurine was discovered on a precarious window ledge. His agitation befitted a near-calamity. I told him he was like Rachel. "Who's Rachel?" said this servant of the Lord. "Jacob's second wife. Don't you remember how she loved her household gods and hated to give them up?" The master mused. "Rachel and I. Our household gods. That would make good material for a sermon." Now he speaks gently if anything is broken, but his grief is none-the-less keen. You must remember that the pink luster china, for instance, has been gathered from all parts of the world and is irreplaceable. I haven't had the courage to tell him about the gold-rimmed crystal goblet or the dainty oil lamp chimney that the cleaning woman broke last week (she was supposed to clean the rug and scrub the floors up there, but she chose the more delicate tasks). In the three rooms on the third floor we counted eight oil lamps, all of beautiful design, suitable for the genteel parlor of fifty years ago. Most of them are wired for up-to-date lighting, but still carry the old time charm. The large room would be a little girl's heaven, for there are many pieces of furniture in miniature - doll cradle, doll chest, tiny chairs and tables, besides little rockers and couch for the little girl herself. There is a cobbler's bench that is at least a hundred years old. There is a strange contraption that looks like a hobby-horse, except that it has no head. The vertical paddles, that closely resemble the neck of a horse, are controlled by a foot treadle, and were used in the old days to separate the flax. There is also a flax-winder. Of course we have a spinning-wheel, but it has a place of honor in the dining room. The walls are almost covered with valuable prints and lithographs, most of the latter coming from the famous New York firm, Currier & Ives. There are prints from Audobon's own drawings of birds. Come to think of it, there are a number of curious cabinets and gadgets, the name or use of which I cannot tell you. But I'll find out later. Every one of these antiques is in perfect condition. And, somehow, no part of this house seems cluttered.

I've talked so much about these inanimate things. Yet they are a part of a very lively and up-to-date personality. Next week I must tell you about the fascinating person who owns them. Enough for now. My good secretary and I bid you adieu for this week. (This little bit of blarney is in lieu of the usual monetary consideration).

Faithfully yours,
Florence B. Taylor (and Chuck)

Next - 6/10/48 - Charlie's Column - All about Kent State Univ.
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