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Newspaper Page Text
"CENTRAL" JUST A GIRL, BUT THE MEAL NEW
HEROINE OF MODERN LIFE
The Great Ohio Floods Uncovers an Undiscovered Force
for Bravery and Teaches Us How Valuable v .
; Our "Hello-Girls" Are.
By Mary Boyle O'Reilly.
"A memorable cause for pride
amidst the heartrending hardships of
the western floods is the quiet cour
age of the telephone girls.
Where torrents unloosed by north
ern watersheds swept swift destrue
Mary Boyle O'Reilly.
tion through unprotected lowlands
the plea of a stricken people could he
voiced only through "central:"
Telegraph companies acknowledg
ed the worst prostration' in their his
tory, railways were paralyzed
throughout the flood zone. In scores
of isolated towns of the Scioto, Mus
kingum and Miami vallies an over
whelmed community's hopefor relief
centered on a lonely girl!
111 time of peace the operatives who
sit at the switchboard hear life sweep
by ignoring their existence. The jjay
greetings, the eager plans for pleas
uring do not include them.
But in the hour of crisis, ah, then
we consider "central" grateful to
find her clear-headed in calamity, ca
pable of "coping with catastrophe, ef- ,
ficient to aid victims who will escape,
if at alt, by fractions of minutes.
"Don't ask me who the dead are,"
answered "central" at Chillicothe,
switching and relaying tales of de
struction and desolation.
"Don't ask me who the dead are.
Now we must think only of the peo
ple who are still alive."
All, down the Ohio valley little
towns escaped Titanic tragedies be
cause girl operators stood by their
switchboards. As Logansport was cut
off.came a last brave word on behaif
of flood refugees marooned on 'the
"hilltop. At Da"yton an intrepid "cen
tral," working, in the da-k for gas
mains were gone cheered the -thousands
in business buildings with news
of speedy rescue
In Peru -a quick-witted "central"
telephoned warning after warning
against the on-rushing danger.
At St. Marys, when the grand res
ervoir broke and inundated the town,
'central" (stood waist deep in the
flooded office to telephone Fort
Wayne of the tragedy.
Hamilton and Fremonf; and.polum
bus swept by yellow, swirling seas
were comforted by bulletins 'of lives
saved and relief trains already on
The brave reports give no hint of
'conscious self-sacrifice or heroism.
Apparently each "central" was in-