March did not come in like a lion this year - at least, not in Cleveland, it was more like an army of polar bears, leaving ice and snow in their wake. March 4 in Cleveland was the coldest in 70 years. But there is another great army, whose divisions extend to every part of the globe; whose battalions move forward now on every battle front, and charter ships to the scenes of danger and destruction. This army, no matter where its activity, carries out one flag - the emblem of the Red Cross. This army fights but one foe - or one triumvirate; sickness, suffering, and death. Did you hear the young American private (I can't remember his name) who spoke in behalf of the Red Cross on the Information Please program last Monday night? The battle in which he was wounded is a military secret; but when he came to in a British hospital, the first face he saw was that of an American Red Cross nurse - smiling that American smile. He went on to testify that if it were not for the American Red Cross, he would not be alive today. The great March drive for Red Cross funds is on. We must support, not only our brave fighting men, but the army of angels who minister to them in time of sickness or disaster. I know how much the Red Cross has done for just one soldier boy - one sick and homesick boy - our son-in-law. They have sent telegrams and telephone messages to Cleveland; have arranged temporary living quarters for his wife there; have in short, become the bond between a sick boy and home. From now on, I am "all out" for the American Red Cross. For the sake of the many Saltsburg boys, and the boys you know, who may come under the kind Red Cross ministrations, I beg to you go go "all out" too, for this miracle-working organization.
Do you want to hear more of Jane? Jane, who knows how to hold communion with the angels; who can also speak the devil's own language, and put him in his place. Jane, the fearless one, the only one in Plant 3 who can draw our austere superintendent out of his lofty trance, and make him laugh; who bids him get back to his job - that he is holding up production on her turret lathe. About a month ago the president of our company, a dignified, but kindly white-haired gentleman, made a tour of Plant 3 - all alone. His visits are so rare that Shelby, who has worked nearly three years, did not know him. He (the president) stopped at every machine and work bench, for a word of greeting, without revealing his identity. He stopped at Jane's machine, and asked her how she liked the turret lathe. In her enthusiastic response she asked him if he ever ran one. He said yes, about 35 years ago. Had he been with the company ever since? Jane wanted to know. Yes, he had. "Then, by this time, you ought to be the president of the company," was the candid reply. I wish I might have seen the twinkle in his eye. When a shop upheaval came, transferring most of our third floor operations either downstairs or over to Plant 1, to make way for a new class, there was an indignation meeting in our rest room that noon hour. One girl wept bitterly, another was defiant and ready to quit. But Jane spoke up, "Blankety-blank, girls, don't you know there's a war on? I have to give up my pet - my turret lathe. But if I have to be a scraper, I'll be the best damned scraper on second floor." And she rolled up her sleeves, and went into a pantomime that brought forth laughter - and shame on the part of the less patriotic. She has kept her word, though she is far from well. Jane has suffered deeply. She lost her only child, an idolized daughter of eight, from spinal meningitis. But she has not, for one moment, lost faith in her Heavenly Father. In fact, her implicit trust is like that of a child. I feel sure that God only smiles at the strange language, like a bizarre vehicle, that conveys her thoughts and looks into her heart, which knows no dishonor, nor irreverence, nor deceit. She loves her fellow man. Like Abou Ben Adhem, May her tribe increase!
Florence B. Taylor
Next - 3/18/43 - The Woes of War
BY-WAYS Table of Contents