My dear friends:
Mr. Walker has always given space in his paper - freely and gladly - for worthy tributes to worthy citizens, usually after the deserving ones have departed this life. I like to give my flowers to the living. May I pay tribute to my life-long friend, Mr. Daniel Kennedy? He has suffered so long and so acutely - without complaint - that he deserves a choice "bouquet." This letter is not a burst of emotion. I have wanted to write this ever since I visited him last summer. But there is a natural reluctance about "wearing your heart on your sleeve." However, the urge has overcome the feeling of reticence; and I am going to try to pay off a small portion of my long-standing debt. I have always believed in the efficacy of prayer, ever since I prayed - most earnestly - that some children would come to live in the brick house at the crossroads (where Mr. and Mrs. Will Hudson live now). The Hobaugh family, who had been living there for some time, was moving away - much to my relief, for Miss Minnie, my teacher at No. 4 school, "knew" too much. It was such an easy matter for her to slip down the road and tell Aunt Caroline of my latest escapade. I believe she actually came only once; but it was to reveal the latest outrage; to give my status - as the most mischievous, therefore the most troublesome child in the whole school; and to state, oh, but definitely, that my extracurricular activities would have to be curtailed. My beloved foster-mother pondered deeply over reformatory measures, and decided to appeal to my reason. I had always wanted to be a school teacher, and now, at the mature age of eight-and-a-half, that was my definite goal. So, Aunt Caroline took me into solemn conference, and said, "Florence, if you've given Miss Hobaugh trouble, it will all come back to you when you are a teacher." (Pupils of Room No. 4 - 1916-17 please note! No, come to think of it, you'd better not read this at all). I digested this idea of Aunt Caroline's pretty thoroughly, and then replied, "My, but Miss Hobaugh must have been a naughty little girl!"
Only maturity can bring full appreciation of her as a fine, conscientious teacher, who put good literature into my hands, and unforgettable songs into my heart. All this seems beside the point, but the foregoing experience will help you understand more fully how grateful I was to Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy for choosing the red brick as their new home, and bringing a whole flock of girls - two of them near my age. It was a great day when Mr. Kennedy brought his team to work in the fields adjoining our yard, and two shy little girls, trailing him, came edging over to our fence. I dare say I met Martha and Eva more than halfway - I was so hungry for youthful companionship.
Whenever our problems became too weighty for juvenile minds, Mr. Kennedy was the high tribunal of justice; justice tempered always with kindness. He never let us down. Many things about this family fascinated me. First, the tiny baby - a late comer - whom Eva called "Poil"; then the beautiful white horses, which, when hitched to the family surrey on Sabbath Day, were the last words in elegance. One of these horses had a baby colt every spring. That was an astounding thing to me. None of our horses had baby colts. Then I was impressed by the amazing industry of that household. Everybody - except my playmates and Baby Pearl - worked like beavers. Yet there was never any quarrelling. It was grand team-work; "One for all; and all for one." And oh, the gay times in the evenings! Endless games of Flinch and Pig, and Snap! and the never-failing Hide and Seek. I loved being there, and Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy seemed to delight in all their children's pleasures. They had innate courtesy toward a guest - be that guest a daily pest. Mr. Kennedy always respected the questions and opinions of little children; and in his graciousness to his own family - and to all comers - I consider him a true nobleman. Despite annoyances that proximity of properties, weak fences, unruly cattle, etc., can bring, Mr. Kennedy was considerate and tactful, even in his annoyance. Cousin Ellis regarded him as a fine neighbor and a loyal friend. Whatever may be Mr. Kennedy's faults (I am not aware of any), he has fulfilled the supreme law, "Love the Lord thy God ... and thy neighbor as thyself." He has gone through the refining fire this past year - and has come out, pure gold. God bless him.
Sincerely, Florence B. Taylor
Next - 3/9/39 - America. D.A.R. Flu.
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