As Memorial Day draws near - at this crucial period to world history - a new appreciation of this country of ours comes into our hearts. We realize that this solid United States wouldn't be here today if some brave men did not believe in it enough to be willing to fight and die for it. It seems that the salvation of a country, like the salvation of a soul, is built on the altar of sacrifice. We are beginning to appreciate the vision, the faith, and the sacrificial courage of our forefathers. I hope we will regard the rich heritage they left us as a sacred trust, to be guarded with our lives, and perpetuated; not treated lightly, as rich men's sons sometimes misuse and dissipate their father's substance. America seems to have good blood in its veins. It never yet has failed in a crisis. I feel sure that, this year, every flag placed on a soldier's grave will be accompanied by a solemn vow to keep faith with our soldier dead. ****
Last week I really meant to add my small but sincere tribute to all the others that must have been showered upon Miss Maude Ewing. As a fellow teacher I always admired her and her way of teaching. To her came the little folks, leaving home for the first time, getting their first impression of what this big world outside their home is like. In her room they found beauty, orderliness, and purposeful activity; also the meaning of self-restraint, which is so sadly lacking in many schools. I recall giving her an impulsive invitation to bring her class upstairs, to see some program, the nature of which I do not recall - but it was a sort of last-minute inspiration, I remember how she hesitated; that day's program in her own room had all been planned. She felt, and made her children feel, that their work was just as important as that in the higher grades. It was not to be tossed lightly aside. (She graciously rearranged her schedule, and brought those children, models of earnestness and good behavior). It must be grand to look back as she can, and think of the hundreds whom she gave a good start in life. *****
Well, the replies to the questionnaire are coming back now - to warm this poor old heart of mine. Do you know, I believe it's good for one's soul to be kept on the anxious seat for a while. It keeps one down to the proper proportions - and makes one realize that he or she is not indispensable. I do appreciate the letters of encouragement, and one or two frank criticisms. Now I have something to build on. Since the replies are to be confidential, I can speak only in a general way and say that informative articles and those of "human interest" tie for first place. So we will go exploring - for you. The returned questionnaire that gave me the greatest thrill was from Mrs. J.C. Rose - written in her own hand. When I saw her last August, so bruised and broken from her bad fall, it seemed as if she would never be able to "take her pen in hand" again. But you can't keep a good man down - or woman, either. How like her, to take up that pen, to give someone else a boost! (Not a prickly one, either). I feel sure Mrs. Rose won't mind my telling of a trifling incident that gives an insight into the cordiality of her nature. It's funny - how "little" things stay in youngsters' minds. One day, when I was driving into town, Aunt Caroline told me to stop at Mrs. Rose's, and ask her for a certain pattern, whose fulfillment in calico or cambric Aunt C. admired. Mrs. Rose was delighted to lend the pattern. As I was leaving, and thanked her in awkward child fashion, she leaned over the picket fence and smiled, "You're just as welcome as you can be." I pondered on that remark on my way home, and thought, "Wouldn't this be a lovely world, if everyone put as much of themselves into a little favor as Mrs. Rose?"
Most Pennsylvanians of those days had the reticence of rock-bound New England in them. If I were to repeat her remark, they would be apt to say, "Well, now, isn't that laying it on a little bit thick - for a bit of a pattern?" Maybe so. But don't we all like our butter-cream frosting a "little bit thick" - so long as it's the real McCoy? Her cordiality is real. She has found this world good, and has counted herself especially blessed in the good husband and children God gave her. She has tried to pass on that joy to others. I hope you won't mind the personal touch, Mrs. Rose. You have earned a bigger bouquet than I can give you. But if you like this "orchid" (it may be only an iris - a flag-lily for Memorial Day; but let's "lay it on a little bit thick"); if you like the orchid I am handing you, remember - you're just as welcome as you can be. *****
Now we're getting down near the bottom of the page - and I won't have room to tell you of the interesting article in a little magazine, sent by Mrs. Dell McQuiston Harmon. But that will come next week - and probably the "bakery" story. With renewed ambition and high hopes, I am,
Florence B. Taylor
Next -6/5/41 - Champion of the Blind