Just think! The last day of the last winter month! Have you heard any harbingers of spring? Here is it like mid-April in Pennsylvania, with the birds merrily building their nests for spring. They are not troubled with the housing shortage like us poor mortals. The sun is bright and warm, but the salt sea air has a chill all its own; it is an ideal summer residence, but the sea fog is said to be hard on arthritis. Yet they flock here by the hundreds. And Miss Adda Hainer, our friend from Ingram, Pa., said that, of all the cities and towns along the Pacific Coast, Long Beach has, to her notion, the finest climate. If Virgil and I were rich, I think we would choose to live in Glendale or Pasadena in winter, and Long Beach in summer.***
If last week's column was utterly incoherent, it was because I was trying to write with one hand and open doors with the other. We had two vacancies here last Saturday, one of which is a mere hole-in-the-wall, which only the desperate deign to inhabit. The other was being held for a petite brunette, Mrs. Morgan, who begged me with tears in her eyes, only a week before, to let her know when there was a vacancy. When I called her, oh yes, she would certainly take the room. She and her husband would be over at 4:30, which was the earliest they could come. I turned away a dozen applicants, taking the names of the most desirable. One man, who seemed quite desperate for a place to lay his head, exacted the promise that, if Mr. and Mrs. Morgan did not show up, the room would be his. The tearful Mrs. Morgan never did show up. The eager runner-up 'phoned at 5, came right over, plunked down four days' rent, which he said was all he had until Tuesday; begged sheets, blankets, towels from me "until his wife would get here from Omaha;" asked to charge a long distance call to El Paso on our 'phone (overlooking the obvious fact that it is a coin 'phone). All these requests, and two or three more, with gentility and apology - but with maddening persistence. Twenty-four hours after he rented the room he said he was leaving for El Paso at 6 the next morning - and would I ship his baggage for him collect when he sent me the address? He said that everywhere he turned he saw the face of his first wife, who died in Long Beach. With due sympathy I agreed to do all that he asked, only to receive a card from him the next day, saying that he had decided not to leave California after all. But he has moved to Wilmington, an adjoining town. One more of the "ships that pass in the night."***
Who am I, to mention broken promises - when I am constantly failing to write what I say I'm going to write the next week? I am ashamed of the long road I have paved - you know where to - with good intentions. Now I said I'd tell you more about 'Virgil's airplane.' To tell the truth I lost my memoranda of interesting facts, but here are the bare statistics about a DC 4: It has a wingspread of 117 feet. Its fuel capacity is 2878 gal. It consumes 125 gal. per hour. It has a range of 3000 miles, and a speed of 240 m.p.h. One of these days we plan to take a boat to Catalina, and fly back. That ought to make quite a column.***
Now for the fish story. If we were to nominate the couple in all this apartment building who would shrink most from publicity, it would surely be our 180-pound "Little Eva," as Virgil and I call her in the bosom of our family, and her husband, Ruts. Yet Eva made headlines in one Long Beach paper, and had the lead story in a column called "Fishin' Around" in another paper. If you follow the BY-WAYS, you will remember the mention of Eva and her husband going deep sea fishing. It was that very day that the strange thing happened. Her pole was set in place on the boat, with its fish bait at the other end. She went below deck for a cup of coffee. A few minutes later there was a scream from the deck that a rod was overboard. The crew, however, failed to gaff it (fishing parlance for "grab it with hooks"). Another angler nearby got a strike 20 minutes later, and started reeling in another line. Finally up came Eva's rod and then, at the other end of her line, a 10-pound halibut. And that, my friends, is a true fish story.***
Before closing may I just call your attention to the splendid article by Kathleen Norris in the Feb. 20 issue of the Press? I hope you have not destroyed it. She tells how our humdrum lives can be transformed into star-studded paths if we look to eternal things: love, faith, hope, and a sense of our relation to God. That article alone is worth a year's subscription to the paper. As we tread this earth, though our "feet still cling to the heavy clay," let us keep our eyes on the stars.
Florence B. Taylor.
Next - 3/20/47 - KNOTT'S BERRY FARM
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