Recently I was in Book Passage and the book A Secret Gift by Ted Gup hopped into my hands. I kept thinking it must be fiction but no, it is a true story. I began reading tonight. The author is given some papers by his mother, papers from his grandfather, and through them he goes back to learn about his grandfather's early life. What is so intriguing is that during the depression his grandfather secretly gave away money to suffering families.
Under a fictional name, he took out an ad in the paper, requesting letters from people who lived in Canton, Ohio, requesting they write why they needed a financial lift to make it through Christmas, 1933. He had planned to give $10.00 to seventy five families, but the stories were so touching, he sent $5.00 to 150 families. $5.00 was a great deal of money in 1933, but the point was more than that. It was that someone cared. They were invited to share their grief and pain and to know someone was listening, and now, all these years later, we can listen, and read the words of those who helped build the "Greatest Generation".
It was a different time, and yet, Canton, Ohio, is again hit hard.
Gup begins the book by these words of Walt Whitman:
Other states indicate themselves in their deputies - but the genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors, or colleges or churches or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors - but always most in the common people, south, north, west, east, in all its states, through all its mighty amplitude.
May this be so!
Read more: http://www.asecretgiftbook.com/