As election day draws near, our country is at war. The Republicans and the Democrats are engaged in a battle royal. All Europe is in a turmoil; so is the Far East. So it seems as if the whole world is either fighting or suffering defeat. I wanted to write about H.V. Kaltenborn's address here in Cleveland, but today I cannot get my mind away from that newly-made grave in Ridge View cemetery, and the dear body laid there - a victim of the only enemy she ever had - cancer. I am speaking of Kathryn Henderson, whose passing reminds us of what an important place she filled. I use the word "filled" advisedly, for she fulfilled, in generous measure, her every obligation, as wife, mother, neighbor, friend, citizen, and Christian in its fullest meaning. I had the honor of standing by her side when she and John were married, twenty-six years ago. It was the simplest, quietest wedding ceremony I ever attended, but it turned out about the best. There was one couple that lived up, in spirit, to all vows they took on their wedding day. During all the happy hours I spent in their home I never heard one cross or unkind word; no quarreling among the children; no word of impatience from that mother of seven. Kathryn had the sweetest disposition of any mother I ever knew. Yet you knew exactly where she stood in matters of honor and obligation to her Maker. Completely unselfish, she welcomed the Taylor children - and many others - because, as she put it, it meant a little "vacation" for her children. She and John numbered among their children not only their own flesh-and-blood but all who came to live with them as helpers. Kathryn wrote of how wonderful these other "children" (now grown, with homes of their own) had been to her in her illness. The final test of Kathryn's spiritual timber came in her lingering illness. There was never a word of complaint in her letters and cards; only marvelous appreciation of what her family was doing for her, and of the kindness of neighbors. She loved flowers so, and mentioned these love-offerings in nearly every letter or card. On her last card, written Sept. 9th, (which I shall always keep) she writes: "Just wish you could see my flowers; glads, roses, great big dahlias, and hydrangeas. They are all beautiful." And so was her life. In her gentle heart there was no guile. May her spirit linger always, to soothe and comfort her bereaved family. Because of a number of inquiries, I think it best to tell you that my other friend, "Betty," was released from her suffering on Sept. 28. Heaven must indeed be a lovely place - with her and Kathryn there. ***
And now just a word about H.V. Kaltenborn, his predictions, and his admonition. On the speaker's platform Mr. Kaltenborn is completely charming. He has a grand sense of humor; his voice never loses that crispness that his rapid and vital war news, over the radio, has made him the world's champion radio news analyst. He read some of his "fan mail," some of which was far from complimentary. As for his forecasts, he predicts that, soon after the election, the U.S. will establish naval bases in the Far East - in Singapore, Dutch East Indies, and other points, to assure the supremacy of our Pacific as well as Atlantic navy. He also predicts that the war in Europe will end with an internal explosion in Germany. This may not happen for another two years; but there is internal dissention in Germany. He describes Hitler as an egomaniac. From Kaltenborn's description (for he interviewed Hitler, or tried to, but could only get in a word when Hitler was out of breath) I wouldn't be surprised if Hitler's nervous system would "blow up" one of these days. In the question-and-answer period following Mr. Kaltenborn's lecture, many interesting questions were asked - most of them about the election. Mr. K. would make no predictions there. He did say that the choice of President is not so vital as the spirit of unity among the people of these United States. He feels very strongly that we should all pull together, regardless of party. He said we can't afford to have dissention in our country. His parting words were, "Be, first of all, an American."
So, fellow-citizens, let us pledge ourselves to be good Americans, no matter who wins next Tuesday.
Florence B. Taylor
Next -11/28/40 - The play, "There shall be no Night"