Friday, December 14, 2007

6 Million Paper Clips for a Memorial

WHITWELL, Tenn. -- It is a most unlikely place to build a Holocaust memorial, much less one that would get the attention of the president, that would become the subject of a book, that would become an international cause.

Yet it is here that a group of eighth-graders and their teachers decided to honor each of the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust by collecting 6 million paper clips and turning them into a sculpture.

This is remarkable because, for one thing, Whitwell, a town of 1,600 tucked away in a Tennessee Valley just west of the Smokeys, has no Jews.

In fact, Whitwell does not offer much opportunity to practice racial or religious tolerance of any kind. "Our community is white, Christian and very fundamentalist," says Linda Hooper, principal of the middle school, which has 425 students, including six blacks, one Hispanic, zero Asians, zero Catholics, zero Jews.

"During coal-mining days, we were a mixed community," explains the town's unofficial historian, Eulene Hewett Harris. "Now there are only a handful of black families left."

Whitwell is a town of two traffic lights, 10 churches and a collection of fast-food joints sprinkled along the main drag. It was a thriving coal town until 1962, when the last mine closed. Some of the cottages built by the mining companies still stand, their paint now chipped and their cluttered porches sagging. Trailers have replaced the houses that collapsed from age and neglect during lean economic times.

Only 40 miles up the road is Dayton, where the red-brick Rhea County Courthouse made history during the 1925 Scopes trial, the "monkey trial," in which teacher John T. Scopes was convicted of violating a Tennessee law that made it unlawful "to teach any theory that denies the story of Divine Creation" and to teach Darwinian evolutionary theory instead. Almost eight decades later, most people in this Sequatchie River Valley hold firmly to those beliefs under the watchful eyes of their church leaders.

"Look, we're not that far away from the Ku Klux Klan," founded only 100 miles west, in Pulaski, Tenn., says Hewett Harris. "I mean, in the 1950s they were still active here."

Such is the setting for a memorial not only to remember Holocaust victims but, above all, to sound a warning on what intolerance can wreak. The Whitwell students and teachers had no idea how many lives they were about to touch.

Math and History

The Holocaust project had its genesis in the summer of 1998 when Whitwell Middle's 31-year-old deputy principal and football coach, David Smith, attended a teacher training course in nearby Chattanooga. A seminar on the Holocaust as a teaching tool for tolerance intrigued him because the Holocaust had never been part of the middle school's curriculum and was mentioned only tangentially in the local high school.

He came back and proposed an after-school course that would be voluntary.

Principal Hooper, 59, loved the idea. "We just have to give our children a broader view of the world," she says. "We have to crack the shell of their white cocoon, to enable them to survive in the world out there."

She was nervous about how parents would react, and held a parent-teacher meeting. But when she asked the assembled adults if they knew anything about the Holocaust, only a few hands went up, hesitatingly. Hooper, who has lived in Whitwell most of her life and had taught some of the parents in elementary school, explained the basics.

Just one parent expressed misgivings: Should young teenagers be shown terrifying photos of naked, emaciated prisoners? Hooper admitted she wasn't sure. "Well," the father asked, "would you let your son take the class?"

Yes, she replied, and the father was on board.

There wasn't a question about who would teach it: Sandra Roberts, 30, the English and social sciences teacher, always a captivating storyteller..

In October 1998, Roberts and Smith held the first session. Fifteen students and almost as many parents showed up. Roberts began by reading aloud -- history books, "The Diary of Anne Frank," Elie Wiesel's "Night" --mostly because many of the students did not have the money to buy the books; 52 percent of Whitwell's students qualify for free lunch.

What gripped the eighth-graders most as the course progressed, was the sheer number of dead. Six million. The Nazis killed 6 million Jews. Can anyone really imagine 6 million of anything? They did calculations: If 6 million adults and children were to lie head to toe, the line would stretch from Washington to San Francisco and back.

One day, Roberts was explaining to the class that there were some good people in 1940s Europe who stood up for the Jews. After the Nazis invaded Norway, many courageous Norwegians expressed solidarity with their Jewish fellow citizens by pinning ordinary paper clips to their lapels.

One girl -- nobody remembers who it was -- said: Let's collect 6 million paper clips and turn them into a sculpture to remember the victims.

The idea caught on, and the students began bringing in paper clips, from home, from aunts and uncles and friends. Smith, as the school's computer expert, set up a Web page asking for donations of clips, one or two, or however many people wanted to send.

A few weeks later, the first letter arrived. One Lisa Sparks from Tyler, Tex., sent a handful. Then a letter landed from Colorado. . . .

By the end of the school year, the group had assembled 100,000 clips.

It occurred to the teachers that collecting 6 million paper clips at that rate would take a lifetime.

Help From Afar

Unexpected help came in late 1999 when two German journalists living in Washington, DC, stumbled across the Whitwell Web site. Peter Schroeder, 59, and Dagmar Schroeder-Hildebrand, 58, had been doing research at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, tracing concentration camp survivors to interview.

Schroeder-Hildebrand was author of "I'm Dying of Hunger," a book abouta camp survivor who devised imaginary dinners to survive; Peter had written "The Good Fortune of Lena Lieba Gitter," about a Viennese Jew who escaped the Nazis and devoted her life to civil rights.

The Whitwell Web site came up during a routine search under "Holocaust." The idea of American children in a conservative Southern town collecting paper clips intrigued the couple. They called the school, interviewed teachers and students by telephone, then wrote several articles for the nine newspapers they work for in Germany and Austria.

Whitwell and the Schroeders were hit with a blizzard of paper clips from the two countries. The couple soon had 46,000, filling several large plastic containers. The thing to do, they decided, was to drive them to Whitwell, 12 hours away.

They received a hero's welcome. The entire school showed up.

None of the eighth-graders had ever met anyone from outside the United States, let alone anyone from Germany, the country of the Holocaust perpetrators. At the end of the four-day visit, the students told their principal, "They are really quite normal."

The Schroeders were so touched they wrote a paperback about Whitwell. "The Paper Clip Project," which has not been translated into English, was published in September 2000, in time for Germany's largest book fair in Frankfurt.

The blizzard of clips became an avalanche.

Whitwell eighth-graders came to Washington in March last year to visit the Holocaust Museum. They went home carrying 24,000 more paper clips collected by the Schroeders. Airport security had trouble understanding why a bunch of teenagers and their teachers were transporting boxes and boxes of paper clips to Tennessee.

Linked to the Past

Just a year later, the Holocaust project has permeated the school. The after-school group is the most favored extracurricular activity -- students must compete in an essay contest for its 20 to 25 places. They've become used to being interviewed by local television and national radio. Foreign countries are no longer mysterious, with hundreds of letters bearing witness to them.

The group's activities have long spilled over from Robert's classroom. Across the hall, the students have created a concentration-camp simulation with paper cutouts of themselves pasted on the wall. Chicken wire stretches across the wall to represent electrified fences. Wire mesh is hung with shoes to represent the millions of shoes the victims left behind when they were marched to death chambers.

And every year now they reenact the "walk" to give students at least an inkling of what people must have felt when jackbooted Nazi guards marched them off to camps. The students are blindfolded, tied together by the wrists, roughly ordered onto a truck and driven to the woods. "I was truly scared," recalls Monica Hammers, a participant in last year's walk. "It made me think, and it made me realize that I have to put myself into other people's shoes."

Meanwhile, the counting goes on. It is daunting. On a late winter day, as the picturesque valley floor shows the first shimmer of soft green, 22 students gather for their Wednesday meeting. All wear the group's polo shirt, emblazoned: "Changing the World, One Clip at a Time." The neat white shirts conform to the school's dress code: solid-colored shirts devoid of large logos, solid-colored pants, knee-length shorts or skirts, worn with a belt. Many of the girls have attached colored paper clips to their collars.

These are no loose-mannered kids -- they reply "yes, ma'am" and "yes, sir." Even lunch in the cafeteria is disciplined and relatively quiet. Yet, there is an obvious and warm bond between students and teachers.

The group's first item of business is opening the mail that has accumulated during the past three days. That takes half of the two-to three-hour meeting. A large package has arrived from Germany, two smaller ones from Austria and more than a dozen letters. Laura Jefferies is in charge of the ledger and keeps a neat record of each sender's address, phone number and e-mail address. One group of students responds to the e-mails sent via their Web site,

Roberts opens the packages, which have been examined in the principal's office to make sure they contain nothing dangerous. "We've had a few negative letters from Holocaust deniers, but we have never received a threat," says the silver-haired Hooper. "But even if we did, we would go on. We cannot live in fear; that would defeat the entire purpose."

The large package, from a German school, contains about 40 letters, with paper clips pasted onto each page. Roberts sighs. "This is a huge amount of work," she says. "There are days when I wished we could just stop it. But it has gotten way beyond us. It's no longer about us. There is no way we could stop this now."

When the students fall behind, it's Roberts who spends hours sorting and filing.

The students crowd around Robert's desk and receive a letter at a time.

They carefully empty all paper clips onto little piles. Drew Shadrick, a strapping tackle on the football team, is the chief counter and stands over a three-foot-high white plastic barrel, about the size of an oil drum.

He counts each clip, drops it into the barrel, keeping track on a legal pad.

Two other barrels, which once contained Coca-Cola syrup and were donated by the corporation, are filled to the rim and sealed with transparent plastic. "It takes five strong guys to move one of those barrels," says Roberts.

Against the wall this day are stacks and stacks of boxes. In early February, an Atlanta synagogue had promised 1 million paper clips, and sure enough, a week later a pickup truck delivered 84 boxes bought from an office supply store. Half are still unopened.

All sorts of clips arrive -- silver-tone, bronze-tone, plastic-coated in all colors, small ones, large ones, round ones, triangular clips and artistic ones fashioned from wood.

Then there are the designs made of paper clips, neatly pasted onto letter paper. If removing the paper clips would destroy the design, the students count the clips, then replace them in the barrel with an equal number purchased by the group. The art is left intact.

Occasionally a check for a few dollars arrives. The money goes toward buying supplies. Both Roberts and Smith won teacher awards last year, and their $3,000 in prize money also went toward supplies, and helping students pay for what has become an annual trip to Washington and the Holocaust Museum.

The students file all letters, all scraps of paper, even the stamps, in large white ring binders. By now, 5,000 to 8,000 letters fill 14 neat binders.

The letters are from 19 countries and 45 states, and include dozens of rainbow pictures, and flowers, peace doves and swastikas crossed out with big red bars -- in the shape of paper clips. There are poems, personal stories.

"Today," one letter reads, "I am sending 71 paper clips to commemorate the 71 Jews who were deported from Bueckeburg."

One man sent five paper clips to commemorate his mother and four siblings murdered by the Nazis in Lithuania in November 1941.

"For my handicapped brother," says another letter. "I'm so glad he didn't live then; the Nazis would have killed him."

"For my grandmother," says another. "I'm so grateful she survived the camp."

"For my son, that he may live in peace," wrote a woman from Germany.

Last year, a letter containing eight paper clips came from President Clinton. Another arrived from Vice President Gore, a native of Tennessee, thanking the students for their "tireless efforts to preserve and promote human rights," but including no clips.

Every month, Smith writes dozens of celebrities, politicians and sports teams, requesting paper clips. He gets many refusals, form letters indicating that the addressee never saw the request. But clips came in from Tom Bosley (of TV's "Happy Days" fame), Henry Winkler (the Fonz), Tom Hanks, Elie Wiesel, Madeleine Albright. Among the football teams that contributed are the Tennessee Titans, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Indianapolis Colts and the Dallas Cowboys.

So many clips in memory of specific Holocaust victims have come in that one thing has become clear: Melting them into a statue would be inconceivable. Each paper clip should represent one victim, the students believe, and so a new idea has been hatched.

They want to get an authentic German railroad car from the 1940s, one that may have actually transported victims to camps. The car would be turned into a museum that would house all the paper clips, as well as display all the letters.

Dagmar and Peter Schroeder plan to travel to Germany next week to find a suitable railroad car and have it transported to Whitwell.

They are determined to find such a car and the necessary funding. Like counting the clips, the task is daunting.

Whitwell's Legacy

Whatever happens, for generations of Whitwell eighth- graders, a paper clip will never again be just a paper clip, but instead carry a message of patience, perseverance, empathy and tolerance.

Roberts, asked what she thought she had accomplished with the project so far, said: "Nobody put it better than Laurie Lynn [a student in last year's class]. She said, 'Now, when I see someone, I think before I speak, I think before I act, and I think before I judge.' "And Roberts adds: "That's all I could ever hope to achieve as a teacher."

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The German Ship that gave Moving Tribute to American Sailors

This is a moving email from a naval officer at sea. For those of us who are wondering what will happen next, this comes from an even more poignant perspective. Keep the military present in your hearts and minds as they await their duties. If you haven't served aboard ship -- "manning the rail" is a shipboard ceremony reserved for only high ranking dignitaries, such as Heads of State.

This is an e-mail from an Ensign stationed aboard the USS WINSTON CHURCHILL.

Dear Dad, Well, we are still out at sea, with little direction as to what our next priority is. The remainder of our port visits, which were to be centered around max liberty and goodwill to the United Kingdom, have all but been cancelled. We have spent every day since the attacks going back and forth within imaginary boxes drawn in the ocean, standing high-security watches, and trying to make the best of our time. It hasn't been that fun I must confess, and to be even more honest, a lot of people are frustrated at the fact that they either can't be home, or we don't have more direction right now. We have seen the articles and the photographs, and they are sickening. Being isolated as we are, I don't think we appreciate the full scope of what is happening back home, but we are definitely feeling the effects.

About two hours ago the junior officers were called to the bridge to conduct Shiphandling drills. We were about to do a man overboard when we got a call from the LUTJENS(D185), a German warship that was moored ahead of us on the pier in Plymouth, England. While in port, the WINSTONS CHURCHILL and the LUTJENS got together for a sports day/cookout on our fantail, and we made some pretty good friends. Now at sea they called over on bridge-to-bridge, requesting to pass us close up on our port side, to say good-bye. We prepared to render them honors on the bridgewing, and the Captain told the crew to come topside to wish them farewell.

As they were making their approach, our Conning Officer announced through her binoculars that they were flying an American flag. As they came even closer, we saw that it was flying at half-mast. The bridgewing was crowded with people as the Boatswain's Mate blew two whistles - Attention to Port - the ship came up alongside and we saw that the entire crew of the German ship were manning the rails, in their dress blues. They had made up a sign that was displayed on the side that read "We Stand By You." Needless to say there was not a dry eye on the bridge as they stayed alongside us for a few minutes and we cut our salutes.

It was probably the most powerful thing I have seen in my entire life and more than a few of us fought to retain our composure. It was a beautiful day outside today. We are no longer at liberty to divulge over unsecure e-mail our location, but we could not have asked for a finer day at sea. The German Navy did an incredible thing for this crew, and it has truly been the highest point in the days since the attacks. It's amazing to think that only a half-century ago things were quite different, and to see the unity that is being demonstrated throughout Europe and the world makes us all feel proud to be out here doing our job.

After the ship pulled away and we prepared to begin our man overboard drills the Officer of the Deck turned to me and said "I'm staying Navy."

I'll write you when I know more about when I'll be home, but for now, this is probably the best news that I could send you. Love you guys.

The Private Train That Took Wounded Vets to the Army Navy Game in 2005

According to Ronnie Polaneczky of the Philadelphia Daily News, this story is true. The story circulated in the email was written by him for the Philadelphia Daily News and published on December 22, 2005.

AND NOW, in time for the holidays, I bring you the best Christmas story you never heard.

It started last Christmas, when Bennett and Vivian Levin were overwhelmed by sadness while listening to radio reports of injured American troops. "We have to let them know we care," Vivian told Bennett. So they organized a trip to bring soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philly, on Dec. 3.

The cool part is, they created their own train line to do it. Yes, there are people in this country who actually own real trains. Bennett Levin - native Philly guy, self-made millionaire and irascible former L&I commish - is one of them.

He has three luxury rail cars. Think mahogany paneling, plush seating and white-linen dining areas. He also has two locomotives, which he stores at his Juniata Park train yard. One car, the elegant Pennsylvania, carried John F. Kennedy to the Army-Navy game in 1961 and '62. Later, it carried his brother Bobby's body to D.C. for burial. "That's a lot of history for one car," says Bennett.

He and Vivian wanted to revive a tradition that endured from 1936 to 1975, during which trains carried Army-Navy spectators from around the country directly to the stadium where the annual game is played. The Levins could think of no better passengers to reinstate the ceremonial ride than the wounded men and women recovering at Walter Reed in D.C. and Bethesda, in Maryland. "We wanted to give them a first-class experience," says Bennett. "Gourmet meals on board, private transportation from the train to the stadium, perfect seats - real hero treatment."

Through the Army War College Foundation, of which he is a trustee, Bennett met with Walter Reed's commanding general, who loved the idea. But Bennett had some ground rules first, all designed to keep the focus on the troops alone:

No press on the trip, lest the soldiers' day of pampering devolve into a media circus.

No politicians either, because, says Bennett, "I didn't want some idiot making this trip into a campaign photo op."

And no Pentagon suits on board, otherwise the soldiers would be too busy saluting superiors to relax.

The general agreed to the conditions, and Bennett realized he had a problem on his hands. "I had to actually make this thing happen," he laughs.

Over the next months, he recruited owners of 15 other sumptuous rail cars from around the country - these people tend to know each other - into lending their vehicles for the day. The name of their temporary train? The Liberty Limited.

Amtrak volunteered to transport the cars to D.C. - where they'd be coupled together for the round-trip ride to Philly - then back to their owners later.

Conrail offered to service the Liberty while it was in Philly. And SEPTA drivers would bus the disabled soldiers 200 yards from the train to Lincoln Financial Field, for the game.

A benefactor from the War College ponied up 100 seats to the game - on the 50-yard line - and lunch in a hospitality suite.

And corporate donors filled, for free and without asking for publicity, goodie bags for attendees:

From Woolrich, stadium blankets. >From Wal-Mart, digital cameras. From Nikon, field glasses. >From GEAR, down jackets.

There was booty not just for the soldiers, but for their guests, too, since each was allowed to bring a friend or family member.

The Marines, though, declined the offer. "They voted not to take guests with them, so they could take more Marines," says Levin, choking up at the memory.

Bennett's an emotional guy, so he was worried about how he'd react to meeting the 88 troops and guests at D.C.'s Union Station, where the trip originated. Some GIs were missing limbs. Others were wheelchair-bound or accompanied by medical personnel for the day. "They made it easy to be with them," he says. "They were all smiles on the ride to Philly. Not an ounce of self-pity from any of them. They're so full of life and determination."

At the stadium, the troops reveled in the game, recalls Bennett. Not even Army's lopsided loss to Navy could deflate the group's rollicking mood.

Afterward, it was back to the train and yet another gourmet meal - heroes get hungry, says Levin - before returning to Walter Reed and Bethesda. "The day was spectacular," says Levin. "It was all about these kids. It was awesome to be part of it."

The most poignant moment for the Levins was when 11 Marines hugged them goodbye, then sang them the Marine Hymn on the platform at Union Station.

"One of the guys was blind, but he said, 'I can't see you, but man, you must be f---ing beautiful!' " says Bennett. "I got a lump so big in my throat, I couldn't even answer him."

It's been three weeks, but the Levins and their guests are still feeling the day's love. "My Christmas came early," says Levin, who is Jewish and who loves the Christmas season. "I can't describe the feeling in the air." Maybe it was hope.

As one guest wrote in a thank-you note to Bennett and Vivian, "The fond memories generated last Saturday will sustain us all - whatever the future may bring."

God bless the Levins.

And bless the troops, every one.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Little Firefighter

In Phoenix, Arizona, a 26-year-old mother stared down at her son who was dying of terminal leukemia. Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of determination. Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up and fulfill all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible. The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's dreams to come true. She took her son's hand and asked, "Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up? Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life?"

Mommy, "I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up." Mom smiled back and said, "Let's see if we can make your wish come true." Later that day she went to her local fire department in Phoenix, Arizona, where she met Fireman Bob, who had a heart as big as Phoenix. She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be possible to give her six-year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, "Look, we can do better than that. If you'll have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll make him an honorary fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards! And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform for him, with a real fire hat-not a toy one-with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we wear and rubber boots. They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix, so we can get them fast."

Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his fire uniform and escorted him from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck. Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station.

He was in heaven. There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy got to go out on all three calls. He rode in the different fire engines, the paramedic's van, and even the fire chief's car. He was also videotaped for the local news program. Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.

One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital. Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition. The chief replied, "We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes. Will you please do me a favor? When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce over the PA system that there is not a fire? It's just the fire department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room?"

About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy's third floor open window. Five firefighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room. With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they loved him.

With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and said, "Chief, am I really a fireman now?"

"Billy, you are, and the Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand," the chief said. With those words, Billy smiled and said, "I know, He's been holding my hand all day, and the angels have been singing." He closed his eyes one last time.


My favourite inspirational poem: :-)
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,

and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,

even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;

for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;

it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;

many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love,

for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;

you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,

no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,

and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,

keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann c.1920

Paid In Full with a Glass of Milk

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry.

He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked, "How much do I owe you?" "You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness." He said..... "Then I thank you from my heart."

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Year's later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to room. Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case. After a long struggle, the battle was won.

Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words..... "Paid in full with one glass of milk"

Signed Dr. Howard Kelly. Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: "Thank You, God, that Your love has spread abroad through human hearts and hands."

The Hospital Window

A great story for all to read it will take just a minute to read this and change your thinking. Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it. In his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."


There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.