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May 11, 1940 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1940-05-11

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Page Ten
Suarez laid his watch down upon the
desk and walked toward the door.
With a grinding bump the destroyer's
hull completed contact with one of the
mines and there was a tremendous,
somewhat muffled, crashing detonation.
The Fernando shuddered horribly and
an awe-inspiring column of water shot
high in to the air at the spot where the
vessel's bow had been, and with it went
men, steel plates, guns, and the for-
ward part of the ship. The men and
officers on the bridge dropped to the
deck, stunned, as though they had been
pole-axed. Immediately following the
initial concussion, other mines along-
side detonated with horrible effect,
staving in the vessel's thin strakes and
blasting the air with huge umbrella-
like fountains of flung sea water. There
was a hissing noise as the sea poured
into the engine room upon the boilers,
and up forward the water pounded into
the forecastle through the shredded
bulkhead like a herd of stampeding
white horses. Men screamed terribly
about the ship.
Comamnder Suarez reached the deck
as the second mine explosion occurred.
A flat piece of bulwark plating, pro-
jected across the deck, smashed into
his legs just below the hip and he was
hurled, still conscious into the wildly
disturbed sea. He reached the surface
and paddled about feebly with his arms,
his legs useless. He floated in a little
pool of the sea whose crimson contrast-
ed abruptly with the deep harbor green
about him.
Boats put out from shore toward the
dying little ship, and somewhere an
alarm gun fired. With a revolting suck-
ing noise the Fernando half rolled. to
her starboard side, shot her slim stern
with its bronze propellors still slowly
and incredibly turning, into the dis-
turbed air and languidly plunged from
sight, her ensign still flying. The cries
of the men stretched wounded about
the deck abruptly ceased but small shat-
tered bits of wreckage remained afloat
on the surface. The officer, a mere
buoyant trunk with shattered legs, mur-
mered monotonously, "Jesu! Jesu mio!"
as the salt water bit sharply into his
wounds. He no longer paddled.
As he slipped beneath the surface,
his mind saw tall green palms and a
beautiful lagoon.
(Continued from Page Nine)


morning, it was so quiet when every-
body was in bed, I felt so cold when I
went to take the exams. I was so scared.
So you just quit. You ran home to
them, you knew they'd say it was all
right. You wouldn't have to be tired
any more. Don't you think those other
kids were tired and scared too? Don't
you think they had folks to run to? Do
you think you're the only guy in the
world who ever had to do a hard job?
No, you're no damn good, Sean. You
haven't any guts, you don't even get a
job now you're home. No good.
He turned away from the store and
walked back along the street to a place
with Venetian blinds in the windows
and a red neon sign which said Beer.
SEAN WAS DRUNK. He sat at the
counter leaning on his elbows, blink-
ing at the man who worked the night
shift frying hamburgers for drunks and
tarts and truck drivers. The waiter
knew Sean. He ran black coffee into a
thick cup, coffee from the tall shining
"How are you tonight, Sean?" he said.
"Coffee," Sean said. "Jus' cup coffee,
Mac. Can't go home this way."
The waiter put the cup on the counter.
"Thangs-Mac," Sean said.
S o.k.," the waiter said. He wiped the
counter with a dirty rag. "Want 'nything
"No, jus' coffee. Got sober up. Can'
let folks see me this way."
"That's right," the waiter said
Sean talked slowly to himself. "All
they got. Can't let 'em. I'm no good
Jesus, that's hot." He put the cup down.
"Wha'm I gonna do, Mac? No good."
He shook his head.
The waiter didn't listen. He wiped the
Sean said, "You're lucky, Mac."
"Lucky?" the waiter said. "Whatta
you mean lucky? Gotta work all night
in this joint, ain't I? You're the one
that's lucky. Nothin' to do, live on your
old man. You call me lucky?" He
Sean put his cup down. "Mac," he
said, and though his speech was still
thick, he didn't sound as drunk as he
had been a moment before. "Mac, lem-
me tell you - No, can't tell you now,
I'm drunk. 'N when I'm sober, I won't.
But honest to god, Mac," and the waiter
saw that he was getting into a crying
jag, "You're lucky, Mac," Sean said,
and walked out.
"Drunks," the waiter said, and shook
his head. He began to clean the griddle.
The clock said three o'clock. At five he
was through, he could go home to bed.
All the way home Sean cried. He was
drunk, and ashamed of being drunk.
Before he went in the house, he blew
his nose and cleared his throat. The
folks were in bed, but there was a light
burning in the living room. Slowly he
went up the stairs, trying not to trip.
At the top of the stairs he stopped. He
was so drunk. He was such a heel. He
went to his mother's room
"Mom," he whispered, "Mom, you
His mother sat up in bed, turning on
the small light on a table. "What is
it Sean?" she said.
"Mom, I'm drunk. I'm awful drunk,"
he whispered, weaving back and forth
to prove it.
"Can I do anything for you, son?"
she said.
"Aren't you sore, Mom? Doesn't it
make you mad I should get drunk?" He
was pleading, and he was sober.
"No, Sean. I know how you feel," she
said. "Now go to bed and get some sleep.
You need your rest, son."
He turned and walked back to his
room. "I am all they have," he said to
himself. "They won't get mad, nothing
I ever do will make them not love me.
And I'm no good."
He undressed slowly, sitting on the

edge of his bed. When he had his
pajamas on he thought again. No good.
Live on the old man. Drunk. No good.
He snapped out the light, and whis-
pered in the darkness, "Oh god, please
give me something to do. I've got to
get something to do."
He would get a job. Today. He would
sleep until nine, and then he would get
up and look for a job. Before he went

to the bathroom he went to his mother's
room again. "Mom," he whispered. "Get
me up in the morning, will you please?"
His mother said she would, and when
he came out of the bathroom, Sean
thought to himself, "I'll get a job, I'll
get a job. I'm no good, but I'll get a
job. I've got to have something to do."
He lay flat on his back in bed and went
to sleep saying to himself, "I'll get
something to do. I'll get up this morn-
ing and look for a job. I won't be a
His mother didn't call him. "He needs
the rest," she told her husband. "He's
so run down. I'm worried about him."
"Sure' the father said. "Let him
(Continued from Page Six)
nificance and is known as Green
Thursday. Custom demands that on
this day something green must be eaten.
Dandelion is usually the earliest edible
product of the soil, so it is most often
selected. Good Friday has even more
import. In earlier days, severe restric-
tions were put on the observance of
the holiday. Sewing, traveling, haircut-
ting and even the wearing of new gar-
ments were forbidden. There is still
a general reverence for the day in farm
households, but the country people
think of Good Friday more in terms of
superstitions than of the older prohibi-
tions. The husband's eating of eggs
lai don Good Friday, for instance, is
supposed to insure that the next child
born to the family be a boy. To be
born on Good Friday is an evil omen,
while to die on that day is considered
assurance of salvation. These holidays,
then, aredefinitelya part of Penn-
sylvania Dutch foklife-
The farmstead in Pennsylvania must
also be considered in evaluating my
people. There is the old saying that
a diligent housewife is the best savings
box. Diligent is much too feeble a word
to describe the Pennsylvania Dutch
farmer, either man or woman. From
early morning until late at night, the
farming household spells work in cap-
ital letters. The farmer supplies his own
food, even to the rendering of his own
lard; he makes his own soap, clothes,
and utensils, and often, with the help
of his neighbors, builds his own house.
Yet Berks County farm houses, in
spite of their inelegant rag carpets and
musty smells, are very livable dwellings.
Rag carpets combine the thrifty and
the industrious qualities of these peo-
ple. Since wastefulness is sinful, all
worn out cloth materials are accumu-
lated, to be sewn together in narrow
strips, less than one inch wide. These
strips are then wound and sewn to-
gether to form an oval rug. Remnants
of cloth are sometimes utilized in
patchwork quilts, which are gaily-col-
ored, lightweight coverlets. Rocking
chairs are essential to every household.
but women should never be seen sit-
ting in them when there is work to be
done. Laziness is an inexcusable vice,
almost as serious as extravagance.
Moreover, the rocking chairs are a part
of the parlor, definitely a separate sec-
tion of the house. Most of the living
in these farmsteads is done in the
kitchen. Especially during the winter,
the shades are drawn and the shutters
closed in the parlor-thus, the musty
smell. In fact, only on special occasions,
such as funerals and weddings, is the
parlor ever used. Funerals are always

"big affairs" and so warrant a break
in the regular routine. When someone
dies in a Pennsylvania Dutch family,
it is customary for the nearest neigh-
bors to come in and take charge of the
household until the funeral is over. A
large meal at the house follows the
church service, and the guests eat in
relays at the overflowing dining-room
table. Strangely enough. raisin pie is

a delicacy reserved for such special oc-
casions. The neighbors prepare the
meal and serve it, not departing until
the last dish is washed. But this latter
part of the funeral borders on a family
reunion. Dusty old photograph albums
are taken down from the shelvts, and
all the relatives spend a deliglieul eve-
ming not only in reminescing on the
faults and fine points of the deceased
but also in discussing the price of cows,
the newest ginghams at the general
store, the last barn that burned, and
all the current gossip of the neighbor-
hood. Funerals are memorable occa-
sions indeed, and a stranger to the
regions would be appalled at the manner
in which the friends and relatives of
the deceased laugh and wax merry at
the end of what began to be an ex-
tremely solemn affair.
This, then, is a small part of the
story of the Pennsylvania Dutch, a
thrifty, cautious, friendly, individualis-
tic, and yet co-operative people, living
in a veritable world of their own. The
"Dutch," it is true, are comparatively
"undiscovered"; few American men '#
letters have taken our folklife as a
source of inspiration or have even in-
vestigated our ancestry. Yet my people
are proud of their heritage, and they
continue to live their conservative lives,
unconcerned with every new develop-
ment that springs up in the name of
progress, but fully aware that their
existence is providing them with an
abundance of geniality, happiness and
(Continued from Page Seven)
bottles as he jumped away. Everybody
Lou and Jakie then pretended they
were trying to step on his shoes, and
made him dance. But nobody dirtied
his clothes so he had as much fun as
they did.
When the dice game started, Mack
called Edgar over and said,
"Hows about it, Snow White? I'll
rent your "haid-fuzz" for a nickel to-
day. Okay?"
"Yo kin rub mah haid," Edgar said,
"but Ah doan wanna git mah clothes
dirty. Ise gonna stand up."
"So! You're better than me now that
you got new pants," Mack sneered, "You
can't squat down with me. You got to
stand up."
"Ah aint better than yo," Edgar said,
"Mah gramma say fo me not to think
Ise as good as white folks jes cause dey
gimme sumpin. She say white folks
give things so dey can feel better dan
de people whut gits em. Ah doan know
what she mean, but she say niggers
ain't gonna be as good as white folks
till dey kin give de white folks sumpin."
"Aw, quit the jawing and squat down
here," Mack snarled, reaching for Ed-
gar's arm.
Edgar dodged him saying, "Ah doan
wanna git mah clothes dirty."
The gang chuckled as Edgar got out
of reach and refused to come back.
Mack began to get mad. He jumped up
and darted for Edgar, hollering, "Come
here, you little black bastard!"
The gang burst out laughing. Edgar
ran behind trees and piles of boxes.
Mack chased him, cursing and getting
madder all the time. Just as he was
about to catch Edgar, the colored boy
jumped over a pop case that Mack
didn't see. He tripped on it and went
down in a heap.

The gang roared. Even Uncle Sid
cackled from behind a window. Edgar
looked back once and started running
for the railroad as fast as his new shoes
would carry him. Mack got up quick.
Too quick. He stumbled and sprawled
again. Tears rolled down Chubs face
and he shook all over with belly-laughs.
Mack was in a rage. He shouted to the

you sat in a restaurant and smoked
cigarettes your father paid for, and
drank coffee that cost a nickle a cup,
just the price he pays for a cigar, and
talked high talk about art, or wise talk
about life, and didn't study, just lived
there and had a fine time until things
started to go a little hard, and then
you quit, and your father came up and
got you, and both of them were so nice
about it, they sympathized with you,
and your mother cooked your favorite
foods, and your father gave you money
and said go down to the bookstore and
spend it all on books you wanted-re-
member that? All right, you rotten
bastard, what are you doing about it
now? Spending the old man's money in
a cheap, dirty pool room, being a wise
guy, one of the boys.
You and your poetry, Have you writ-
ten any of it since you got home? It
eias more important than going to
school, wasn't it? It was the most im-
portant thing in the world. You haven't
written a word, not a word. You're no
good to anybody in the world except
those two, and no matter how no good
you are, they'll never see it, or they'll
never admit it. But you know it, don't
you Sean? You can see what a crawl-
ing, snivelling little hound dog you are
-can't you?
Yes, yes-but I tried. I stayed up so
many nights, I got so tired, so tired.
My eyes were red and puffy in the

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