Paul Harvey and the Rest of One Story
Paul Harvey was a famous radio personality that many of you have heard. I had to quit listening to his news broadcasts because he became the Reagan Administration’s greatest apologist. If Attorney General Ed Meese had stolen the dome from the Capitol and Reagan said everything was ‘okay’, then Paul Harvey would chime in about how the Liberal press was being so unfair to Ed and his crime fighters.
On his “The Rest of the Story” series Paul told marvelous stories about famous personalities and their roads to success.
One night he told the story of Charlie, a little depression era boy, who was typical of that period. Charlie’s father had lost his job and the family existed on commodity food and the ninety dollars a month that Charlie’s mother earned playing violin in the Chicago WPA Symphony. The WPA initials stood for the Works Progress Administration, established in 1935 by order of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and funded by Congress in 1935. The WPA provided employment for public works projects, like bridges and roads, but employed musicians, artists and writers as well.
Young Charlie also made a small amount of money each week delivering papers after school and thus the family barely survived.
One day the commodity truck delivered a one hundred pound sack of sugar to their door. Since their family’s allotment was only five pounds per week, Charlie’s father loaded the sugar upon his shoulder and started to take it back to the commodity warehouse. Charlie’s mother told him to wait. She said that God had put this sack of sugar on their doorstep for a reason, and the family should pray about it and make their decision in the morning. The next morning she announced that God had told her to make sugar cookies and that Charlie would sell them on his paper route. She made cookies and Charlie sold them for fifteen cents a dozen. He sold out and she made more and soon they had a thriving business. They worked hard and saved and got completely off the commodity program and the WPA dole. Paul Harvey then concluded that little Charlie and his family had shown what hard work and faith in God could accomplish. Little Charlie grew into a multimillionaire industrialist and was none other than Republican Senator Charles Percy of Illinois.
I was intrigued by this touching, true story but for some reason I was also troubled by it. It stayed on my mind for several days, and then the answer came; Paul Harvey had completely missed the point of his own story. If Franklin Delano Roosevelt hadn’t been inspired by God to put the Commodity Program and the WPA into existence, little Charlie and his family might not have survived until they received their hundred pounds sack of STOLEN sugar.
A more appropriate conclusion to the story is that we should keep people fed and healthy until their opportunity comes along. Perhaps they too might then become rich Republicans.