The Ladies Page

Brandon Wisconsin R R-2 Zip-53919

The bright-eyed smile that greeted us from the front cover of
the July-August issue of IRON MEN ALBUM has stayed with me since
the arrival of the magazine. Surely here was a man who had a great
anticipation into age. Anna Mae’s tribute is an excellent piece
of writing. She covered, so well, the spirit of a dedicated man,
with an earthly goal, yes, even several of them , and yet one knew
upon meeting him, that eternal things were of the utmost importance
to him. Elmer Ritzman was a WHOLE man, ‘thoroughly furnished
unto all good works.’ II Timothy 3:17.

It has been my privilege to meet another lady of this caliber
just two weeks ago. This year the National Federation of State
Poetry Societies held their meeting at Edgewood College in Madison.
Now there was only one drawback to my going. I do not enjoy driving
in Madison. It took some extra prayer to give me the courage to
start on my way. The traffic was not too heavy on that Wednesday. I
was into the city within an hour and a half. But then I ran into a
detour on Regent Street. A DETOUR IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL THAT
TRAFFIC! My heart sank into my shoes. I couldn’t stop anywhere,
for there was no place to stop. Finally I crawled into a parking
lot to think, asked a man some questions, but he was from out of
town as well. So, mustering all my courage I started back into the
melee. If I could find University Avenue I thought I could find the
place I was going.

Between a Standard Station attendant, and one old gentleman who
was screaming his displeasure at the neighbor children, I finally
found Edgewood College. What a peaceful place in the midst of
bedlam! I drove into this haven of rest with a deep sigh of
gratitude. I had been in Madison an hour before I reached my
destination. I had begun to wonder why I had come. The next morning
I woke up half sick. By that evening I was considering going home.
I thought I would attack those city streets at five A.M. But by the
time five A.M. arrived I was feeling better.

It was the evening of that day that I met Ruth Mary Fox, and I
began to appreciate why all the struggle. Here was another saintly
bright-eyed elderly person who literally took me under her wing.
She gave me more encouragement on my poetic road than I have had
for years. Here was a Professor Emeritus of Humanities who asked to
buy one of my few remaining poetry books. Her comments were the
most exhilarating thing I had encountered in years of toil and
frustration.

This lovely lady of letters invited me to her apartment, and
even showed me her library. I have an invitation to ‘spend a
day or two with her soon.’ She has been the teacher of thirty
thousand students at the University there and her knowledge of
literature surely must be most comprehensive.

It was hard for me to leave my newfound friend. When I was
packed, ready for trying to find my way home, we stood in the
meeting room , hands clasped. We parted with these words …
‘Well, if we don’t see each other here again on earth,
we’ll meet up in heaven.’ I had found a new spiritual
mother, and I went on my way rejoicing. Also I had learned how I
could sneak out of town the ‘back way’ so to speak, and in
no time at all we were in open country. I had a passenger who I was
giving a lift, part way.

But my encounters with great older people had not come to an
end. On Sunday evening my husband and I went to an Assembly of God
church to hear an old friend and neighbor tell of her experiences
as she spent eight years as a teacher of English in a Mission
School in Nigeria. And she is going back, even though she is
nearing seventy. By a sheer miracle her permission came
through.

As she spoke to us she told of the blessing of gray hair. It
seemed to make her trust worthy to those Africans she came in
contact with. She had this same marvelous glow of peace and joy
which is reflected from Elmer’s face, and also the face of Ruth
Mary Fox. Two wonderful people on this side of the Great Divide,
one gone on to see the glories over there! How rich my life has
been these past few weeks because of a glimpse of things to
come.

Maude Florida, at The Assembly, had found her place there. Ruth
Mary Fox was Catholic, Elmer’s denomination is unknown to me,
and we go to the Reformed Church in America. Yet across all of
these human lines God’s Spirit has stepped and given to me a
great deal to go on. The way has grown so much clearer, and I find
my faith restored in sumptuous measure. I treasure the few letters
I have from Elmer. The line that stands out is in a letter written
March 2, 1959. I quote. ‘You may know I was a minister for 43
years and your kind of articles is my kind of preaching.’
Unquote. From that day on, there was no stopping me on The
Ladies’ Page. A great man had given me a shot in the arm, and
when the editor likes what you and your typewriter come up with,
YOU are set.

Now I find the challenge before me ‘Go and do thou
likewise.’ How many people there are in our world who need
encouragement! How much these smiles, created in heaven, are needed
on earth! And we have to remember, we can not be this kind of
blessing, unless we go to the source of blessing for our supply. So
the challenge is before all of us.

Without it we may fall flat on our faces.

This trio of friends has kept the challenge into the years when
many people retire to sit down and relax, and consequently shrivel.
It was then that they really blossomed forth in full glory. As a
result I have been strengthened and rejuvenated by these contacts
in the last two weeks.

Two weeks from now we put on the last wedding the family
requires. As I contemplate all the hubbub of being the mother of
the bride, plus a house full of guests, I can keep my sights
beyond. Amidst the joy of glad reunions, and the beauty of young
love finding fulfillment, I shall be able to say, ‘The best is
yet to be,’ and really believe it.

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