New Year's greetings once again! Do we dare believe Admiral Halsey, chief of the South Pacific, who predicts that the war will end in 1943? Whether it does or not depends, I believe, on YOU and YOU and YOU and me. If we are as unconquerable in spirit as the Chinese, as brave and steadfast as the English, as hard-working and hardship-enduring as the Russians, we, the vast horde of free-spirited Americans, with our marvelous resources, can bring about an early peace. The trouble is that the fighters are relatively few. Yes, four and a half to five million of our precious boys risk their lives and give their lives for our country. And what about the other 125 million? Perhaps there are five million who voluntarily sacrifice and give as our service men are giving; another twenty million who are ready and eager to do whatever is asked of them. But the vast majority does not know there is a war. When we see, in the show-case before us (in an ordinary department store) ear-rings priced at $82.50 a pair, hear a man confide to his woman friend that he paid eleven dollars for bootleg whiskey to celebrate Christmas, hear a woman drill-press operator say she is going to spoil all her pieces so that they will give her an easier machine, hear a woman in a restaurant raise cain because her coffee-cup is not full enough, see men and women staggering into the corner restaurant early New Year's morning, well pickled after an all-night binge; when you see the hundreds of cars sailing along every day, with no riders, see the befurred and bejewelled woman with lily-white hands and vacuous countenance, hear people gripe because they can't get butter or meat - then you are sure THEY don't know there is a war. They care nothing beyond their personal comfort and self-indulgence. How can we wake them up?
A beloved cousin wrote to me, and said, "Don't neglect your good husband and nice children." Well, I try not to. But I could not leave home six days a week if my family were not in full accord concerning my small contribution to the war effort. The children's characters, I trust, are pretty well formed. And if they have to make their own beds and forego fancy meals, will that hurt them? Not a bit. But I say most humbly that I could not hold my job at Warner & Swasey's without the best husband in the world. He holds up my hands at every turn, takes over the dishwashing at night - often without help. (Virgil Jr. works in a drugstore, and Charlie has his papers.) Merle entered into the family spirit, and made his own bed (beautifully), helped with the dishes, except on school nights and proved his ability as a tidy-upper. Merle went home Dec. 18th, ready to be inducted into the army on the 22nd. But he was disqualified, due to a heart condition. Since he was all primed to go, I am sure he is deeply disappointed. But he will find plenty of ways to serve his country. We expect him back in Cleveland tonight or tomorrow. *****
Would you like to meet some of the people with whom I work? They are very interesting folks, I assure you. And I do believe I have the nicest job in the whole factory. Come on in with me to Plant 3, which holds the training school (besides hundreds of turret lathes in the process of assembly, and about 15 lathes, drill presses, and a milling machine in operation). But, first, you must drink this magic fluid, that will make you invisible as you pass the redheaded policeman. Otherwise he'll stop you and demand that you show your badge. He is as strict as the ancient pharisee about the observance of all rules. I was late one morning; he made me sit in the little office at the entrance, and was going to send for the third floor foreman to come down and "justify" my tardiness, and grant a permit for my entrance. Since my real boss is the chief inspector in the main plant, he had to let me go on up to work - but he didn't like it. But see that tall, kindly policeman over there, standing back a little, as if he trusted the people who had to prove their citizenship and good character before they were hired by Warner & Swasey. He is one of the nicest of men, whose smile warms your heart. On the day before Christmas he was on duty in the afternoon; so, on the way out, I wished him a Merry Christmas. Looking wistful and sad, he said, "I got a funny Christmas present today. They took my boy away today - into the navy." I went home, heaping anathemas upon the machinery that takes boys away from their parents just at Christmas time. Each morning I see, not a stern officer of the law, but a loving father, whose fondest hopes are tied up in that boy. The day before New Year's he was proudly wearing a USN pin with a blue star pendant. New Year's day he was beaming, and, in answer to my query, he said, "He called us up last night. I talked to him for three minutes. It was wonderful to hear his voice...and he likes it!" (At the Great Lakes Naval Training Station) "So nothing matters, as long as he is happy." And so another family is plugging for Uncle Sam. God bless them!
More next time, I must close now.
Florence B. Taylor
Next - 1/28/43 - Touring Warner & Swasey. Shelby Coffman
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