Brick reacted to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, as most Americans did. Shock, disbelief, and resolve to go on the offensive. Brick's good friends joined the Army right away. Brick's enthusiasm for serving his country was no less than his friends', but no matter which branch of service Brick tried, they said, "No." His untreatable physical condition, known as ankylosing spondylitis, had progressed too far, and he was turned down on all fronts.
To compensate for his disappointment--more like despair--Brick became chairman of the town's gas rationing committee. He grew a huge Victory Garden. But he still wanted to do more in addition to his full-time job as supervisor over store managers for the Duckwall Company in Abilene, Kansas.
Why not become the community correspondent with Abilene servicemen overseas? Brick's letters began June 18, 1942, and continued through September 25, 1945. after the war was over. Brick sent pictures of the servicemen's families and various types of care packages in addition to the letters. He didn't tell a soul about the thousands he wrote, but he did keep carbon copies of every typewritten one sent. His daughter discovered them years after his death, neatly filed away for later discovery.
Pain alleviated; an obstacle overcome.
Elliott, 18, came to Kansas from Washington, D.C. with a friend, got himself in legal trouble, and spent a few days in jail and more time in a halfway house. He had not graduated from high school. He was black, and he was in Kansas, which was an even less friendly racial environment than back home in D.C. He earned his G.E.D. and tried his hand at community college classes, while working at a Sonic full time (requirement for the halfway house stay). He courageously enrolled at Kansas State University and learned how to traverse the college scene. He graduated with a degree in hotel and hospitality management. Now, after ten years in the Midwest, he will begin managing a restaurant of his own in Oklahoma next week.
Major obstacles overcome.
Dotty, 65, and a ten-year resident at a local retirement center, was born with cerebral palsy that has progressed until she is wheelchair bound. Yet she works two half-days at a local church and another two half-days at the retirement center's office. She keeps up an active correspondence with family and friends, and she occasionally writes articles for newsletters. Not many would blame her if she retreated to her quiet room and seldom made an appearance. Instead, she maintains a completely active life, whizzing up and down the halls and out into the streets in her power chair. As a testament to an active life, she is seldom in her room.
Obstacle hardly noticed when you hear her hearty laugh.
What doesn't destroy you makes you stronger, some say. These three people are wonderful testaments to growth and change, and of course, obstacles overcome.