In Pinehurst, a general grand but not grandiose

“In the last few years of his life [George C. Marshall, General of the Army and recipient of the 1953 Nobel Peace Prize]  used to drive downtown most days from his small house in Pinehurst, North Carolina, buy his groceries in the supermarket, tote them to his car to the accompaniment of a nod from the townspeople, a bit of gossip with the drugstore clerk, and then get into his car again, receive the flourish of a salute from the traffic cop, and drive home again. Yet on [Oct. 16, 1959] wherever in the world the American flag flies, it was lowered and flown for him.”

— From “Letter from America: 1946-2004” by Alistair Cooke (2004)

‘Ma, I’m goin’ no’th to git me a job….’

“Since nothing travels in the direction of hungry men like news of  work, they started to roll in on foot and in old Model Ts as soon as the contract… to build the world’s biggest smokeless powder plant in Charlestown, Indiana… was announced in the newspaper….

“A man from a small town in North Carolina said, ‘I seen this paper lyin’ there on top of bag o’ potatoes. Well, since the cotton mill shet down, I ain’t seen no kind of decent job. My wife was always takin’ sick, an’  then we had a cyclone come into town. Blowed some families all to pieces, geese, bedstead, fences, ev’thing. We was just skeered near ’bout to death. That was in ’36 or ’37, understan’. So when I seen this thing in the paper, I said, Ma, I’m takin’ th’ automobile ‘n goin’ no’th  to git me a job in that dee-fense factory. Next day I was on my way.’ ”

— From “The American Homefront: 1941-42” by Alistair Cooke (2006). If Cooke’s interview notes ever turn up, surely they belong in the North Carolina Collection.