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   John 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 the rose.
   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 correspond. 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 never seen.
   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. Almost 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 low-heeled shoes. 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 my
   disappointment.
   "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."



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