Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story: Destiny

 

Smile, You’re Flying to Cuba

It was to be a business trip for Al, yet it would have been a shame to leave his wife and their two small children up north in the winter chill while he enjoyed the Miami sun. It was settled, then. Al’s family would accompany him to Miami. Monday morning, February 3, 1969. Bags packed, Al and his brood arrived at Newark Airport. Out to the gate, to Easter Airlines Flight 7. Takeoff. One hour later aboard Flight 7, Al heard murmuring behind him in the cabin – growing louder. It was subdued yet intense, anxious, as through the passengers were becoming aware of something sinister. They were. Moments later a flight attendant passed. She was walking toward the cockpit. Behind her was a man, one of the passengers. He had a seven-inch knife blade pressed against the flight attendant’s throat. Al’s face was instant cold sweat. He and his wife, stunned, stared. They had read about the skyjackings, at least a dozen so far that year. Yet never had they imagined it happening to them! A hushed hubbub of concerned conversation among the passengers. The flight attendant and the man holding the knife had disappeared into the cockpit. Then, the captain’s voice over the cabin speakers: “There is a man on board who wants to fly to Havana. We’d better go his way. Don’t worry, everything is O.K.” Silence. Al heaved a sigh. In a calm half-whisper he reassured his wife. The captain was cooperating. Everything would be all right. What happened next took Al completely b y surprise. One by one, the ninety-some skyjacked passengers of Eastern Airlines Flight 7 – began to laugh! Their laughter was so hilarious that the skyjacker leaned out of the cockpit doorway to see why. The passengers applauded. The skyjacker was bewildered, utterly confounded. “What are you laughing at?” he demanded. They laughed louder. Al saw a Catholic priest, begged him to calm the passengers. The priest, already laughing, laughed louder. Even after Flight 7 landed in Havana – even after the passengers were safely returned to the United States – passengers were still taking the whole detour as a gigantic joke. For at the outset of the trip someone aboard had recognized Al and informed the others. Al had “cried wolf” too many times before. This, they were convinced, was just another of his pranks. That is why the skyjacked passengers of Easter Flight 7, February 3, 1969, laughed all the way to Cuba. Because they had recognized Al. Allen Funt. They believed they were on Candid Camera. They were not. It was a real skyjacker. It was a real skyjacking. The passengers just thought they knew … THE REST OF THE STORY.

 

The Rescue of Mary Ellen Connolly

In the New York City of a century past, Etta Wheeler was a nurse and a church worker. She made rounds through the tenement houses, helping out when and however she could. It was in 1873 that Mrs. Wheeler began hearing stories. Neighbors in one tenement house were certain something terrible was going on in the Connolly apartment. Every night they heard the screams of a small child. Would Mrs. Wheeler please look into it, the neighbors asked? The reports were too disturbing to be ignored, and so one day Mrs. Wheeler knocked on the apartment door of Mr. Francis Connolly and his wife Mary. Yes, they had a child, they said. A nine-year-old foster daughter named Mary Ellen. What of it? Mrs. Wheeler talked herself inside and caught a glimpse of the unimaginable truth. The Connollys had chained their little girl to her bedpost. Her body was covered with wounds and welts and bruises in various stages of healing. She was emaciated from what could not have been more than a bread-and-water diet. Seeing this, Mrs. Wheeler demanded that the child be turned over to her. The Connollys told the nurse to mind her own business and be on her way. For months thereafter Mrs. Wheeler returned to the Connolly apartment, hoping to rescue little Mary Ellen, and yet each time the door was slammed in her face. Everywhere the nurse sought assistance in the matter, she was refused. Charitable organizations insisted they were helpless unless the youngster could be brought to them legally. The police and the district attorney advised that they could do nothing until evidence was furnished that a crime had been committed. And in 1873 there were no laws against child abuse – only an unwritten law that parents could rear their children in whatever way they saw fit, even if that way were unspeakably brutal. The “meddling” Mrs. Wheeler had one last hope: a gentleman named Henry Bergh. Mr. Bergh and the men serving under him comprised a law-enforcement agency. They were granted police power in New York City. Early in 1874, Mrs. Wheeler visited this same Henry Bergh, described the ordeal of little Mary Ellen Connolly, and begged Bergh to intervene. Moved by what he had heard, Bergh immediately assigned two of his best officers to the case. They invaded the Connolly apartment and, armed with a writ of habeas corpus, took the cowering child into their protective custody. Weak and hurting, whiplashed and scissor-slashed, the little girl had to be brought into the courtroom on a stretcher. Spectators, men and women alike, wept aloud. The judge himself had to turn away, so pitiful was Mary Ellen’s appearance. There, in the middle of it all, was Henry Bergh, his voice filled with emotion as he recited the law which would save Mary Ellen and send her abusing mother to the penitentiary for one year. A warm, loving home was found for the wretched little girl. It sounds almost like a fairy tale, but she really did live happily ever after. And so did many others like her. For it was the case of Mary Ellen Connolly which inspired this nation’s movement to protect defenseless children. Even more specifically, that movement owes Henry Bergh. For when he rescued that battered child from a New York tenement, he did so by the authority of the only extant law that applied. Henry Bergh was founder and president of the ASPCA. To save Mary Ellen’s life, he had to state in court: “Your Honor, the child is an animal.” Now you know THE REST OF THE STORY.

 

Cubs’ Curse

By mid-baseball season 1945 there was magic in the air around Chicago’s Wrigley Field. The Cubs were leading the league by three and a half games. They had a phenomenal pitching staff, headed by ace Hank Wyse. Then, on July 27, the club acquired yet another super pitcher, Hank Borowy, from the Yankees. Borowy’s opening game for the Cubs was a shutout. It was a harbinger of spectacular things to come. In the bleachers of Wrigley Field, cheering each homegame triumph, were the fans – and one fan in particular: a Chicago tavern owner named Bill Sianis. Even those who did not know Bill by name could identify him. To strangers he was simply “the fellow with the goat.” He brought his pet goat to each and every home game. Spectators often asked Bill if the goat were a team mascot or something of the kind, and he would answer nothing of the kind. The goat was his pet, almost like a friend to him, and the animal was especially fond of baseball. That seemed true enough. Before each game started, the goat would prance restlessly in the aisles, his eyes searching the stands for who knew what. But at the cry of “Play ball!” the goat’s gaze would be fixed on the field. He would just sit there with his master, apparently engrossed in the activity of the athletes. Some said the animal would even bleat with delight whenever the crowd roared over an exciting play. Then one day, in that incredible season of 1945, the Cubs won the pennant. Chicago’s National League team was in the World Series. Because of wartime travel restrictions, the first three series games were scheduled to be played in the Detroit, home of the American League champion Tigers, and the remaining games were to be played in Chicago. The first game was a shutout: Cubs nine, Tigers nothing. Detroit rallied in the second game, won four-to-one. But then in the third game, Chicago pitcher Claude Passeau pitched the second one-hitter in World Series history, producing yet another Cub shutout, three-to-nothing. And the Cubs came home. Leading the series two-to-one, they would no play the remainder of the series in home-park Wrigley Field. How could they lose? Well, I don’t know if this answers the question. But what happened next is THE REST OF THE STORY. When Bill Sianis and his goat arrived at Wrigley Field for game four of the 1945 World Series, they were apprised of a very recent regulation: No Goats Allowed. Bill explained how his goat had relished the regular season, had rooted vigorously for the home team, and now to miss the conclusion of the World Series would be the greatest disappointment of the goat’s life. But Bill’s protests were summarily disregarded. The goat was out, and that was that. And that was the origin of the Cub’s Curse. Then and there, Bill Sianis declared that the Cubs would lose the series and would never win another pennant in Wrigley Field! Two-to-one ahead and only home games left, the Cubs nevertheless lost the 1945 World Series. Coincidence or curse, the Cubs until this time have never won another pennant.

 

The Voyage of Daisy’s Bottle

Picture a bottle. A whiskey bottle with air in its belly and a cork down its throat. A buoyant airtight bottle, bobbing in the Thames River at Old London Town. Where will that bottle go? Ashore? Perhaps. More likely, however, it will be swept out by the current into the Strait of Dover, and from there into the North Sea. We are going to retrace the course of this sturdy glass vessel, a long and lonely voyage that really, actually took place. Away from the east coast of England, northbound, past the Netherlands. Now, somewhere midway between Scotland and Denmark, still in the North Sea. June of 1937 has passed into July. The sealed bottle, urged ever northward by the ocean current, passes between Shetland Island and the coast of Norway. The vast expanse of the North Atlantic lies ahead, the Arctic Circle less than four hundred miles away. The year 1937 bows gracefully to the next as the lonesome voyage continues … Hundreds of miles of Norwegian coastline is left behind as the intrepid bottle ventures into the icy Barents Sea. The northern coast of the Soviet Union is far below. Years pass in those desolate waters, thaw and freeze and thaw again. The currents lure gently eastward over Siberia, from the Kara Sea, past the “north islands” and Laptev Sea, and then through the East Siberian Sea. And East meets West. The bottle had remained intact and airtight for almost a decade now as it floats into the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska on a southbound journey into the Bering Sea. Then past the Aleutian Islands … Then into the North Pacific … Then along the west coast of the United States …And now, at last, the restless voyage of almost twelve years and some twelve thousand miles has come to an end. This course has been reconstructed by oceanographers. The path we’ve retraced is the one the bottle had to have gone after being released into the Thames. But this is THE REST OF THE STORY. It was a chilly day, March 16, 1949. A fellow named Jack Wurm was wandering a deserted San Francisco beach and happened upon that bottle, half-buried in the sand. Jack, fifty-five, was jobless, near penniless, despondent. His restaurant business was bankrupt, his life savings gone. Anyway, Jack discovered the bottle, saw something inside, broke the bottle on a rock and recovered the vessel’s contents: a piece of paper, upon which was handwritten this message: To avoid all confusion, I leave my entire estate to the lucky person who finds this bottle and to my attorney, Barry Cohen, share and share alike. Daisy Alexander. June 20, 1937. And yes, it did stand up in court, this “last will and testament” of Daisy Alexander, who had died in London in 1939. Daisy Alexander, who was the eccentric heiress to a large portion of the Singer sewing-machine fortune. “Luck,” she had secretly decreed, would determine her heir. And so Jack Wurm of San Francisco, broke and disheartened, down and almost out, was to harvest from a deserted beach – from a whiskey bottle that had begun its restless journey half a world away – six million dollars.

 

The Suez Lighthouse

In 1856, Frenchman Auguste Bartholdi vacationed in Egypt. Despite the strange food, the ubiquitous flies, the oppressive heat, and the continual disorder which might be referred to as Pharaoh’s Revenge, the young man was entirely captivated by that exotic and wonder-filled land. Auguste especially admired the Egyptian art and architecture. The marvelous ancient sculptures. The sheer surfaces and the clear, forceful lines. Bigness had always awed Auguste. And now here he was, his feet in the sands where bigness was born. The Pyramids. The Sphinx. The Nile. How incredible, the Frenchman mused, that a solitary pathway for the transportation of pyramid stones wuld take a hundred thousand men ten years to make! Seeing the man-made marvels for himself, Auguste was driven to an inexorable conclusion: All true art expresses the power of an idea. Remember that as you learn THE REST OF THE STORY. For during the young man’s Egyptian adventure he met and befriended a fellow Frenchman named Ferinand de Lesseps. And Ferdinand had an appropriately grand-scale dream for this grand-scale land. He wanted to join the Mediterranean and the Red Sea by a watery thread, a passageway for ships, linking East to West, across the great Isthmus of Suez. Such an accomplishment would reduce a voyage of thousands of miles around the African continent to one of 105. Ferdinand’s plan was considered mildly amusing by most. Young Auguste not only took it seriously, he suggested a contribution of his own. When Ferdinand had finished his waterway, he Auguste, would build a lighthouse at its entrance. A huge lighthouse, twice the size of the Sphinx. More than a mere structure, it would express an idea: the beacon of Western civilization shining eastward. Ferdinand was intrigued by Auguste’s proposal, and both men agreed that their dreams deserved to come true. Ferdinand’s did. In 1859, having won the approval of the authorities concerned, Ferdinand began the challenging project which would require a decade to complete. And today the while world takes for granted – the Suez Canal. As for Auguste, he spent years refining a design for the Suez lighthouse. While the canal was under construction he made sketches and clay models, each varying slightly from the others, until at last he was satisfied. Y, while he encountered much enthusiasm for his creation, even among members of the Egyptian government, the Frenchman did not discover what his lighthouse needed most: the money to build it. You would have liked his design. Quite original. It was a lighthouse in the shape of a colossal, robed woman, one arm stretched heavenward, a torch in her hand. Its rejection was not a total loss, however. I understand that a few years later, another country sought the services of sculptor Auguste Bartholdi and received them. All your life you have been under the impression that the Statue of Liberty was designed especially, exclusively for us. Well – now you know THE REST OF THE STORY.

 

Genuine as a Three-dollar Bill

I’m going to test your knowledge of United States currency. Whose face appears on the one-dollar bill? Correct. Washington. And on the five-dollar bill? Right again. Lincoln. How about the ten? Hamilton. And the twenty? Jackson. Now it gets tougher. Who is depicted on the fifty-dollar bill? Ulysses Grant. And on the one-hundred-dollar bill? Ben Franklin. And yes, there are higher denominations of U.S. paper currency, although federal regulations demand that should a bank come into possession of such currency, the bill or bills must be returned to the regional Federal Reserve bank. While such paper money is technically “out of circulation,” it is still legal tender. Try to change one of these b ills at a bank, however, and it – and perhaps you as well – will be examined stem to stern. On the five-hundred-dollar bill there is a picture of President William McKinley. On the one-thousand-dollar bill, President Grover Cleveland. On the five-thousand-dollar bill, President James Madison. On the ten-thousand-dollar bill, nineteenth-century U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Salmon Chase. And finally, the one-hundred-thousand-dollar bill. The highest-ever denomination of United States currency. Thereon is depicted President Woodrow Wilson. But we’re not finished. As any racetrack habitué might inform you, there is also a two-dollar bill. On this otherwise seldom seen yet no less legal tender, one finds the picture of Thomas Jefferson. And there is one more bill we have overlooked: the three-dollar bill. Genuine American currency, despite the threadbare simile which implies nothing could be phonier. Never in a million years would you guess who is depicted on the three-dollar bill, so I’d better tell you THE REST OF THE STORY. Once upon a time, banks all over the country issued their own currency. Even after the National Bank Act of 1863 imposed a 10 percent tax on such notes, many banks continued to make their own money. By 1935, the national banks had transferred this power to the Federal Reserve. Yet throughout most of this nation’s history, bank-issued currency, now relegated to myriad numismatic collections, was as legal a tender as any. The banks issued every denomination of paper money now in circulation, plus one: the three-dollar bill. Specific designs varied from bank to bank. But one design was used more than any other. That preeminent picture was, as on current currency, of someone. Someone you’ve known all your life. He appeared on the three-dollar bills issued by the Howard Banking Company of Boston an the Central Bank of Troy and the Pittsfield Bank and the White Mountain Bank – and by one Manhattan bank bearing the name of the man on the three-dollar bill: the Saint Nicholas Bank of New York City. And yes, I do mean to tell you that the person whose image was once absolutely lawfully engraved on the dead-serious 100 percent legitimate three-dollar bill – was Santa Claus.

 

Danny Went West

In 1816 there was no Kansas City, Missouri. There was in that vicinity, however, a small military outpost, a fort on the fringe of what was then our American frontier, Fort Osage. Late in the year that outpost was visited by a fellow named Danny. He was dressed in crude clothing, the kind worn by indigent hunters. Would the officers at the fort mind putting him up for a while? No, he was told, they would not mind. So Danny remained at Fort Osage for two weeks, during which the soldiers learned THE REST OF THE STORY. For years Danny had been hearing wonderful stories about the western wilderness. He had been told about the fabulous lakes and rivers, of the grand mountains which lay beyond. Danny wanted to explore them. He wanted to taste the fresh water and savor the sweet air and see the crests of the Rockies surge upward into a shimmering blue sky. The men at Fort Osage appreciated Danny’s youthful enthusiasm. Decades before Horace Greeley would proclaim, “Go West, young man, and grow up with the country,” Danny was determined to go West. Still, the soldiers wondered if Danny knew what he was getting into. A half-dozen years before, in 1810, mountain man John Colter had returned from that beckoning wilderness, the area which now so intrigued Danny, and he, Colter, had just barely emerged with his life. After the Blackfoot Indians had captured and almost killed him, the weather and the wilderness itself had nearly finished him off. Wouldn’t Danny be just as happy back in the Missouri Territory, the soldiers wondered? There was still much hunting and exploring to be done in those virgin forests, enough excitement to satisfy any eager adventurer. No, Danny protested, Missouri was getting too crowded, too civilized. He reckoned he’d be moving on. And he did. He left Fort Osage, headed north up the Missouri River, then west on the Platte River across what is now the state of Nebraska. Danny followed the Platte all the way to the Rocky Mountains. When he ran out of river, he traveled overland. He crossed what is now Wyoming, northwest into Yellowstone country. Danny had plunged almost a thousand miles into a land about which white men were only beginning to dream. A rugged, dangerous journey. Threatened by Indians, he eluded them. Besieged by bitter weather, he survived. After a season exploring that sometimes perilous, always awesome wilderness wonderland, Danny returned to the Missouri Territory to tell what he had seen. In one respect, his trek was unremarkable. For if anyone should have found his way all that way and back, he should have. You see, Danny was known as Kentucky’s original settler, a trailblazer with no rival, Colonel Daniel Boone. And one thing more. When Daniel Boone visited Fort Osage in 1816 before embarking on his journey of almost a thousand miles, westward on the Platte River, to the Rockies, to the Yellowstone, and almost a thousand miles back – before he had even begun that journey he, Boone, was eight-two years old!

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