The Charlotte News

Monday, May 25, 1942


Site Ed. Note: The front page is here. The editorial page is here. We have not read them yet and so we shall give them to you early here on this Memorial Day, 2009 and let you have at it. We reserve the right to present a later edition, however, in which we make further comment, or not. Dig, yourself.

But going back to Saturday's note, the other case, the holding of which Willis Smith exploited in the run-off to be inclusive of the Neanderthalic among his soon-to-be constituents, was Henderson v. U.S., 339 US 816 (1950), finding, based on the April, 1941 decision in Mitchell v. U.S., 313 US 80, that railroads, being public transportation facilities engaged in and substantially impacting interstate commerce, had to provide dining to passengers in such manner that it did not subject them to any "unreasonable prejudice", pursuant to the terms of the Interstate Commerce Act.

It appears that some nefarious pranksters thought, in their whirlwind of miraculous ideas, that Mitchell somehow only applied to the Rock Island Line, and that therefore the Southern Railway was quite exempt from the provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act, it being the case that each set of rails, after all--just like that pipeline which ran through North Carolina supplying the gas, as explained by the Office of Petroleum Coordinator, storied on Saturday's front page, to Senator Reynolds and his constituents, (in this case the Senator putting forth the question for Governor Broughton and The News as well), had to supply part of the northeast corridor up through Virginia and Maryland in addition to North Carolina, and therefore did not entitle North Carolina, merely by virtue of the Plantation Pipeline's underground presence in the State, to special rationing privileges of gas. For once Senator Reynolds seems to have provided some service. But, getting back to the train which we left behind--...that each set of rails after all ran through each state and were therefore by no means interstate, as any fool could see by the invisible boundary lines which separated each set of rails at the state line from the coupling set in the contiguously adjoining and neighboring state.

Yet, the truth of the matter, of course, is that it is all one rail tied together, running side by side, separate but equal, until, that is, you look down a set of railroad tracks as far as the eye can see, to the vanishing point, where both parallel rails conjoin to one another. Then you understand how it works. Sherman tied them all in knots in Georgia because they were rebelling against the Constitution.

We once saw a set of railroad tracks like that in Shelby, the same one along which W. J. Cash used to walk the twelve miles between Boiling Springs and Shelby in the fall of 1928 when he was the editor of the fledgling and short-lived Cleveland Press. The rails just keep on going there, like everywhere else, until they join together finally.

And, for reasons best left to our understanding, we were looking here in the Wicked-pedia over the weekend at the biography of Zachary Smith Reynolds of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, wherein they used to make the cigarettes and the hosiery. Mr. Reynolds, son of the tobacco magnate, lived a short but active life, dying at the age of 20, already twice married and a father and expectant father from two different women. An aviator who had dropped out of school at the age of 17, as obviously he did not need any schooling in the finer arts and letters, he had the great fortune of having the Wake Forest main library named after him when Wake Forest moved its campus to Winston-Salem from the town of Wake Forest in the early 1950's. (That would, no doubt, be in some degree of emulation of the fact that the young bibliophile, Harry Elkins Widener, who, having died at age 27 on the Titanic April 15, 1912, had the Harvard library named for him posthumously.)

We have a question though about Mr. Reynolds, after reading his biography in the Wicked-pedia: Did he blow the shofar?

Well, you good students of arts and history, about which we know very little, might research that and get back to us on it.

Curiously, this young fellow who saw much life in his short 20 years before perishing under strange circumstances at the wrong end of a pistol shot following an argument with his wife, the actress Elizabeth Holman, died not a mile from where we ourselves spent most of our growing-up years, even if his death preceded by many, many cycles 'round the sun our being there nearby in that particular locus.

Incidentally, the Hotel Reforma, as we have previously mentioned, and the Juarez Hospital, the hospital at which the autopsy of Cash, assuming it actually occurred, was reportedly performed, were both damaged in the earthquake which hit Mexico City on September 19, 1985, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Hotel Reforma. The Reforma, however, contrary to our previously asserted belief, survives; the Juarez Hospital, by contrast, was a complete loss. We stand corrected. We had thought that the Reforma had been razed over two decades ago. Albeit without its distinctive "R" atop its mast, Viva La Reforma! (Don't take that the wrong way though.)

In 1973, we saw it; we did not go inside. Maybe one day, we shall. If and when we do, we shall report on it to you. (Don't take that the wrong way though.)

We came across another interesting fact. An English-born Australian painter, Frank Medworth, apparently committed suicide by cutting his wrists at the Hotel Reforma on Armistice Day in 1947. He had served in World War I on the Western Front and in East Africa. We found one of his sketches. It is called "The Bullfight". The picador is depicted there being attacked by the bull.

Here are two more by Mr. Medworth which we find interesting, "The Asphalters", from 1926, and "The Fisherman", from 1924.

By the way, Willis Smith died in June, 1953, so that, by 1954, four Senators from North Carolina had passed away in office in eight years. Willis's successor by appointment was Alton Lennon, whose mother's name was Minnie High Lennon. Alton lost in the 1954 primary to former Governor W. Kerr Scott, whose son, Robert, was later elected Governor in 1968. Alton, however, won a seat in Congress in 1956 and served until 1973. Senator Scott also died in office, in 1958, making it five Senators from North Carolina who had died in twelve years. Josiah William Bailey had died in office in 1946, succeeded by William B. Umstead who later lost his bid for re-election to former Governor Broughton. Umstead was elected Governor in 1952 but had a heart attack two days after his inauguration and passed away two years later to be succeeded by Luther Hodges, eventually the Secretary of Commerce to President Kennedy. Senator Scott was succeeded by B. Everett Jordan. Governor Scott was succeeded in 1973 by Governor Holshouser, Richard Nixon's North Carolina campaign chairman in 1968, the first Republican Governor of the State of North Carolina since Reconstruction. There has been only one since, Governor James Martin, who served from 1985 through 1993.

If you look at that picture long enough of the Reforma Hotel as it sat in 1941, you will see that the full height of its corner entrance fašade bears some architectural similitude to the University of Texas Main Building Tower. You will also note that it forms at the top the word "Roo". But now, it just says "oo".

The building's architect, Mario Pani, well-known in Mexico, designed also, among many other edifices in Mexico City, including much of the extraordinary campus of the University there--one of which buildings, built in the early 1950's, reminds somewhat of the LBJ Library on the campus of the University of Texas--, the building depicted in the following photograph. We don't find the building itself so extraordinary, except for its use of mosaic design to cover its concrete staircase support column. We simply enjoy the way the photograph's unique perspective from the ground, in reverse twist fashion, brings it to your eyes as you slowly pan its length, using only the top and bottom arrows on your panner. Try it. It's as much fun as our numb-puns. Don't try it on a moving ship though.

Additionally, we thought we would note today that Dr. Zeno Wall, long time pastor at the First Baptist Church in Shelby, presided over the funeral of Wilbur Cash, July 7, 1941. Zeno was the father of paradoxes. Don't be afraid of them; though they may puzzle you greatly, they add color to life.

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