Howdy, folks! Where shall I begin? I really should finish that article on vitamins (especially after visiting the Sapphire Flour Mill), but I have some people to write about - and they are more important. But first, let me clear up two or three errors of mine. In writing of the Miller Laboratories, I meant to say that they are the only makers of vitamin-capsules in Cleveland, and one of two in the U.S. To leave out the word "vitamin" makes the statement absurd. And very soon even the corrected statement will be untrue. I understand that the Upjohn Co. is now building a machine for the same purpose. The day after I sent in that article on vitamins, a scientist told me that the little book by Dr. Harry N. Holmes, whose title I didn't even mention, is the finest one on vitamins that is to be had. It's title, "Have You Had Your Vitamins?" This scientist explained the high vitamin content of the Japanese black sea bass oil. The deeper in the ocean a fish lives, the heavier and more concentrated must his oil (and whole structure) be, or he would "blow up" under the great pressure. I am sure that my Heavenly Father understands, and forgives the strange twist to one of my sentences last week, which really seemed to accuse Him of being an accomplice in plagiarism. I meant that, in addition to the Great Source of supply to draw on - for strength, for wisdom, for grace, we still copy from those who have found and tapped that eternal spring of wisdom. If there is space enough, I'll use the diary system, for every day of this past week has yielded it "hyacinths for the soul."
Sunday, Mar. 9 - The great Scotch minister and teacher, Dr. John Baillie, who holds the chair of divinity in the University of Edinburgh, preached at our vesper service. Dr. Baillie, who has been engaged in Y.M.C.A. work, was in Dunkerque (France) at the time of the retreat before the invading Germans. Had he remained six hours longer in Dunkerque, he would have become a German prisoner. Since he was cut off from all communication with his people, he kept a diary faithfully. He read from that diary - of the mass retreat of several hundred thousand refugees, moving southward - by automobile, by bicycle, on horseback, on foot; the pitiful sight of families clinging to the last remnants of "home"; mattresses piled on the roof of their car, a small stove, a cherished table, a baby buggy - every car loaded to bursting. The roads were so packed with cars that they moved at a snail's pace. The bicycles often carried four people. Now and then a new road would open up, where Dr. Baillie and his two companions could make some speed. German bombing planes pursued them, sending the poor refugees scurrying for shelter. Dr. Baillie was forced once to lie in an open ditch, with only his steel helmet to protect him. His associate in Y.M.C.A. work, who fled with him, had managed to gather up some bread and some meat as they were leaving. Many hours later, when they hid by night in a tiny shelter, the enemy planes still within hearing, they ate their simple rations. "Twas then that the words of the Psalmist, taught to John Baillie at the age of four - at his mother's knee - came to him, to renew his faith in an all-seeing and protecting Father. "Thou preparest a table before me, in the presence of mine enemies." Dr. Baillie has firm confidence in the strength and high morale of England. It was a rich experience, listening to this godly man.
Monday. - a beautiful, sunny day. Too nice to be indoors. I walked down to see my sick sister-in-law. Whenever my own morale needs boosting, I go and see Margery. There's British grit for you. A victim of ill health for many years, Margery is one of the world's charming personalities. I used to tell Virgil that I married him in order to have Mrs. Charles Taylor for a mother, and Margery for a sister. Her (Margery's) last outing was to attend Estelle's and another niece's graduation last June - against the doctor's orders. A month later she suffered a complete nerve collapse, to be followed in October by blood-poisoning that has kept her in bed all winter. Is she licked? Never. That's how I know the British will never give up.
Tuesday - A double dose of pleasure came my way today. Two booklets, from two different schools - far apart in the academic scale - but each so important to me, because of the one name inside, dear to me. You remember our beloved friend, Betty, who passed away last September? Betty was so much a part of our family, that we didn't know how to go through the first Christmas without her. But she left behind one nephew, her heart's dearest treasure. Such a dear, roguish boy of eleven! Well, we decided to adopt him, at least for Christmases, though he is in southern Ohio, I cannot express the solace we found, in thus keeping faith with Betty. And now Bobby shares his life with us by letter; raising his own prize hogs, achieving success with the clarinet; and now being on the honor roll in the sixth grade. Those things bring a lump into your throat. How proud Betty would be. Somehow I feel that she does know about it.
The second folder came from the George Washington University, at Washington, D.C. In the mid-year class is an impressive list of those receiving their Bachelor of Arts degrees. Among those names is one linked so close to my childhood - Margery Almira Lytle. Underneath her name are the words, "With distinction." When I read that, I swelled up so with pride that I am sure I will require a new wardrobe this spring. For you see, Almira and I sat together at old No. 5 school. Many of you readers will remember her - daughter of "Uncle Billy," niece of my dear Aunt Caroline, cousin to towering, big-hearted Will Lytle, in whose home she spent two or three winters. Do some of you remember her singing a solo at one of our school reunions at old No. 4 school? "Now the merry brown thrush sings up in the tree, Singing to you, singing to me..." Almira, with the sweet singing voice, the merriest laugh imaginable, and a heart of gold. She has held a government job in Washington these many years, and went to school at night. In addition to her intense family loyalties, Almira has made large investments in friendship, which have given her rich returns. The old zest for life is still there. May she keep right on graduating "with distinction." (Look! I got only as far as Tuesday - but see what important folks I "covered").
Florence B. Taylor
Next -3/27/41 - The Golden Wedding