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From the mailbox.

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The year was 1930, the small town was Sumiton, Ala. Two brothers lived in Sumiton. Lou was 8 and Jesse was 10. The Great Depression was still going strong, and their mother, a widow with six children, was struggling along with the rest of the nation.

Jesse and Lou were sidekicks, and whatever Jesse said was gospel. So when he saw an application for paperboys in the GRIT, he decided that he and his brother could help their mother. They applied and were hired. They were in business.

In those days, the price of one issue of the magazine was a nickel. The boys were to keep 2 cents and send 3 cents back to the GRIT. They received 20 papers each month. It looked like big money until they started dividing it between themselves and the GRIT. Jesse decided they were doing all the work and the GRIT was getting the big money

He told Lou, "We're not sending them any more money; we're keeping it for ourselves."

Lou was scared, but Jesse had made up his mind.

It took about three months for the people at the GRIT to figure out that they had been had and that the two boys had absconded with the money But finally they sent the Big Notice--the one the boys had been dreading.

Lou looked in the mailbox and saw the notice. They were both terrified. They grabbed the letter, ran past Mr. Gravelee's house and hid in the woods. They sat there, just looking at it for a while, shaking in their boots. Finally they opened it.

It was official, and it was frightening. It read, "We are staying on your track until you send the money back."

Lou and Jesse spent many long, uncomfortable weeks looking over their shoulders, checking out the Greyhound buses for out-of-town tags. They knew that behind every tree was the dreaded GRIT collector.

I have heard this story many times in my life, but today when my dad (we'll call him Jesse) told the story again, he said, "If the GRIT was still in operation, I'd just send them $20. to make up for the folly of my youth."

So I got on the computer and found that GRIT is still in business after all these years.

Dad said to tell you that the mind is like a railroad track. Words and deeds will climb aboard and ride around and around as a constant reminder of the things we say and do. So, you were tight after all, "You stayed on my track until I sent the money back."

Enclosed please find $20 and the sincere apology of Jesse. Lou was always the tender-hearted one and has gone to be with the Lord, but Jesse thinks his brother is pleased with this confession and perhaps even had something to do with it.

Daryl Pitts and J.G. Lazenby

Helena, Ala.

P.S. He thought about sending $50, but decided to keep $30 .for himself and send you the $20!

Editor's Note: Enclosed with the letter was $20.

A New Reader of GRIT

I am a new reader of GRIT, and I already love it. I' have limited eyesight and have to read everything with a powerful magnifying glass, but I read my GRIT from front to back.

Gloria Gouveia

Live Oak, Calif.

Books Available

I'm curious as to what happened to Chris Benguhe's column, "Triumphs of the Heart." I have one of his books and really enjoy it.

I really enjoy GRIT and Capper's. I feel they are the only papers/magazines worth reading for news, and they always have great stories and articles.

Keep up the good work.

Connie Denault

Kankakee, Ill.

Editor's Note: Chris Benguhe is no longer writing a column for us, but his two books, "Triumphs of the Heart" Books I and II, are available through the GRIT Family Bookstore. The cost of each volume is $9.95, and they can be ordered by calling, toll-free, 1 (866) 803-7096.

Watertown Update

This letter is to sincerely thank you answering my request for news of my old hometown, Watertown, N.Y (Friends and Neighbors, July 7). have received so many letters from people all over the United States, from Washington state to Florida. I even received two issues of the Daily Watertown Times newspaper.

I lived there from 1908 to 1919, when my father was laid off from his job as a fireman on the New York Central Railroad. My father went back to farming in Lorraine, N.Y, so I was a farm girl until I left home, at age 17, to find work in Watertown.

When World War II broke out, I was married and had three children. My husband found work as a machinist in a government plant. So I went back to Watertown until after the war, when we moved to California.

It was so nice to read about and see photographs of the old Watertown, way before the 1900s. People are so helpful when anyone asks for information. I can hardly believe that so many have taken the time to write.

I will be a subscriber as long as I can read GRIT.

Helen Cutting

Redlands, Calif.

Singing Thanks

Just in case I miss anyone, I wanted say thanks to each and every person who sent me the words to the songs I requested in Friends and Neighbors in the July 21 issue.

Thanks a million for being so helpful and kind.

Grace Ramey

North Vernon, Ind.

Memories of crested Butte

We were very interested in the article and photograph about Crested Butte, Colo., written by Lee Hill-Nelson.("Colorado Town on the Edge of Paradise," Aug. 18).

In the summer of 1966, before it became a tourist attraction with a ski resort, we spent two weeks there. It was just an old mining town then.

We lived in the parsonage, and my husband preached in the little church for two Sundays. It was staffed, only in the summer, so free housing took the place of payment for the pastor. Howie had a wedding while we were there, and the newlyweds took off after the ceremony at full, speed on a motorcycle. During the winter, the parsonage served the ski patrol.

It was a unique vacation and one long remembered by our family.

Wahneta Bischoff

Blue Springs, Mo.

Pattern Patter

This is a thank-you note to all the lovely ladies who answered my request for a popcorn afghan pattern (Friends and Neighbors, July 21). I tried to answer them all, but if I missed anyone, please consider this a grateful note expressing my deep thank-you for your kindness.

June Smith

Port Charlotte, Fla.

Wonderful Magazine

I went up to my attic and found copies of GRIT magazine that I had ordered from 1977 to 1981. I've been going through the yellow, brittle pages for weeks, and I am amazed at the many interesting items. Your magazine was wonderful. Thanks for the memories, and I hope your magazine continues.

I just wish inflation and progress had not changed the simple wonderful life we had then. I am a retired deputy sheriff a can relax and read again. Thank you.

William Green

Apopka, Fla.


GRIT welcomes letters from readers. If you'd like to comment on a story or share your opinion, send a letter to: GRIT, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265. Letters should be under 300 words; they may be edited or shortened.

GRIT is Looking for Heroes

Does someone in your life encourage and inspire you? What makes this person so special? Why do you consider him or her a hero? We'd like to hear about your nominees for True GRIT Awards. Tell us, in 800 words or less, about an everyday hero in your life. Mail to: True GRIT Heroes, c/o GRIT Magazine, 1503 S. W 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265. Please include your daytime telephone number and an SASE for photo return.

Nominations are due by Oct. 15.
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Date:Sep 29, 2002
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