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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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We Take a Walk

By Charles Wolf, '40

The Magpie, January 1940, v. 24, n. 1, p. 36.

WE read quite recently in a periodical of high standing that one of the most interesting of diversions is to take a walk. Not a walk to the movies or to a friend's house, but a jaunt pure and simple, without any specific destination or any predetermined concepts. We recollected that we had often taken little walks, but we recalled too that there had always been a particular destination in our mind. Thus, having little to do one afternoon and being rather bored with reading and other banal pastimes, we decided to go for a little walk; though it did seem slightly childish.

We remembered that the periodical had given as a point of advice the counsel to take particular care to notice the people and sights that were encountered, for this was supposedly where the enjoyment lay.

It was a sunny and brisk fall day when we started out, and it certainly was ideal weather for our stroll. We assumed a jaunty, carefree gait as the splendid weather animated our being, and the blocks soon began to roll by.

We began to observe the passers-by and were quite surprised by the diverse and contrasting types of people that our gaze encountered.

We saw the abnormally tall man as he tried to detract from his great height by stooping in a self-conscious manner; and the rather undersized man with his two and one-half heels, who hoped to increase his dignity by increasing his negligible height.

We saw the plump, buxom woman as she gazed wistfully at the thin wisp of a girl who strode by, making the men's eyes light up, and we could not help smiling at this pathetic yet rather comical situation.

A note of solemnity crept into our thoughts as we passed a blind man playing his fiddle to earn the few pennies necessary for his subsistence. We dropped a nickel into his little cup and heard him gratefully murmur "Thanks buddy," as he nodded his head in recognition and went on playing...

Walking on further we heard the shrill screaming voice of an ambulance siren, notifying motorists to make way, for human life is at stake! As suddenly as it had started, the siren stops. The sleek, streamlined ambulance pulls up at a house and in a few seconds the patient is wheeled out on a stretcher, his face an ashen white as in a coma, and in another few moments, the siren again going full blast the ambulance speeds off; another tragedy in the saga of everyday city life.

Drifting over to the park we imbibe the fragrant scent of nature's own children. The trees are a vision of natural loveliness as their leaves are in the midst of turning a reddish, brown hue. We cannot help thinking, as we gaze upon them, that soon the harshness of winter will set in, ending all this enthralling beauty until next spring.

We pass the park lake, and, unable to resist the temptation, we succumb to our desire and take out a boat. As we loll in the middle of the lake, reclining in our craft, we cannot but feel beatifically content with the world at large.

But, like all such things, an end must soon come, and in about an hour we saunter jovially into our home. As we enter the house, Mother greets us with the perennial, "Where have you been?" and we reply with a knowing smile, "Oh, just out for a walk, Mom."

The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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