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Newspaper Page Text
missions and the like. He fre
quently spoke from the platform
to the derelicts gathered there.
And then the long and bitter
years of penitentiary life and the
heavy drinking he had done be
gan to tell on him. His health
broke down. He lost first one job
and then another.
Winter came on. For the first
time since Oram was released
from the pen, his family knew
privation and suffering. There
were times when there was not
enough food in the house. And
the children were not properly
clad for the cold weather.
Oram still held to his religion.
He still visited the missions. He
still tried to save and make men
of other human wrecks.
He got a great deal of thanks
for this work in the missions.
Many of the mission workers
from uptown made a great deal
of fuss over him. They pointed
him out as if to say:
"See what our efforts have
done! Once that 'man was a
crook. Now he has reformed
and believes in the church and is
giving his time and his efforts to
save others. It is all our work."
But the thanks and the fuss
was all they gave Oram. They
did. not pay him for what he was
doing toward saving others. And
thanks and fuss do not put
clothes on children's backs nor
food in their mouths.
The poverty of the Orams be
gan to be remarked on around
the missions. Some well inten
tioned person told their story to
Jthe United Charities, that great
organization of which Julius
Rosenwald is vice president and
David Forgan, the banker, treas
urer. What the United Charities did
is best told in Mrs. Oram's own
"They sent someone around
every week. Usually it was Ellyn
Cooney, the assistant superin
tendent of the Lower North dis
trict at 1116 Wells street.
"Miss Cooney always was com
ing around and finding out 'how
we were getting along.' She made
reports on us every week I think.
We were not getting aolng very
well during all the time she was
visiting us. I suppose she put
that in her reports. I do not
"Once, Miss Cooney had the
United Charities send around a
basket of groceries. We were
told that it 'had to last us a week.'
There was not much groceries to
last a family of four one week.
"Then the last day of January,
the United Charities had my hus
band arrested. They said he was
not supporting me. This was
true. He was practically an in
valid, and he could not get work.
It was hot his fault. He was do
ing the best he could.
"I went to the United Charities.
I pleaded with Miss Cooney not
to get my husband into trouble.
"I told her the story of my
husband's life. I told her the
long years I had waited fof'him
while he was serving his sentence
at Joliet; I asked her if she
thought it right that we should
be separated now, just because