It is with renewed faith and courage that I begin this weekly letter. Last week no letters came for the Mailbag, and my spirits were lower than a lizard's tail (partly because I missed seeing so many friends on my visit). Then last Wednesday I had to turn, in self-reproach, and say, "Oh, ye of little faith!" For that day a fine letter came, enclosing a splendid poem, that must soon find its way into the Press. Today came another encouraging note, and a fine composition of THE HIGHWAYS OF LIFE AND SOME OF IT'S BY-WAYS. That too, must appear soon. It is interesting to note the different interpretations of Highways and By-Ways. I shan't be too prodigal at first with my newly acquired contributions for I'm going to make sure the Mailbag is full for October and November. To go back a bit - to those letters that came some time ago from old Nowrytown friends: One writer, no longer in Nowrytown, says "We lost everything we had in the 1936 flood; had only a shell of a house left; but we just stuck out our chins - and now we're back on top again." How's that for Spartan courage?
Another dear, delightful letter from one of my very first pupils (a tiny girl - a woman now) contains this cheerful acceptance of life "as is": "Next to going places myself I like to read about people who do. We haven't done much 'going places' this summer. Our Ford isn't what it used to be, and the pocket-book isn't as plump as it could be; so mine has been 'porch-swing traveling.' It does take a little imagination." Speaking of going places cousin Ina, Knox, their daughter and son, respectively, and the Taylor family had the thrill of seeing Niagara Falls a week ago - a new experience for all the young people. Some of them stood in prolonged awe at its grandeur. One couldn't help speculating how much electric power and light could be generated if all that tremendous power could be harnessed. So much of it is lost, just as the vital forces within our own souls are lost, through our own carelessness and neglect. We were quite disappointed in the night illumination that Saturday night. Whether the air and mist were very heavy, or whether the lights were dimmed we cannot say; but the magnificent Horseshoe Falls could be seen only dimly. There was that ominous roar that seemed to portend something dreadful. And, sure enough, two great nations declared war on Germany the next morning. Some of you will think it was wrong to go sightseeing on the Sabbath. In this instance I do not agree with you. Never was I more aware of God's presence and power, nor more moved to solemn contemplation of Him. Truly, as Shakespeare says, there are "books in running brooks, (also in roaring waterfalls) sermons in stones, and good in everything." A certain little girl will never forget this trip to Niagara Falls - for she fell into the river, as she leaned over a flat rock ledge, just a short distance above the falls. My husband and sons were walking along the lower path on Goat Island, right by the water's edge, when they heard a woman's piercing screams - a short distance ahead. They hurried on - and found a man - the rescuer - carrying this child, limp and white, in his arms, and looking for a first aid station. There were conflicting stories, one of which was that the father jumped in to the water and became wedged between two rocks, and that this man had to rescue father and daughter (the latter six or eight years old). The screams were that of the mother, who had two little sons in tow. When Ina and I came along the same path a few minutes later, an excited and quite unnerved group of people stood, discussing the near-tragedy.
Labor Day week-end was the worst possible time to visit the Falls. The vast crowds caused unending delays and sky-high prices. The boys did so want to go into the Cave of the Winds and get drenched in the mist. But they found it meant a long, long wait and a heavy fee; so they contented themselves with watching the Falls from the lower level - the river beach. We were quite annoyed with the Canadian guards on the Peace bridge, who tried to force Canadian money (at a 12-1/2% discount) upon us in change for a pretty high bridge toll. The power-house and all Canadian buildings were closed and guarded, on account of the war. Another time we must take our children for a longer stay - and not on a holiday.
Now, I must close and catch the last mail.
Florence B. Taylor,
4501 Lilac Road,
South Euclid, Ohio.
P.S. - How interesting the last Press is! - with it letters from Maine, Oklahoma and California.
Next - 10/1/39 - Letterwriting .... THE MAIL BAG.
By Ways Table of Contents