DEAR ABBY: "Reminiscing in Reno" shared a memory of Edward G. Robinson's generosity to servicemen during World War II. I would also like to add a memory I have of that kind human being.
Sixty years ago, when I was 11, my 9-year-old sister and I were flying home to Dallas after visiting our grandparents in California. We were traveling alone.
Our plane got caught up in some turbulence, and I became extremely sick, throwing up all over the place. The next thing I knew, this lovable man had me in his lap, while he held a barf bag and gently wiped my face with a damp towel. He kept assuring me, "Everything is going to be OK."
When we landed in Dallas, the man carried me down the ramp and took my little sister by the hand to our waiting parents. My mother almost fainted when she saw it was Edward G. Robinson. It has become a treasured family story. -- DOTTIE IN HOUSTON
DEAR DOTTIE: It's understandable that you never forgot him. Ironic, isn'it it, that such a caring Samaritan became famous for playing "heavies" on screen. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: "Reminiscing in Reno" wrote about his World War II experience as a guest in the home of Edward G. Robinson. I have another story to tell:
Mrs. Edward G. Robinson was very active with the USO, organizing visits of young women to various military camps around Los Angeles in the early days of the war. My mother was one of those college girls who volunteered to socialize with the uniformed men before they shipped out.
On a given weekend, they took a chartered bus and went to dances or "socials" with the boys -- giving them someone to talk to. The girls were fully chaperoned and had their own lodging for the night, until their return to Los Angeles the following day.
Mrs. Robinson wrote a small book about this group, called "The Desert Battalion," and gave one to each of the volunteers. Mom loaned her only copy to someone else in the battalion and has never found a replacement, much to her dismay. She says it was a great experience and felt she had helped in her own way with the war effort on the home front.
This was one of those unique local activities that happened in response to World War II. I hope the memory of these efforts can somehow be preserved. There are so many inspiring stories about life at home and abroad during World War II that my generation unfortunately may never know. -- DAVE KOHL, WEST LINN, ORE.
DEAR DAVE: You're right, there are. And since you brought up the subject of inspiring stories, "War Letters," the extraordinary collection of historical correspondence from the Civil War to the present (collected by Andrew Carroll, published by Washington Square Press), is now in paperback and available in bookstores. I recommend it.