Wednesday, February 5, 2014

“The blind see . . .

“I ought to tell you about my friends the “Eskimo Twins.” How the Doctor found them starving and brought them to our Orphanage (Frank Sayre, now Governor of the The Philippines, gave it to us. He was a student helper the same year I was—he and his brother.) These twins had congenital cataracts, one summer there came to us a Dr. Andrews, oculist from Santa Barbara, he removed the cataracts. I never have forgotten the day that those kids, who had become great friends of mine, looked out on the world for the first time. The next Sunday, I preached in the little church (the Doctor was away). My text? 'The blind see . . . this day is the Scripture fulfilled in your ears.'”

“The reason for my being sent to North Russia goes back to some Labrador experiences of twenty-five years ago. President Wilson knew that I had been in Labrador with Grenfell at the same time [1909] that his son-in-law, Frank Sayre, was there. (That was the year [Robert] Peary came home from the pole and Sayre and I were on the Roosevelt helping him refit in Battle Harbor.) 

[Ed note: Washington Post, 26 November 1913: When returning from the Grenfell camp in 1909, Sayre missed his steamer, but found the arctic ship, ROOSEVELT, with Robert Peary aboard, at Battle Harbor, and acting as secretary for the explorer.] 

When the intervention idea was developing, President Wilson told the State Department I was just the man for the north, so as the Y.M.C.A. hut work had completely gone to pieces, I (with several of my colleagues) went with the State Department and about the middle of January set out from Petrograd for the north.

--Jesse Halsey

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