Are you getting tired hearing about the factory folks? I had hoped to bring you fresh news from the African front via Leland Stowe, the great war correspondent. But in these war times we must expect to make sacrifices; and mine is the giving up of everything that means going out in the evening. Little enough, compared to the boys, who give up everything except their faith and their manhood. How very brave they are! I sat beside a young sailor on the street-car the other morning. He hails from Chattanooga, Tenn., and was sent here from Washington, D.C. - he and 300 more navy men and women - for a special training course. He said, "We are all champing at the bit - to get into action. But we must obey orders." Champing at the bit! Rarin' to go! That's the American youth - God bless him! A handsome young bridegroom, who was married to a lovely young girl of 21, who is as sweet as she is beautiful, finished his training course two days before the wedding. He is now an ensign, assigned to one of these little "mosquito" boats that dart about, ahead of a convoy, looking for submarines or any sort of enemy ship. His job is one of the most dangerous in all sea warfare; yet this lad writes that he loves it.
A letter from Johnny Gilkerson (Knox's boy) this past week - from San Pedro, Calif. - says "so long, for a little while; for, by the time you receive this letter, yours truly will be on the high seas - our destination unknown. I just hope it's where I can get a crack at those lousy Japs." That's the spirit that wins. How I wish I could find time to write to all the brave boys, boys I know, who are fighting for our country's freedom! A short message in "This Week" magazine touched me deeply. It was a plea from a mailman serving some southern camp. He said the outgoing mail is much heavier than the incoming mail. Those boys are so hungry for mail from home that they write and write, yearning for replies. We must not let them down. It just occurred to me that, among my readers, there might be someone, who, for the friendship he or she bears Knox, might like to write to his boy. Take it from me, he is a bonny boy. Some of you oldsters and not-so-old-sters remember the jokes Knox played on you. An account of them would make mighty good reading for a lonely boy, far away from home. Here is his address. The rest I leave with you! J.K. Gilkerson, Ph. M. 2/C - Navy 609 - c/o Fleet Postmaster - San Francisco, Calif.
There is barely time left to introduce you to Jane, the most colorful of all the employees - or all persons, for that matter, in Plant 3. Jane is a tall, plump young woman of 33, with the eyes of an angel, and the tongue of Tobacco Road. Her heart is big and warm. When I first came to Plant 3, I felt strange and shy (isn't that silly, at my age?). But it was Jane who made me share her warm coffee and home-made cake. If someone in trouble - even a hunted creature - ran to Jane for asylum, she would take that troubled one in her arms, and, with her tongue, hold the rest of the world at bay. Although Jane's language shocked me, it held a strange fascination, because her face belied her words. Her eyes are lovely - as clear and guileless as a child's. She has a soft West Virginia accent. She and Katie come from the same little town. Down where they come from, I guess they speak a bald language for generations back. Jane was reared by a grandmother whom she adored. That grandmother spoke the same raw language - so Jane thinks nothing of it. One moment she will be saying to Josephine, our sweet little widow with four children. "Honey, there's a crown of glory waitin' for you up in Heaven." In the next breath she will be calling a reply to a teasing fellow-workman, "Joe, take the next road to the right, and go straight to h--l." Now, I must close. But more of Jane next time.
Florence B. Taylor
Next - 3/11/43 - The Red Cross. Jane.
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