Part 1: God’s Grace to a Young Man
Part 1: God’s Grace to a Young Man
“Childhood is such a wonderful experience. It is a shame to waste it on young people.”
Introduction – by Rev. Morley J. Durost
If in complying with the insistent requests of many co-laborers and friends that he record some of the incidents of God’s miracle-working grace in his life, there should be found encouragement and motivation for one soul to make a complete commitment of his life to Christ then this compilation would be justified. The writer can or would not glory in any literary excellence, for his calling was to a life of vocal witnessing and love-prompted service.
A Reasonable Excuse for My Size
As an immigrant to this wonderful world I weighed twelve pounds. Due to an unfortunate bout with typhoid fever during my second year, I spent most of that year carried about on a pillow which some unwary wild geese had contributed to the family; a mere bundle of bones.
But it is hard to keep a good man down or thin, so at five years I was “pure wool and a yard wide” – almost literally. But I was never fated to be a heavy weight. In my early teens I began to grow tall and attained my present height of 6 feet 2 inches before I was sixteen years old. It was not until I was over fifty that obesity overtook me – sixty pounds of it. It came to pass in this way.
In the constituency of the Dexter Maine Baptist Church was a family consisting of a father, mother and one daughter. The mother, although a member of the Baptist Church, never attended, even though her daughter was commendably faithful. As a pastor I called at that home soon after arriving in town and found the mother at home. After exchanging amenities I said, “I understand, Mrs. G., that you are a member of the Baptist Church. I have missed your presence and have wondered if there was any reason like sickness in your home.” She replied, “Well, you see, Mr. Durost, I am not very well or strong, so I can go up to town only once a week, and I have to go to the Grange.”
“Certainly I understand,” I replied. “Thus I presume that if your husband or daughter should die, you would send for the Grange master.” With that I dropped the subject. Next Sunday she was in church.
A few months later she was sick and in need of blood. I volunteered and gave a pint, and in three months I had gained twenty-five pounds. A few months later we moved to Lisbon Falls where I found Deacon Frank Day a victim to pernicious anemia. Again I volunteered blood and again I gained twenty-five pounds. Don’t tell me Acts 20:25 isn’t true! “And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day that I am pure (innocent) from the blood of all men”.
God’s Provisions for an Education
It has been said that a person is justified in using the first twenty-five years of life in preparing himself to work the second twenty-five years in order that he may be able to devote himself freely to the activities he considers most fulfilling and worthwhile to him.
The first or preparatory segment of my life began in what was known as the Sam Everett District School, a one-room University, presided over by young John Partridge, a pedagogical genius who understood the accidental joys and troubles of little lads, and who was as kind as he was wise. He later served as the highly respected and revered principal of the Caribou High School. It came to pass that my father was elected to convey the children in our district to the consolidated school in town, where I successfully solved the mysteries of grades one to three.
In 1904 the family moved to Belfast, Maine for one year, removing to Mars Hill in Aroostook County in 1905. There I received the remainder of my elementary and secondary education, graduating from Aroostook Central Institute in 1913.
In October 1915 I set out for Boston and my first bid for a college education. The summer before an itinerant preacher had promised me that if I would come to Boston he would meet me and would have a job for me so I could work my way through college. Accepting his offer in good faith, I arrived in Boston on a Tuesday morning, not knowing a soul, and having the vast sum of fourteen dollars in my pocket. I was about to receive my first demonstration of divine care and providence, and of human undependability.
After docking safely at Tea Wharf and after the gangplank had been lowered, a gentleman who had come on board approached me and said, “Your name is Morley Durost?” I pleaded guilty.
“Bessie Pierce of Mars Hill asked me to meet you and see that you found yourself around the city and to the school.” And with that he took one of my suitcases and headed through the maze of streets until we found ourselves on Clarendon Street where he lived and the school, Gordon College, was. God had done it again, for you see, my promised benefactor did not show up for several months.
At the end of the first week I found myself, along with five others of like precarious monetary situations, tramping down to 170 Massachusetts Avenue to the Rhodes Brothers Grocery Store. I was the last to enter and stood some distance from the others as they met and talked with Mr. Edgar Rhodes. In his usual concise but friendly way he hired them and sent them to the department where they would be employed. Then he turned and saw me, perhaps looking disappointed. He approached me and said, “Are you a Gordon man, too?”
“Yes sir,” I said. Then he said, “I think that is all the help I need here. But wait a minute.” With that he turned and entered his office and picked up the phone. He rang a number then waited a few moments, and I heard him say, “Honey, I am sending a young man out to help you around the place.” When he returned he gave me an address and said, “Report to that place tomorrow morning.”
My first problem was to find Evans Road in Brookline. Thanking him, I left the store and walked up Massachusetts Avenue to Beacon Street where a good-natured Irish cop gave me ample directions so that two and one-half miles and one hour later I was standing before the house which was to become a second home to me.
So by being refused a job at the store, I became acquainted with the owner and his family who were soon calling me “their boy” in memory of the son they had lost.