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My Vacation - Chapter 14

Submitted by:
Kay Cunningham

My Vacation

Chapter 14


     The Writer had not had a vacation for the past four years - during the strenuous war times, and hence, decided that a vacation was necessary because his brain had become almost threadbare; he hied himself to the regions of the Ozarks in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, as guest of the John E. Brown University.
     In 1915, the Reverend John E. Brown, a very wonderful Evangelist, held a meeting in Marlin when Dr. W. F. Packard was pastor here. He was such a dynamic, charming, interesting man, and had a dream then in his mind of a university that would be devoted to vocational and general training. He began in 1919 this university in Siloam Springs.
     He talked with the writer frequently about this undertaking, which was in perfect harmony with my own ideas that the universities and schools were not then practical and should have much more vocational training instead of dead languages and the things that were of no practical everyday benefit.
     Dr. John E. Brown now has four schools. The one at Sulphur, Arkansas, is a military school for boys, and the main university at Siloam Springs, which has more than four hundred students during the winter time with more than twenty-five teachers and instructors all with degrees. He also has one at Glendora, California, for girls, and one in San Diego, California, for boys, of the military type. These universities are carrying on a great work with about a thousand students a year. That is one man whose dreams came true. A religious atmosphere pervades the entire institution.
     He was the youngest college president in the United States before he was in Marlin, being only twenty-one years of age, at the time that he was president of a school in Missouri.
     He is a wonderful, dynamic man. He gives lectures and preaches evangelical sermons frequently at the present time, and has built up, by his own work and contributions to this university, a large fund worth more than two million dollars. His son, John E., Jr., is vice president of the corporation and is helping carryon the work in a fine way.
     I gave a talk to the school which was broadcast over radio station KUOA. My subject was, "YOUR BODY, THE TEMPLE OF YOUR MIND AND SOUL."
     Mr. Clark Sparks sang a beautiful song the morning I spoke. He is the music teacher for the two schools in California.
     My gracious hostesses, while on the university campus, were Misses Luella Smith and Genelle Allison, two most charming young ladies, who were tireless in their efforts to make my stay pleasant.
     On this vacation, the writer attended the dedication of the permanent headquarters of the Avalon National Poetry Shrine, which took place on August 25. Lilith Lorraine is founder and director of this organization which is the world's largest school of writing and which gives free training to more than 400 poets each year as well as free marketing advice and publication opportunities through its national general interest magazine, Different.
     The Shrine is located on Mt. Avalon, about seven miles from Rogers, Arkansas, on the White River, in one of the most scenic spots of the Ozarks. Writers from several states including Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Washington, D. C., Texas, Tennessee, and others attended the dedication, concerning which only one month's notice was possible, owing to uncertainty of date of completion of the building.
     The Shrine marks a milestone in the dream of its founder, who believes that poetry, next to religion, is the world's greatest inspiring force, as it gives us the blueprints for higher and better civilization, and who has built the organization for the purpose of raising the standard of American poetry and aiding the poet to make of himself a leader and a teacher of mankind.
     It was a great privilege to meet these writers, many of whom are nationally famous, and the memory of the occasion will not be forgotten.
     The writer, who is one of the national counselors of the organization, gave a poem honoring poets, painters and musicians. This poem is also framed and on permanent display at the Shrine.


(Dedicated to Dr. J. W. Torbett) 

     "His life has been more than the act of living, More than the miracle born of breath,
     For his glowing faith and his gracious giving
     From the dawn of birth to the door of death Has been like a hand to hand outreaching
     Out of the shadows to lift the pall
     Of fear and terror with kindly teaching
     That God is present and God is all.
     For he who brings back to the world the wonder
     Of gentle kindness and simple worth,
     Replants the gardens that hate plows under,
     Restores the visions of peace on earth.
     For so long as such dreamers believe and plan
     God will be glad that he fashioned man."

-Lilith Lorraine.


     Another man whose dreams have come true in a big way is Father Flanagan of Boys' Town, Nebraska. He wrote me, recently, that he started his work twenty-nine years ago with five homeless boys, with $90.00 he borrowed the same time that I became a member of the board of the Methodist Home in Waco. Eight hundred and fifty of his boys were in the war; and thirty-seven were killed.
     He is now looking after more than five hundred boys, making first-class citizens out of the ones that would be potential criminals and a dead weight on society. He has plans, he says, for enlarging the institution so that he may take care of one thousand-many of whom are already on the waiting list. May God speed him in his great work 'that it may go down the years to come. He has the institution incorporated so it will do so.



     The fourth one who had great dreams and has made them come true is Hubert Johnson, superintendent of the Methodist Home in Waco. He succeeded the late W. F. Barnett, who did a great work in improving the institution that had already been started.
     Joe Perkins of Wichita Falls had an architect, Hubert Hare, make plans and formulate a replica of the future institution several years ago. It represents Mr. Johnson's vision.
     On the hill around the chapel now are five homes for boys and girls. Very few of us thought that it would ever be possible. Now the hill is covered with the five buildings and the chapel given by Dr. Harrell, at my request. The institution is caring for more than four hundred children, making first-class citizens out of them.
     A splendid board of high-class Christian ministers, business men and women are giving their time and money in helping to make one of the greatest institutions of its kind in the United States. They could not be hired!
     In looking back over the growth of the Home, Evangelist Abe Mulkey, doubtless, did more for the financial and Christian support than anyone person. He preached it in every meeting and conference. He took up collections in wash tubs and wash bowls, always getting generous response.
     He nominated me as chairman of the board in 1920 and said: "Doc, this will be the biggest and most important work of your life."
     After a meeting he held in East Texas he said, "That was the sweetest meeting I ever held; the people gave me 30 many barrels of molasses for the children of the Home." We did not know then the value of molasses in terms of iron and vitamins that it contains.



   I'm just a dreamer with a mission -
       Just to help folks dare and do --
   Body, soul and mind physician;
       May I help your dreams come true?
   I would not "live by the side of the road"
       And watch the world go by;
   I'd rather walk and bear my load
       In the midst of the crowd who try;
   Along with men, and women too,
       Who bear the burdens of life;
   Who live and love, with hearts still true,
       In meeting the storms and strife.
   I would clasp the hands of those who toil
       In the road of life each day;
   Who earn their bread from God's own soil 
       And plant sweet flowers by the way;
   Who love and serve their fellowman
       And live not selfishly for gain -
   Yes, I would mix with the hurrying throng
       To share its joy and pain.

-         J. W. Torbett, Sr., M.D.


On our bulletin board my first motto was:

                                                                      Back home again so very glad,
                                                                           Best vacation I ever had,
                                                                   That shows Arkansas isn't so bad.

     It is a fine state and is coming to the front in many ways. They have a very low death rate.
     My first Sunday at home, September 8, a program over Radio Station KWTX gave a fifteen-minute program at 12:30 P. M. A most beautiful program of music and a fine tribute to me sponsored by the Wolfe Brothers, Tom and George, Florists of Waco. It was "An Orchid to You." I received a beautiful orchid. The tribute was beautiful and was written by Mrs. Elizabeth Tirey Everett of Waco. I received many telephone calls of congratulations and I am still receiving cards and letters from friends who heard the program.
     There are many more important things yet that I must do.



     His last words whispered to a friend, "Be ashamed to die until you have done something for humanity worth while." He founded our public free school system.



     "I will let no man drag me down so low that I will hate him."


     I must express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the loyal doctors, nurses and other assistants, both white and colored, who have been so faithful and efficient during the past fifty years in both the Hospital and Majestic Hotel. In times of depression, when I lost money, they all received a fair wage and worked that much harder. In times of prosperity they always received a bonus. Dr. Watts and John Earl passed on still serving. Miss Kerwin has been mentioned. Miss Mary Valigura came to us as a patient when 15 years old and has grown in size and efficiency with the institution. Mrs. Addie Lebrecht Briggs has been our efficient bookkeeper and business manager since her high school days. She keeps up with every dime. Mrs. Bessie Kate Glass, our receptionist, with her big brown eyes, is known and loved by thousands everywhere. She recently passed on.

Good-bye, Bonnie Bessie, God Bless You!
Good-bye, our friend of many years,
You would not say good-bye with tears
But with a smile that friendly way
You said good-bye to friends each day,
Then waved your hand a glad amen,
"Wel'll meet some time, come back again."

     Cam and Ernest Fannin helped give us a start. Elgin Tubb, hotel and bath house manager, has been with us many years. Brother Frank is the factotum and does everything.
     Also my appreciation to the ones who have been of great assistance in making this book possible - Bishop H. A. Boaz, Lilith Loraine, Frances Poindexter, and my sister-in- law, Johnnie King Brooks.
George English and George Banks are two of the most faithful and efficient negroes I ever knew. I assisted in the funerals of eight of our colored help. Others who served long and well and who have passed on are Aunt Dorcas and Aunt Mary. They both knew human beings well. Faithful Isaac and Butler were both loyal. Jefferson and Maggy were both sweet singers. Others are Oliver, Joe and Jim.



Each morning when I wake in bed
I have a motto in my head,
When I get up I write it down
To start a smile and not a frown,
A smile to last throughout the day
To drive the gloom and blues away.


God, give me Faith and Wisdom, too,
To do with joy what I should do,
My health and strength each day renew
In paths of Peace that I pursue.


Lord, help me sleep that I may keep
My health and strength and joy and power
To do the tasks that duty asks
So that each morning I can say:
"I'm growing better ev'ry day."
J. W. TORBETT, SR., M.D., F.A., C.P.


This happy book right here now ends,
If it helps you, please tell your friends;
If you can help to make it better,
Please tell me how, in one short letter.

     *As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is."