The Charlotte News

Thursday, September 29, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Denver that the President had another very good night the previous night, according to doctors, as he had slept almost continuously under his oxygen tent for more than nine hours. The doctors said that rest and sleep were essential for repairing his damaged heart and putting him on the road to recovery, that the nine hours of sleep were thus an encouraging sign. There was an atmosphere of increasing optimism, though restrained, that he would make a full recovery, though there was still an inclination to say that he probably would reject any attempt to get him to run for a second term. In Washington, however, there was a surge of hope this date that he might still be a candidate, based in part on a member of the Cabinet having told a group of money-raisers for the party that there was no definite reason for him not to be a candidate.

In Mexico City, it was reported that Hurricane Janet, which had claimed at least 350 lives, was driving relentlessly toward the Mexican Gulf Coast this date, predicted to hit between Veracruz and Tuxpan, probably at the tropical seaport of Nautla, 100 miles north of Veracruz. Cities and towns along a 400-mile strip of Mexico's east coast had been battered. The storm was so widespread that the Mexican Weather Bureau said that it would be felt from north of Tampico to the Guatemalan border. Tampico was recovering from two previous hurricanes and a record flood, and had reported an outbreak of typhoid the previous day, with an earlier outbreak of dysentery having been partially brought under control. Janet was Mexico's third major disaster within ten days, after Hurricane Gladys had killed an estimated 297 persons and a train had exploded near Torreon, killing about 30 persons and cutting western rail traffic. Janet had claimed an estimated 200 lives in the Caribbean area and probably 150 or more on the Yucatán Peninsula, where it had hit with 115 mph winds the previous day, leveling three towns. First reports indicated that 200 people were killed on the peninsula, but the Government later revised those figures downward, indicating, however, that it was impossible to obtain accurate reports because of communications lines having been disrupted. Crops in the area were also destroyed, with Yucatán being a major producer of henequen for hemp, loss of which would place an additional strain on the national economy, already adversely impacted by Gladys.

In San Francisco, prosecutors promised this date vigorous prosecution of the woman who had allegedly taken the two-day old infant from his crib at Mt. Zion Hospital ten days earlier, after she had turned herself in the previous day by calling the infant's father on the telephone in a fit of conscience and reported her whereabouts in Stockton. A deputy sheriff, shortly before the phone call, had spotted the woman with the baby at the prize fights in Stockton on Tuesday night. While the deputy had investigated the woman's story that the infant belonged to her, she telephoned the physician father of the baby in San Francisco and said that she would deliver the baby to him in Stockton. The accused woman was being held under guard in a psychiatric ward in San Francisco Hospital after collapsing. Her story of motherly love and irresistible maternal instinct had been denounced by her mother, who said that her daughter had abandoned her only natural child, a daughter, ten years earlier. The woman said that remorse and sympathy for the infant's mother, who had become desperately ill in the wake of the snatching of her newborn, had prompted her to return the boy. The San Francisco District Attorney's office said that they would seek an indictment for kidnaping when the county grand jury met the following Monday night, and would prosecute the case vigorously, saying that the only reason the defendant had returned the child was because she believed her capture to be imminent. She said that she took the child after telling her husband a series of lies, leading him to believe that she had given birth to the child in a southern California hospital late in August, a ruse, she said, which had developed out of her embarrassment at being kidded for being fat, causing her to claim that she was pregnant, then going to visit her mother in Los Angeles where her mother placed her on a diet, and after losing a lot of weight, claimed to her husband that she had given birth. She said repeatedly, "I had to have a baby." The parents of the child were planning to take him home this date to Daly City, just south of San Francisco. The father said that he had no antagonistic feelings toward the woman who snatched the child, that she was "purely an abstraction" to him, and he was grateful that she had taken "wonderful care of the baby."

In Raleigh, Governor Luther Hodges told newsmen this date that his prodding of Federal officials to obtain assistance for hurricane-stricken farmers had brought results. The prior Saturday, he had said angrily that he was "sick and tired" of delays from Federal officials and that he had been assured that the needs of livestock farmers for emergency feeds was being investigated and that the Farmers Home Administration was relaxing its credit requirements. He said that the Agriculture Department was trying to cooperate but that there were people down the line dragging their feet because of technicalities. He also stated in response to questions that he believed his urging of black and white parents voluntarily to continue school segregation was "working very well". A reporter for the Greensboro Daily News had stated that his understanding was that the Wake County delegation to the Young Democrats Club planned to offer a resolution at its convention in Durham during the week, which would urge a special session of the Legislature to study the question of submitting the issue of having public or private schools to a statewide vote. The Governor responded that he did not wish to comment on what the YDC would do and that he did not believe people should be "stirring this thing up too much". He said that the General Assembly had adopted a resolution opposing integration in the schools and added that if in the future, it became evident that his voluntary plan was not working, action by the Legislature or a vote by the people might be necessary. He also said that the SBI was investigating alleged paint thefts in the Highway Department, after it had been reported that such thefts had been ongoing for some time, it having been estimated that around 1,000 gallons of paint had been stolen and sold. Look for any cars with double yellow or broken white stripes down their middle.

In Wentworth By-the-Sea, N.H., the Northern Textile Association heard this date that in July and August, Japan had earmarked for export to the U.S., cotton goods exceeding the total production of all New England mills for that time period. The Association adopted a resolution calling for establishment by the Government of import limitations on every type of textile and apparel so that unemployment of American workers would neither be threatened, caused, nor aggravated, and so that there would be no industry curtailment or loss to stockholders. The Northern textile mills were seeking a reduction in freight rates by 20 cents per hundredweight on raw cotton from the Memphis area to match a similar cut to Southern mills in August, those reductions by the Southern railroads having been designed to meet truck competition, giving the Southern mills a one dollar per bale freight rate advantage over the New England mills. The Association contended that a widening differential in the freight rates could be disastrous to New England mills, and a Harvard economics professor, chairman of the New England Textile Committee, said that the resulting damage to New England mills could cause railroads substantial losses in shipments of both raw cotton and finishing goods, as the railroads gained much more from shipping cotton to New England than to the South.

In Tarboro, N.C., a former convict released the previous Sunday from the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta had been charged with breaking into the Edgecombe County jail to free his wife, after the couple had been captured in Rocky Mount about an hour later in a stolen taxicab, the man claiming that he had been in an epileptic daze. He was charged with armed robbery of the cab driver and armed jailbreak, and his wife was in jail after waiving a hearing the previous day on a charge of armed robbery. She had been arrested the previous week in Chicago by the FBI and was returned to Tarboro on Tuesday night.

In Charlotte, the State this date opened its case against a 23-year old man charged with manslaughter, following an automobile accident on July 9 which had resulted in the death of a 17-year old girl. The defendant claimed that the girl had been the driver of the car. The first witness called by the State, a patrolman who investigated the accident, testified that the defendant had maintained throughout the investigation that the girl was driving and that she had been studying the road map when the accident had occurred on Park Road, the car having left the road before entering a curve and traveling into a side ditch before hitting an embankment and then returning to the road. A jury of six white men and six black men were hearing the case.

Three members of a quartet who had stolen approximately $1,500 and property from a parked automobile had received 3 to 5 year sentences this date, while the other member of the quartet received a suspended sentence. One of the three sentenced to prison would also have a 4 to 7 year suspended sentence made active for violation of his probation, and would serve that sentence consecutive to the one currently imposed. They were charged with stealing clothing, a movie camera and a tape recorder from a car of a man from Raleigh, who reported that $450 in cash had also been stolen. It does not indicate what songs the quartet sang or whether they had a recording contract yet.

Also in Charlotte, at the annual Western North Carolina Methodist conference, being held at Dilworth Methodist Church, complicated balloting for Methodist General and Jurisdictional Conference delegates had gotten off to a lively start during the morning. It does not indicate how many apples were being eaten, but does state that the ministers and lay delegates were avidly watching the World Series on a television set in the social room of the church, and that the previous day, the grounds had been strangely quiet prior to the official opening of the conference, because the delegates had gathered to watch the game.

In New York, Pee Wee Reese had hit a double in the fourth inning and Duke Snider had added a single to give the Brooklyn Dodgers a 1 to 0 lead over the New York Yankees in the second game of the World Series. Tommy Byrne, who had attended Wake Forest, and Billy Loes were engaged in a tight pitching duel, with the latter having struck out five Yankees through three innings, while the former had given up his first hits in the fourth. Whether anybody had slud home yet or not, is not indicated. The Yankees had won the first game the previous day, 6 to 5.

On the editorial page, "Crisis in Education: The Laity Speaks" indicates that Charlotte's regional conference on education had demonstrated the depth of feeling and interest which laymen had about public school problems, with a spirited exchange having taken place between the professionals and non-professionals, demonstrating mutual respect and understanding between them.

The professional educators had often been accused in the past of closed thinking and resistance to criticism from non-professionals, not in evidence in the Tuesday meeting. A survey had been taken by the vice-president of Union National Bank, in which he had mailed questionnaires to 200 business and professional leaders, excluding school teachers, asking what they could do to get enough teachers and keep them, with the responses from 100 persons having suggested that there was a need for paying adequate salaries, for treating teachers as experts in their field, for providing fringe benefits and a substantial retirement plan, for using promotional sales campaigns and programs to attract teachers, for a modification of the certification program, for removing some of the frills without reducing standards, for providing for more generous insurance coverage, for taking a survey to determine why teachers left their jobs, and for reducing classroom sizes, cutting out red tape and giving paid vacations.

Overall, the need was to make the teaching profession more attractive. It indicates that the nation needed to make up its mind that it was rich enough to provide the manpower and material necessary to educate the children, as well as provide for defense.

"One Dilemma's Regrettable Solution" indicates that the Park and Recreation Commission of Charlotte had taken its clue from Alexander, finding itself unable to untie the Gordian knot, having been faced with a fiscal dilemma when bids on the new Park Center had gone far above the available insurance funds from the burned down Armory-Auditorium, and so had made a decision to lease rather than purchase heating and air-conditioning equipment for the structure to make up the difference.

It finds that the action was regrettable as the previous March, the commissioners had assured the public that they would stick by the original intention to limit the cost of the project to the proceeds of the insurance, and the new method of financing did not coincide with that original intent. It finds that Mayor Philip Van Every's objections to the plan were properly raised, that it was not good business and would work a subterfuge on the debt limit of the city as permitted under the State Constitution, possibly then extended to other areas which would enable circumvention of those limits on a consistent basis into the future. It asserts that construction costs of the new center should remain within the bounds of the insurance settlement, especially since the need for another auditorium had not been established, in light of the just dedicated Ovens Auditorium next to the new Coliseum on Independence Boulevard.

"The GOP Must Learn To Walk" indicates that there had been liberal public usage of medical terminology since the President's heart attack, but it had yet to see a phrase which would describe the shock which organization Republicans would feel were the President to refuse to seek a second term. It posits that for millions of Americans, such a decision would be a grave disappointment, but for professional Republicans, it would be infinitely worse. The latter attitude was indicated by a statement attributed by the Associated Press to a woman in Durham who was the Republican national committeewoman for the area, who said that the President's patriotism might lead him to run again "at the expense of his health or even his life" if he thought that course would be best for the country, the woman recalling President Roosevelt's health issues and suggesting that the country was accustomed to having an ill man in the Presidency.

It finds that she had accurately assessed the President's devotion and courage but wonders if she had not underestimated his judgment, as the President had rejected the idea that he was an indispensable man and had spoken just prior to his illness of the need for developing party leadership on a wide basis, including younger persons within the party. He had delegated large amounts of authority to other top officials in the government, and all of those actions indicated an awareness of the need for fresh leadership, as well as knowledge of governmental paralysis which had followed death or disability of previous Presidents. It finds that it was almost inconceivable that he would seek another term unless he were convinced that he would complete that term with full use of his abilities. Thus, his patriotism would lead him away from that choice.

It finds that now that the President had put the party on its feet, it was time for the party to undertake its responsibility to gather its strength. Only by adhering to the Eisenhower policies could the party be acceptable to the mass of Americans.

"'Body English' for Power Age Toreros" indicates that the body English used by a police officer in Charlotte to guide traffic through one of the busiest intersections in the city was nothing less than artistry and rhythm, as Charles Kuralt's feature story in the previous day's edition had attested. It finds that the officer's kicks, hops and handclaps were part of every true sportsman's bag of tricks, with golfers, baseball pitchers and others utilizing such body English. "And there is nothing quite as sporting as dodging 10,000 cars a day without even benefit of a torero's cape or sword."

The same page, incidentally, also contained a piece by Julian Scheer, which might further explain why he eventually left The News in 1962 to join NASA as its chief publicity man. We already know why Mr. Kuralt would depart for parts unknown and CBS in 1957, after one too many Vicki stories.

A piece from the Gastonia Gazette, titled "How To Live to 102", indicates that most people had likely been subjected to vitamin pills, with some believing in them and some discrediting them, while others laughed at them. It suggests that there might be something to them, as it had come across a recent story by a country weekly editor in a remote North Carolina community, who had called at the home of the county's oldest resident to interview him on his 102nd birthday, asking him the question as to what he attributed his great longevity, to which came the answer that he had been taking vitamin pills since he was 99.

Drew Pearson tells of things likely to happen in the Cabinet while the President was convalescing from his heart attack of the prior Saturday. Secretary of State Dulles had been unhappy privately over the President's attempt to get along with the Russians, and Vice-President Nixon had sided with him on the matter, making a speech which undercut some of the goodwill generated by the Big Four summit conference of the prior July, the Vice-President having made his political reputation as a Russian-baiter, which he would continue to be within the Cabinet. Those close to the President in the White House, such as Harold Stassen, chief of staff Sherman Adams and Nelson Rockefeller, understanding how the President felt about the importance of peace, were certain to tangle with Secretary Dulles and the Vice-President, which could prove to be quite a battle.

There would be little chance of tax cuts during the year, as Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey, though anxious for tax cuts, was determined to balance the budget, and he would have his way. There would be more defense cuts, if the Secretary would have his way, despite the fact that Pentagon generals were upset about it and Senate Democrats had threatened to vote for the appropriations anyway. But Secretary Humphrey would likely again get his way.

Generally, there would not be too much upheaval within the Cabinet around the White House during the absence of the President. He had been away from the White House more than any other recent President and had used the general staff system for delegating authority, once telling the Joint Chiefs that he did not want any problem brought to his attention until there was unanimous opinion on it, following the same general system with other agencies. Mr. Pearson indicates that it was one reason why he never really understood the implications of the Dixon-Yates contract.

He suggests that ordinarily, the Vice-President would emerge as the heir apparent to the President during his weeks of convalescence, but political prognosticators who had already picked the Vice-President as the Republican nominee for 1956 had forgotten that he would not be able to carry his own state of California at the Republican convention in San Francisco. "For the boy wonder who shot to fame on the issue of the pumpkin papers and Communists-in-government made some powerful enemies during his quick climb to the top." Three such enemies were the Governor of California, Goodwin Knight, who would control the California delegation in 1956 at the convention, the Republican leader of the Senate, William Knowland, who would help him control the delegation, and Chief Justice Earl Warren, former Governor of California, who, while out of politics, had a way of making his views known in his home state. None of the three had any love for Mr. Nixon.

A letter writer says that he used the streets and highways of Charlotte on a regular basis all day and all week long, and is certain that most wrecks and injuries could be prevented. He compliments the big truck drivers whom he found to be the most courteous, intelligent and respectful of the people on the roads, and also compliments the bus drivers on York Road, who pulled off the road to pick up and let off passengers. He also finds cab drivers in the city to be generally respectful and good drivers. He believes some people simply could not drive, either because they were new drivers or "just plain weak upstairs". (What are they doing climbing stairs while they're driving? That, it would appear, is the first problem.) He finds that many people drove like they were the only persons on the road and it was quite aggravating, and whenever he honked his horn at such a person, they shot back looks equivalent to daggers or yelled "shut up". He believes that such rude, dull and careless people were adults who once had stood in the halls at school and made others go around or wait, or who cut in line at chow and had gotten by with it, now had a car to block people off. He finds that slow drivers who would not cooperate and let others go by or if one passed them, would speed up and drive within a yard of the passing car just to irritate, would do just that. "To these drivers I must be a stranger—and all strangers are bad or not worth respecting—but they are all that matters."

Anent the Shell Oil quiz, if you see a stop sign out in the country, sort of ambiguously parallel to the roadway, beyond which is a split-rail fence, stay on the roadway, as one of those strangers may have placed the sign.

A letter writer encloses a copy of a letter which he had sent to the Mayor and the City Council calling their attention to the location of the last stop on the Queens Road bus line, Route 1. You may read it if you are extremely concerned about that route. He says that there was evident danger in the situation and that they should not wait for a death before something was done.

We wholeheartedly agree.

A letter writer indicates that there were many outstanding people participating in the Methodist Conference in Charlotte and he wishes to point out some of them in the Belmont Park Methodist Church, which he says had become one of the great churches of the Conference. Barry Gibson of the church had been chairman of its board for 25 years, during which a seven-room house had been purchased adjoining the old church property for the parsonage, the old parsonage had been converted into an educational building, used until 1951, that in 1951, 3.5 acres of land had been purchased to relocate the church on Hawthorne Lane Extension, and a modern eight-room brick parsonage had been built, that in 1952, the present church had been built, with a seating capacity of 550 persons. He indicates that Mr. Gibson was the ideal Methodist layman and Belmont Park Methodist Church was a reflection of his character and life, finding it an honor to have made Mr. Gibson his personal friend.

But did the church, with a capacity of 550, have room for a Porsche 550 Spyder?

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