Raymond Arthur Waugh, Sr.
A Journey in Writing

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Debtor to First Grade Teacher and Others
Letters to the Editor
Raymond A. Waugh, Sr.
[Midland Reporter Telegram, Midland, Texas]


Thankfully, aging provides us an opportunity to do some reflecting. Almost 75 years ago, a beautiful little lady, Mrs. Hartsook, was my first grade teacher. Across the intervening years, I have thought of her 10,000 times, and there have been hundreds of other teachers and professors to whom I am constantly indebted. This thought brings to mind a word of the aging Apostle Paul. He said, "I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise."

Just recently, I came across the word of one Raymond B. Fosdick that was called "The Search For Unity." His first sentence got my attention, "The Bill of Rights Will Outlast Mein Kampf." He wrote this in 1941, so it was really prophetic. Thankfully, "The Bill of Rights" has outlasted "Mein Kampf"!

Most of what he wrote, however, was a reflection regarding our indebtedness to others. He pointed out that a Japanese scientist, Kitasato, isolated the bacillus of tetanus, an Austrian determined the value of transfusions, a Russian developed a shield against typhoid fever, an Italian, Grassi, learned how to protect against malaria, a Frenchman, Pasteur, elaborated a new technique against infection, an Englishman developed protection against small pox, and that we are indebted to a Frenchman whose wisdom protects us from rabies. [With rabies abroad in Texas, perhaps we need to thank the Frenchman again, even now!]

Fosdick continues on, "from birth to death [we] are surrounded by an invisible host -- the spirits of men who never thought in terms of flags or boundary lines and who never served a lesser loyalty than the welfare of mankind." Hopefully, we as a people, as Americans, as a multiculture of religions, as a multiculture of ethnic interests, as a multiculture of social ideals, and as a multiculture of political concerns will be able to reflect as prophetically and as wisely in 1995 as Raymond Fosdick was able to do before Pearl Harbor in 1941. Perhaps the future of Midland, of Texas, of the USA, of the America's, and of our world may depend in part on our being able to say with Fosdick and with the Apostle Paul, "I am debtor . . . both to the wise, and to the unwise."

(I do not know if this was published or not in the Midland Reporter Telegram.)
Raymond A. Waugh, Sr.

Last update 17 October 2008

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