How one of 25,000 won a prize for a high school essay
New York — The donor is Smith-Corona, the typewriter company. The sponsor is Scholastic Magazines -- now doing the honors for the 54th year.
And the constestants are some 25,000 junior and senior high school students in the United States and Canada.
A magazine and a typewriter manufacturer, naturally, hold a writing contest, and the prizes, naturally, are Smith-Corona typewriters.
Paul Debbing, general manager of the company, told the Monitor: "It is reassuring that there are so many students throughout both nations whose talent and technical skill enable them to write so well. M. R. Robinson, chairman of Scholastic Magazines, added:
"I would ask those who despair of today's teen-agers to consider the quality of the writing and the human values this year's program expresses."
One of this year's award winners was Jonathan Rosen of New Rocheele (N.Y.) High School, who shared top place with Sarah Hesselor of Phillips Exeter Academy , Exeter, N. H. Jonathan's entry was a 2,500-word short story about an old man who was left in ruins when Hitler collapsed. A part of his story follows.
He was a withered, gray little man, left over like a piece of slag from the flames of the Holocaust. An ancient cap was pulled sideways and low over his forehead, almost covering his right eye, and casting a shadow over his sad, angular face.m
He ran a pitiful little candy store. . . . He spoke to me for the first time.m
I realized he was starting at my violin. How long have you been playing the violin?m
I told him I had been studying for years, and he nodded in affirmation. "Thirty years I played" (and then a silence). "I lost it in the war, and I haven't touched one since."m
For almost 35 years he had been without the comfort of his own music . . . the familiarity in his eyes made me think of a reunion between a long-departed parent and child. . . .m
He hesitated and then accepted the violin and bow I handed him.m
There was an utter transformation of his body while he played. Even the first notes were struck with a fire and energy I would not have thought him capable of. His eyes closed, his body straghtened, and the violin swept joy into the room. From then on we both played on Sundays. . . .m
That spring I was to move. My firt thought was of the sad, lonely old man whom I had grown to love. How would he play the violin when I was gone? I knew he would never buy one. . . .m
I walked out, leaving my violin tucked neatly behind the door where I hoped he would notice it when he closed up for the night.m
I was going to have to think hard about how to explain to my parents the loss of something so large as a violin.m
But it didn't matter. I wanted this man, my friend, the survivor, to have anything it was in my power to give him, to enable him to go on surviving.m