Excerpts from Summer 1959 Edition
Whoever said that history repeats itself certainly had the right idea. I'm a bookcase, and I've seen it happen right here on my shelves.
I was purchased for a small child's room, and my mahogany shelves were filled with story books which ranged from Mother Goose to Raggedy Ann. My top shelf was devoted to banks, baby pictures, gold-plated booties, and a cupie doll.
The passing of a decade made quite a change in my appearance. Mother Goose was replaced by the dog stories of Terhune, Nancy Drew mysteries, and the Sue Barton series. My third shelf sagged a little under the weight of a new encyclopedia set. The top shelf was no exception. Miniature horses and dogs, camp trophies, and a lethal water pistol gave me a finishing touch.
As my owner matured, so did the nature of my contents. Before I knew it, I was crowned with a diploma and an enlarged photograph of an earnest, good-looking young man.
Soon the diploma was fondly packed away, and a wedding picture took its place. As for the books, well, there was certainly a wide variety. My shelves were filled with books on child care, home gardening, business administration, home finance, and one hidden back in an obscure corner on how to handle husbands.
My apparel remained the same for about one year, and I felt quite mature to be housing such adult literature. Then something happened! My status of adult bookcase was suddenly changed, for Mother Goose and Raggedy Ann again sat on my shelves. Well, that's the phase I'm in now, but I suppose it will change with time. It's not really so bad. After all, "Variety is the spice of life," isn't it?
It happened on the last day of August, 1943. Herman Rickner was walking along the bank of the Moselle River on a typical autumn afternoon. He surveyed this tranquil landscape of Northwestern France. Majestic trees lined the river bank; their branches overhanging the silvery waters were reaching out for their last drops of sunlight as the great golden disk sank peacefully below the horizon. The birds were singing; the bugs, buzzing. The area seemed to be entirely deserted of other human beings.
Suddenly high-pitched screaming and yelling broke the spell of the on-coming dusk. Herman snapped his head around to see before him a frightened young woman frantically splashing in the water. He observed that she could not have been more than fifteen feet from the segment of the river bank on which he stood.
This would normally have been an ideal situation for a young man possessing the handsome, well-developed body of the on-looker; for Herman, however, the situation was an unfortunate one — he had never learned to swim. Nevertheless, Herman Rickner hesitated not one moment. With an abundance of agility, he sprang upon the trunk of a carefully-chosen tree. He literally flew out along a bough which was hanging some four feet above the head of the struggling girl. Grasping the sturdy limb with his right hand, he tried in vain to grab the now-choking girl with his left. He then broke a twig from its origin and thrust it down, all the while yelling for the girl to catch hold of it. She did not respond.
It was at this point that Herman displayed his courage as a leopard displays his spots. Not knowing whether or not he could keep even himself afloat, Herman released his grip on the branch and fell, fully clothed, into the deep water. He felt as though he had been under for an eternity, but he finally forced his head above the water several feet away from his target. Much to his own amazement the young man was able to propel himself slowly toward the object of his efforts. He raced for time.
Herman made a desperate lunge and was finally within reach of the girl when, tiger-like, she sprang upon him and plunged a long steel blade through the Nazi Swastika sewn to the left shirt pocket of his uniform. The young woman scornfully muttered in French, "A lieutenant, none the less," and then gracefully swam alone toward the river bank of a conquered France.