Hello, everybody! Greetings from Cleveland! There is no sun in Cleveland this Easter Sabbath; in fact, there has been a drizzle all day. But, somehow, it has been a lovely day. Reunited, and sitting with my family in church; the dear, familiar faces on every side; the comfort and reassurance of the Resurrection brought to mind. All over the world today, in barren outposts, in infested jungles, in foxholes, in the rubble heaps of civilization, in the hospitals of war, the promise that the Resurrection brings is all that makes life tolerable.***
A few moments ago the telephone rang, and an old friend said, "Can you folks come over for a 'pot luck' supper?" (Down in Texas they'd say "Won't you-all come over ... etc?") With that complete freedom from strain, that goes with old friendships, Marcella said, "I don't know what we'll have to eat - just odds and ends." And so it is with this column today. It's a "potluck" column. So many experiences and impressions to jot down. Someone asked me the other night how long it would take me to tell about my trip. I replied, "At least a year." That is a conservative estimate. and some of the most interesting things I cannot tell until the war is over. Suppose I answer first the questions that have been asked by the butcher, the baker, the token-change maker. "Does it really rain as hard in California as the eastern papers and the radio comedians say it does?" California is like the beautiful child of the family, upon whom the Fates have smiled. All the other children are just a wee bit jealous, and seize upon every opportunity to prove that the gifted one has some atrocious faults. When a tall hillside had a landslide, the face of the hill having slid down - trees and all - about 50 feet, the lower 50 feet landing in the Los Angeles river, causing very little damage, the eastern papers reported that part of the city of Los Angeles was sliding into the ocean. The rainfall in and around Los Angeles this last February was the heaviest, I believe, in 26 years. The mountain freshets swelled the rivers to overflowing, and a few bridges - comparatively small once - were washed away. Four people lost their lives - two of them in an automobile that was washed off the highway into the river. The Los Angeles street drainage and sewer system is not equipped to take care of heavy downpours, I remember seeing some streets full to the curb in no time at all. In downtown L.A., Cousin Helen saw a woman take off her shoes and stockings, and wade to the other side of the street. "Did you see the Grand Canyon?" No, the side trip to the Grand Canyon is out for the duration. I regret that I did not take the route through Denver and the beautiful Rockies. Friends comforted me by suggesting that I might have been snowbound on that route. Marcella's 15-year-old daughter is thoroughly disgusted because I saw only one movie star (a lesser light) and cannot remember her last name.
One of my youthful mentors chided me quite severely for lambasting the colonel who kept my new nephew away
from his wedding rehearsal. "After all," reminded the young critic, "there's a
war on." Oh, don't we know it! But after traveling about and rubbing elbows with
hundreds of young service men - the flower of our country - the sympathy goes
to these young lads. They never brought on a war, but they always see us through.
"Could you always get a seat on the train?" Yes. Because the officials will not
let you on unless there is a seat for you. In Glendale I was given a pink slip
that assured me a seat - unless two many service men appeared. I failed to speak
for a seat on the Illinois Central from St. Louis to Chicago - and saw the gate
close behind the person just ahead of me. Did you ever hear your heart hit the
concrete? It meant a 3-hour wait in St. Louis, and a 5-1/2-hour wait in Chicago.
But there was a pleasant interlude with a 'service man' in St. Louis. At least
he wore khaki, with 'chevrons'. But it was all perfectly proper. We had his mother's
permission. He is only three - and was rarin' to see the world. His mother had
a babe in arms. By the way, they say that St. Louis has the only railroad station
with a full-fledged nursery. Eleven cribs - each occupied. There was a full chorus
when I was there. I am glad now about the long wait in Chicago, because I had
a wonderful visit with Mrs. Dell McQuiston Harmon. You cannot be with her without
feeling the warmth of her kindness and vital interest in everyone that comes out
of dear old Saltsburg. You catch that inner glow of the spirit, that is part of
her. It was a lovely prelude to the homecoming. Now I must close. But we'll visit
again next week.
Affectionately, Florence B. Taylor
Next - 4/20/44 - Leaving California
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