TR Comes to Amherst, Circa 1910

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At the hat factory, we heard Teddy Roosevelt was coming on the 4:15. The stationmaster got it on the telegraph From up the line. Some of the fellows Left work to go.

As many times as my father told the story,

He never mentioned girls.

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Maybe they weren't allowed to leave,

Or couldn't afford to, being on piecework.

They called themselves girls, I know,

Because we had a silver-plated loving cup

Engraved ``To Mr. Aldrich, from the Girls

In Sewing Hall.'' At long rows of machines,

The women stitched straw braids in spirals

For later shaping into men's straw hats.

My father's job was fixing the machines.

When one broke down, the stitcher called

Urgently, ``Mr. Aldrich!'' over the noise. When the train pulled in, we couldn't see the president. They all said, ``Aldrich, you go in and get him.''

Men used last names then,

In a polite way, when they were well acquainted. So I climbed aboard, and just Walked into the parlor car. ``Mr. President, some people out here Would like to say hello to you.'' ``Happy to oblige,'' he said, And came out, raised his hand, and grinned. ``Three cheers for President Roosevelt!'' In those days, we really hollered, three times, All together, ``Hip, hip, hooray!''

The little dog-eared snapshot shows

TR himself, and with him a young man,

Dark haired, good looking, waving his straw hat -

My father, young beyond my memory.

He kept the picture in his safe-deposit box.

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