MARCH 25, 1960
HYDE PARK—I had an unusual encounter the other day. A taxi-cab driver picked me up, recognized me, and at once began to tell me how he had always worked for my husband politically, and how much he had enjoyed my husband's political jokes over the years.
Then in a more solemn moment he told me how he had always felt there was a particular tie between my husband and himself because he remembered the day when he was working in the boiler room of a heavy Navy cruiser at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and suddenly he saw F.D.R. standing beside him.
"He told me he was leaving me," the cab driver said to me. "And I should carry on and do the best I could. It was so real to me that I picked up my tools and packed them away and went upside and told the man I had finished my work for the day. He said, "You can't go off now," and I replied, "Yes, I have lost one of my best friends."
Stories such as this are strange but they seem to indicate some supersensitive connection between people. But whatever they show they do indicate a sense of closeness, and the fact that the cab driver has remembered it all these years shows how much it meant to him.
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I went to Harrisburg, Pa., yesterday afternoon to speak for the United Jewish Appeal, and there I met a very remarkable woman. Her name is Miss Mary Sachs.
She was hospitable, warm and has a philosophy that filled me with admiration. She is a business woman who has never married but she loves children. And she told me a story of a meeting many years ago at which Henry Morgenthau had presided. It was a national meeting to raise money in the early days for Israel, and when the plea had been made for funds the response was cold. No one came forward.
At that time she had had a tragedy. Her place of business had burned down and she was not insured. She had no business credit, so she went to a banker the afternoon before the meeting and asked him if he would lend her $50,000 and said that she wanted to buy a tombstone, one that she would never see but that it would still be an enduring monument.
So at that meeting she gave the whole borrowed $50,000 for Israel bonds, after which the money poured in.
Miss Sachs went to work the next day to rebuild her business. She paid back her personal loan and all she had borrowed to start in business again, and ever since I surmise she has been inspiring others through her own generosity to be as generous as possible. However, I imagine few can ever match her.
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I overlooked a date that I think all of us in the United States should remember. March 10 marked the 80th anniversary of the landing at the Battery in New York of the first Salvationists in the U.S.
They were a tiny band of pioneers—seven Salvation Army girls and one man. On that small foundation has been built an organization in this country that today includes 5,000 officers and some 250,000 members.
The uniform of the Salvation Army did not always meet in those early days with the respect it inspires today. At first the Salvationists were met with ridicule, but slowly they demonstrated their faith in God, and I think today they are among the most-respected of our charity workers. To them every human being has value; no one is hopeless. They never turn away from their door the lonely, the hungry, the troubled and the discouraged.
One small interesting part of the organization's work is its missing persons' bureau. Another is its employment agency, which finds both permanent and temporary jobs. Last year it placed as many as 150,000 in jobs. And though we know the Salvation Army's social service as widespread, it counts its religious service as important as its social work.