Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened
his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of
people making their way through Grand Central
Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he
knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl with
His interest in her had begun thirteen months
before in a Florida library. Taking a book off
the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with
the words of the book, but with the notes
penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting
reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind.
In the front of the book, he discovered the
previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell.
With time and effort he located her address. She
now lived in New York City. He wrote her a
letter introducing himself and inviting her to
The next day he was shipped overseas for service
in World War II. During the next year and one
month the two grew to know each other through
the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a
fertile heart. A romance was budding.
Blanchard requested a photograph, but she
refused. She felt that if he really cared, it
wouldn't matter what she looked like.
When the day finally came for him to return from
Europe, they scheduled their first meeting -
7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New
York. "You'll recognize me," she wrote, "by the
red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel."
So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a
girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he'd
I'll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened:
A young woman was coming toward me, her figure
long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls
from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as
flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle
firmness, and in her pale green suit she was
like springtime come alive. I started toward
her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was
not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small,
provocative smile curved her lips.
"Going my way, sailor?" she murmured.
uncontrollably I made one step closer to her,
and then I saw Hollis Maynell.
She was standing almost directly behind
the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying
hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than
plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into
The girl in the green suit was walking
quickly away. I felt as though I was split in
two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and
yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose
spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my
own. And there she stood. Her pale, plump face
was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a
warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate.
My fingers gripped the small worn blue
leather copy of the book that was to identify me
to her. This would not be love, but it would be
something precious, something perhaps even
better than love, a friendship for which I had
been and must ever be grateful.
I squared my shoulders and saluted and
held out the book to the woman, even though
while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of
"I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you
must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could
meet me; may I take you to dinner?"
The woman's face broadened into a
tolerant smile. "I don't know what this is
about, son," she answered, "but the young lady
in the green suit who just went by, she begged
me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if
you were to ask me out to dinner, I should go
and tell you that she is waiting for you in the
big restaurant across the street. She said it
was some kind of test!"
It's not difficult to understand and
admire Miss Maynell's wisdom. The true nature of
a heart is seen in its response to the
unattractive. "Tell me whom you love," Houssaye
wrote, "And I will tell you who you are."
~ Author Unknown ~