Of course the idea for the title is borrowed from the author, David Grayson (alias Ray Stannard Baker), whose altogether delightful book, "Adventures in Friendship," proves that meeting and winning and keeping a true friend is indeed an adventure. To explore the wonders of the human mind and soul is much more fascinating than to explore the mountains of Tibet or to study the flora and fauna of the jungle. (And so much less expensive.) Please do not think that I shall pose as an authority on neighborliness. I realize, only too well, how miserably I have failed as "the good neighbor." But I also see unlimited possibilities and know that it makes for happiness and content to be on good terms with your neighbors. Instead of borrowing that much-needed onion or egg, you can find it quite profitable to borrow - for keeps - a clever idea, a formula for handling children, a "beau geste" of friendship, a choice bit of philosophy. If you have a well-stocked larder of workable ideas, you may offer your neighbors choice tidbits - in the tiniest doses; not any more, unless they ask for it. And never, never force it down, as we did cod-liver oil in the old days. The thing I like about South Euclid is the innate kindness and friendliness of the neighbors. Let me introduce some of the Lilac Road neighbors - by initial only - and see if you don't think they are real neighbors. You met Mrs. E. two years ago, while she was "blitzing" her four-year-old with verbal and corporal punishment. I am happy to report that the blitzkriegs are a thing of the past. The mother is growing up - little by little. She and Ronnie are gone all summer - down on her parents-in-law's farm, where they cannot help but absorb some of the wonder and beauty in nature.
Next door to Mrs. E. is Mrs. O., who is one of Nature's noblewomen. She gives and gives - of herself, of her substance, of the beauty in her rose hedge, of these "hyacinths for the soul," that grow in unexpected places - but always by the side of the road. Almost as soon as we moved here, she came informally across the back yards, to invite me to a missionary meeting at her home. A vicious cold kept me away; but the warmth of her cordiality and the gesture of friendship did its own missionary work. She is especially kind to shut-ins. I happened to tell her that Mother Taylor has an exclusive fondness for black current jelly. Over here came a big glass of current jelly - for Mother T., whom she has never met. Mrs. O. lives her Christianity; when she smiles, her smile lights up the whole room.
Next door to her - and next door to us - is Mrs. T., who is in a class by herself. At first she was so reserved that we thought her unfriendly. But from the first she stood out as a marvelous mother, whose four children are happy and serene and well-behaved. She counts it the greatest privilege that God has given these children into her keeping; she has been faithful to her stewardship. That first winter I hardly ever saw her; during the sunny April days we were just getting acquainted over the clotheslines, when I took a vacation in that hotel where they keep ether on the fourth floor. The day after I came home, she and another neighbor came over as soon as the children had gone to school - all set to wash the breakfast dishes and tidy up the house for me. They did not know that Phillippa was here - for the same altruistic reason. But I shall never forget their kind intent. Delicious cakes and Kuchen came our way. The other neighbor, with her genial husband and two children, moved to Pa. a month later. Estelle and I tried to repay her kindness by cooking them a dinner on moving day. (Such a little thing, but it meant so much.)
As for Mrs. T., she is the perfect neighbor - never intruding, never quarreling, yet endowed with such a big heart in her slender little body. I tell her that I can never get caught up on my obligations - for she always goes me one better. She is so free from criticism and intolerance that I don't mind her presence, even when my house is a mess. With all the work she has at home she finds time to help so many others; she is always taking care of other children beside her own.
The column is filling up - and I haven't told you half the interesting adventures in neighborliness, right on this street. But I must tell you of the latest "adventure." To distribute traffic and accommodate people who work six days a week, our downtown stores open late Monday morning, then remain open until 9 or 9:30 that evening. I borrowed Estelle's street-car pass, and sallied forth last Monday evening - to buy some clarinet music, and to borrow duets and trios from the Main Library downtown. I came home on the streetcar, feeling like Atlas, with the world on his shoulders. Since we live a mile east of the end of the city car line, I nearly always drive our car down that far, and park it in the parking lot. When I got off the streetcar, I just peeked into the "neighborly" corner drugstore, to see if any neighbors or acquaintances were going my way. (Everybody waits in there for the village bus.) I saw three women, laden with packages. (We carry our purchases, when possible - for Victory's sake) and heard one of them say, with weary resignment, "We've just missed the bus." That was my cue. The next line, naturally, was "My car is going as far as Green Road. Will that help you any?" Well, you never saw three more grateful women. The one who sat by me is a physician's wife, and lives only five blocks from our home. The others are visitors, one being a charming spinster sister, who lives in New York, and teaches music in the public schools - but spends her summers here. Her parents make their home with the married sister, who, with her doctor husband, lives in a beautiful big house on the hill. She, also, is musical, preferring the teaching of piano to house work.
The sight of the "mound of music" led to the discovery of the mutual interest, though I let it be known at the start that I am a rank amateur. Mrs. B., the resident, invited me to come and help myself to the wealth of apples, going to loss, unless someone picks them. A few days later I drove up there, armed with a half bushel basket and an invitation to come to a musicale at our home that night. They had already promised friends to go to the circus (the Ringling Bros. circus, in which over forty valuable animals lost their lives when an avenging discharged employee set fire to the menagerie tent). But they are coming next week, and they loaded me down with ripe apples. Wouldn't you say that little adventure proved a "windfall" for our family?
Yours for victory, Florence B. Taylor
Next - 8/20/42 - The Robinson's. Euclid Beach
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