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TR Comes to Amherst, Circa 1910

At the hat factory, we heard Teddy Roosevelt was coming on the 4:15. The stationmaster got it on the telegraph From up the line. Some of the fellows Left work to go.

As many times as my father told the story,

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He never mentioned girls.

Maybe they weren't allowed to leave,

Or couldn't afford to, being on piecework.

They called themselves girls, I know,

Because we had a silver-plated loving cup

Engraved ``To Mr. Aldrich, from the Girls

In Sewing Hall.'' At long rows of machines,

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The women stitched straw braids in spirals

For later shaping into men's straw hats.

My father's job was fixing the machines.

When one broke down, the stitcher called

Urgently, ``Mr. Aldrich!'' over the noise. When the train pulled in, we couldn't see the president. They all said, ``Aldrich, you go in and get him.''

Men used last names then,

In a polite way, when they were well acquainted. So I climbed aboard, and just Walked into the parlor car. ``Mr. President, some people out here Would like to say hello to you.'' ``Happy to oblige,'' he said, And came out, raised his hand, and grinned. ``Three cheers for President Roosevelt!'' In those days, we really hollered, three times, All together, ``Hip, hip, hooray!''

The little dog-eared snapshot shows

TR himself, and with him a young man,

Dark haired, good looking, waving his straw hat -

My father, young beyond my memory.

He kept the picture in his safe-deposit box.

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