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INGENIOUS WORK IS DONE BY WOUNDED VETERANS!
By TORREY FORD. Oct l I'ATIONAL therapy Is a big word. In rather colloquial terms you might speak of It as a mouthful?perhaps even a mouthful and a half. But at Fox Hills It la very much In the vocabulary. Walking through the wards you come on a big husky, who before the war, worked In a steel plant. He could put In a twelve hour trick at the blast furnace and think nothing of it. If necessary he could hang on for a full twenty-four hours, and grow huskier on the diet. To-day he's leaning back on the pillows weaving m lady's silk scarf. That's occupational therapy. ^ ou walk turthor along and como on othsr young men with powerful, big frames ex cept for a missing leg or n twisted arm or a hole In the neck. Each one has his head bent over the bed picking up little beads and stringing them out endlessly Into something that looks as though it was going to be a shopper's purse. That's occupational therapy, too. Tn fact, when you search the thing out. occupational therapy has a range that reaches all the way from making rag carpets on a big loom in the main shop to painting doodangs on a tin talcum powder box In a wheel chair next to the operating room. And when you are a disabled veteran of the great war you don't much care what they call It us long as they give you something to do. Monotony of Hospital Life Never Can Be Relieved Much In most lines, they say that the tlrat year Is the hardest. This astounding premise is t eached by assuming that people can get accustomed to any mode of living if they will only stick at It long enough. In the case of wounded soldiers the supposition is not so definite. When you are still toeing operated on for a shrapnel wound that was Inflicted back In 1918 the novelty of the situation gradually "Picking up little beads and string, ing them out endlessly into something that looks as though it was going to be a purse." begins to wear of*. After the fifteenth opera tion on the same old spot In the same old leg you are apt to lose your enthusiasm for the ceremony. Hanging around a hos pital also begins to pale on you. When you first landed between the sheets It was a different story. It seemed more comfortable than the trenches and there was a certain feeling of relief in being out of it all alive. And it was something of a luxury to have your meals brought on a tray. For a time hospital life wasn't so bad. Into whatever base hospital they carried you on a stretcher you were pretty certain to find a congenial bunch with at least one common bond?all wounded In the same ol' war. TTsually there was considerable merriment In the ward. Whether you were on the eighth or eighteenth day after an operation, some one would hobble over to your bed or you could hobble over to some one's bed for a game of chess or checkers. And If there was any money In the crowd a seven handed game of stud might help to pass a long afternoon. But after the first year or so even these diversions fail to rouse you from a growing discontent. After you have heated at chess or checkers every one In the hospital who could be beaten, after the money In the crowd has all concentrated itself in certain hands and a game of stud'is impossible, after you have written to every one whose name and address you can remember, after the 220ih Red Cross lady has dropped the 220th carnation on your bed and murmured sym pathy In gushing tones, after two years of this and nothing more but talk of tempera tures and diet and dressings, you begin to long for something different. Then one day. in the dullest part of the afternoon, a nurse in a light blue uniform, a stranger to the ward, approaches you. She has a quantity of weird looking parapher nalia tucked under her arm. She asks you i you wouldn t like to make a reed basket or a bead bag. Yon shake your head no. Then she suggests a lady's scarf or a bureau runner or anything you may have on your mind. Unwilling to Do Women's Work Even it You Are Wounded Again you shake your head. Even if you are a bed patient, you are still all male, way out to the finger tips. / The girl In the blue uniform passes on to the next bed. You overhear the same con ference repeated and you wait eagerly for your fellow patient to shake his head. At. length he does. Hurrah for both of you! Even If your mentalities are stale and your hodies listless you still want the general public to realize that you are soldiers?not Inmates of an old ladies' home. Finally, far down the aisle of cots, you see that the girl in blue has cornered a victim. You watch her set up that curious wooden device and give preliminary Instruc 1 ions to the poor chap who didn't have the strength to resist her. You feel sorry for him. hut still you watch with some Interest as he begins t0 weave the yarn In and out and shift various levers. You don't really believe that he will make anything. The Strang^ nurse passes your cot with a smile the next day and continues on dow ?o her "victim." There is^more weaving of x am and shifting of levers. Oradtmlly every one In the place becomes interested In the ultimate product. You Inspect the finished scarf at first with a certain scorn. It has bright enough colors hut the design is too simple, Two days later, when he gives It to his girl, you see her pleasure In receiving the gift and his pride In producing it. You experience a brief sensation of envy. As the days go hy you note that he Is making more scarfs, and even branching out In the runner business. Anyway, he Is always busy now. and can work along with One A. E. F. Man Turned Old Razor Blades Into Working Model of a Locomotive, While Ornate Carvings in Wood and Bone Help Pass Time for the Bedridden?Cures Often Hastened by Occupational Therapy, of Which Weaving and Basket Making Are Important Parts "The sweater was of baby blue and white . . . but the little Chinaman was quite content, for it would take him a month," Sketches from life made at the Pox Hills (Staten Island) Hospital. 4 \ I only an occasional suggestion from the girl in blue. You begin to weaken on this who;? business of sex consciousness. If it's ah right lor a woman to work at a man's Job (and you have seen plenty of them doing it), why isn't it all right for a man. temporarily incapacitated, to weave scarfs? One afternoon, when the girl in blue passes particularly close to your bed, you stop her with a weak gesture. What was that she mentioned about reed baskets and bead bags? What? . . . Well, if she really doesn't mind, you'd like to try out a little of that occupational therapy. Regular Treatment at Fox Hills With Staff to Teach the Boys Down at the Fox Hills Base Hospital, where nearly a thousand veterans linger on their beds or within easy falling distance of them, occupational therapy is a regular part of the treatment. Miss Cornelia Crolins. graduate of a Boston school of fine arts, and a score of blue uniformed aids carry on the work. They go on the theory that no matter how many splints and bandages a patient is burled under there is some form of craft that will occupy his "spare" mo ments when he isn't being fed or nursjd or doctored. I^ast Wednesday afternoon Miss Crolins look us on a tour of inspection around Fox Hills. It was "a matinee afternoon," she explained, and there might not be much go ing on in the way of occupational therapy; but what there was we were welcome to see. Stepping out briskly, she remarked that there were five miles of corridor to the place, not Including side trips to the various wards. Perhaps it wasn't the surgical ward that she led us into first, but that's the picture that stands out clearest in looking bftck at the tour. It was a long room, at least a hundred yard dash from one end to the other, flanked on each side by a straight line of white cots. I,ess than half the beds were occupied at the moment, hut bedside tables, laden with personal possessions, ward his table. "There's a nice scarf I make too." "Going to sell them?" we asked. "No," he said. "No sell. Make a nice present to a lady who has been good to me." "And the sweater?" "That's for me," he added with a show of pride. The sweater was to be made of baby blue and white, with a little pink later on. Rather gaudy colors for a gentleman, but the little Chinaman, who had served and fallen In the navy, was quite content with the pros pect. It would take him a month, perhaps two, to finish it. He almost hoped it would take two. Fifteen years ago, back in China, he had worked on a hand loom. He had forgotten all about it until a girl in blue came along and helped him to remember. Next to the Chinaman was a younger man from Harlem, north of 130th street. He had dark skin and white teeth. He was wounded in the Argonne in October, 1918, shot four times and perhaps more?he couldn't remember. Since then life for him had been just In and out of the hospitals. That was all. He was partly dressed, sitting in a chair and leaning over the bed. He had a little saucer of glittering beads^whlch he picked up carefully with a needle and strung them on black threads. Conversation revealed that he was a bead bag specialist. He could flrll8h a bag in two days. He was second Basket weaving with a competent woman instructor to help serves to pass the time for many wounded veterans. hinted that at meal times there would be a best at It in the ward. There was one man full roll call to the room's capacity. who could make a bag In a day. In the first cot by the door there was a We asked him If he made much money little withered up Chinaman, propped up by out of his bags. He didn't make any. He several pillows, with only his arms and wouldn't sell a bag. He bought 'he ma shoulders outside of the covers. He was ly- terlals and gave the bags to his lady friends, ing quite still. ^ ou might have thought at bad promises for four now. Probably he first that he was sound asleep. Then you j8 a popular man in Harlem. But he has noticed between his thin hands a small strip nevpr heard of occupatlonal therapy-he's a ol boafd with some yarn. Up and down bead ^ epeclalist. the board his hands travelled slowly, ap parently making no movement at all. He To P^nerve the International spirit in an was so intent on his work that he didn't American hospital we found a young Italian look up until we spoke to him. 'n very next cot. He had his face "Making a sweater," he murmured in a pressed against a saucer of beads, small, feminine voice. Then he waved to- "Must be hard on the eyes," we offered. "It's only hard on one of them," he said. "The other's glass." He didn't remember much about the war? lost an eye and a couple of other things, had a helluva time all in all. Didn't know much what to do with himself until the girl in blue came along and got him started on bags. Now he was making one for the wife. She came in to see him occasionally and he thought it would be fun to give her something instead of his letting her do all the giving. He used to be a machinist in his earlier civilian days. Not much chance of doing that now with only one eye. No, he didn't think he could make bead bags for a living. Didn't know much what he would do if he ever got out of a hospital. Just drift along, he supposed, somehow. Passing down the line there, were several vacant cots, partly accounted for by a group of congenial spirits ^rho had hobbled out to an anteroom \ and were tossing the cards around to the accompaniment of jingling coins and heated arguments. Over on the other side one of the girls in blue was giving a demonstration of a loom to a bed patient. She had quite an audience of young men, all of'whom were inhaling the art of scarf weaving as though, it were a craft that was going to establish each of them on millionaires' row. For actually, in a hos pital. the man who can use up all of his time is considered more or less of a mill ionaire. In a room at the end of the ward a mini ature shop had been arranged. There was plenty of paraphernalia, but only two crafts men working. One chap in a wheel chair was decorating a candy box with oil paints. An aid had sketched in the design and he was using his own haphazard judgment about color. It was a weird combination that he set down and viewed critically, but quite approvingly. The other worker, whose right arm was done up in heavy splints, was using his good arm and part of his bad arm to make leather pocketbooks. Scattered about the place were other products in the making. Some one had started a Noah's Ark. The ark was finished and part of the animals were lined up on the window sill. Then there was a cigar box partly carved. Reed baskets, a lamp shade, a painted tray and some other painted materials showed that at times the work shop buzzed with activity. Probably no one was growing rich from the total product, but it was using up a lot of time. Nearly All Mental Cases Work, Most of Them at Looms Miss Crolins took us in one of the mental wards, where there were only a dozen patients in a room. Most of them were in their beds or near them and under nearly every bed was a loom. Over in the far corner were two veterans, apparently in the pink of condition. They were sitting on the side of a bed, one of them holding a roll of blue yarn, the other winding it off on a ball. We tried to talk ?with them, but they weren't much on con versation. The bigger man had only a word or two of English in his vocabulary. "Me no sell," he growled. ''No send home. No send nothin' home. Why? What you want?" He was trembling from head to foot. Something that had happened to him during the war had made him that way. Perhaps a mine had gone off too close to his ear. We couldn't apologize for intruding on his yarn rolling party. He didn't want sympathy; he wanted to be left alone. With his yarn and his loom and his bunkie, he was perfectly happy. With strangers he trembled. The nurse said he might be cured. Era of Dehydrated Food Soon to Be at Hand, Says Scientist FASHIONS in dress and fashions in food have almost nothing in com mon. When the stylists indicate that a high crowned, narrow brimmed straw had is being worn by the better people the average man tosses his low crowned, nar row brim into an ash can and makes a dash for the nearest hat store. There is no argu ment, no discussion. Whether it is the pass ing of the trouser cuff or the introduction of the pocket lapel, he feels in honor bound to conform with the edict of the tailors. Besides, ho takes a certain amount of personal pride in stepping along briskly with the fashion parade. Yet in the matteij of food this same man will throw a spasm of protest before sub mitting to the slightest change in his regu lar menu. He declares emphatically that he wants everything 'like mother used to make-" That is the creed of his table and the motto of his daily diet. Though he expects progress and improvement in every other branch of civilized living, he recognizes no new farigled notions in the food line. He may be obstinate about it. but he positively refuses to stand for any deviations from the culinary ways of his maternal ancestors. Confronted with this arbitrary situation the food administrators are obliged to fight their way every inch of the Journey. As a rule they can bring in their innovations only after a struggle that fairly tears open the heart of the world. It took the civil war to bring the nation to a point where the canning industry could be mentioned In polite circles without start ing a private revolution. It took a world conflict before the scientists dared to utter thu word "dehydrating" beyond the walls of the research laboratory. Even to-day de hydrating has to be surrounded with all manner of high sounding verbiage to evade the general disapproval of the universe. Columbia Professor Predicts Dehydrates' Popularity Thus, gently and with all the diplomacy at our command, do we lead up to the pre diction that the pantry shelves of the next generation will hold cartons of dehydrated fish, meat, eggs, vegetables and fruit In every bit as convenient form as the present day can of salmon or package of crackers. Prof. Ralph H. McKee of Columbia Uni versity is the author of the prediction, and his opinion is corroborated by the few men in the country who have devoted their time to perfecting dehydrating processes. Prof. McKee has a working plant in operation at Havemeyer Hall, on Morningstde Heights, where he is dally adding to the store of de hydrating information. "Of course," said Prof. McKec, "we should Columbia Professor Predicts Vast Economic Advantages Will Soon Outweigh Aversion to New Fangled Notions in Diet not expect dehydrated food to be quickly taken up for home use. Following the past history of food changes, the first general use of dehydrated foods will probably be In in stitutions and armies, then in the larger civilian units, such as hotels and hospitals, and finally in the kitchen of the private house. "Probably in no other phase of life are we as slow to make changes as In food and the methods of cooking it. More than fifteen years ago armies began the use of dehy drated foods. Hospitals and hotels in this city and a few others have been using them in large amounts for three or four years, and within the last few months the manu facturers of theee products have been mak ing their flrst efforts to bring them to the attention of the housewife." Dehydrating in its simplest form is little more than removing the water from foods to protect them against spoilage. Indus trially, the idea has tremendous ramifica tions. If the farmers and producers from Maine to California would subject their crops to a dehydrating process before ship ping the saving in the cost of packing and transportation would represent a consider able item in the national budget. The ulti mate consumer could replace the water from his own kitchen faucet, and the vegetables, according to the dehydrating authorities, would never know the difference. Annually the nation spends millions of dollars transporting tons of water about the country for the benefit of the very small percentage of food that swims around In the water. The ordinary tomato, fresh from the vines, contains 94.3 per cent, water. Beets con tain 87.6 per cent, water; cabbages, 91,5 per rent.; carrots, 88.2 per cent.; celery, 94.5 per cent.; corn. 75.4 per rent.; spinach, 92.3 per cent., and turnips, 89.6. Meats and fish are made up of 65 to 75 per cent, water. De hydrating reduces the amount of water on the average to less than 10 per cent. A two pound can of tomatoes contains less than two ounces of real, bona fide tomato. An official estimate, coming from the Department of Agriculture at Washing ton, states that one carload of dried toma toes will save the railroads from handling thirty cars of canned tomatoes; and that if all the handling of the lumber for boxes, tlnplate, Ac., is included, one car of dried tomatoes gives an aggregate saving of 105 carloads of freight. Actually, food drying Is not a novelty. As a means of food preservation It has been employed for hundreds of years. Both for vegetable and animal foods, early colonists resorted to drying from necessity. Along the New England coast the drying of fish became an Important industry. But most of the methods In use were quite crude. The food was exposed to the sun and wind until the excess moisture had been removed. While successful In preserving the food, there was a "ertain loss of color and taste that Invari ably accompanied the process. Approximately 100 years ago the canning industry was Introduced from England, and drying fell Into the discard. The newer method could be applied to a greater variety of food materials and the canned products could be transported Into any climate, lister, with the development of cold storage, pas teurization, salting and smoking, drying was practically forgotten. During the gold rush In the Klondike the demand for foods which could be easily transported brought about the Importation of dried potatoes from Germany. Some ef fort was made to dry potatoes In Washing ton and Oregon, but the result was not pleas ing to the gold miners. Even In the Klon dike they preferred potatoes that didn't taste of sulphur, and they were particular about having white potatoes white and not black. Throughout the great war there was continual speculation concerning the food situation In Germany. How long could the German larder hold out? How could she go on feeding her armies and civilians. Isolated as she was from the rest of the world? Re cent figures on Germany's dehydrating In dustry uncover some of these secrets. By Means of Dehydration Germany Held Out So Long "In 1898 there were tnree smnll drying plants in Germany," says a Government folder. "Five years later there were stilt three plants there with an output large enough to be worth mentioning. This method of preservation may be regarded as apparently successful, for In 1906 the num ber of plants in operation had Increased to thirty-nine, In 1909 to 199, in 1914 to 488 and In 1916 to 841. In addition to this, 2,000 breweries were utilizing some portion of their equipment In the drying of food ma terials. It Is stated that In 1917 about 1,900 plants were In operation or under construction and the total quantity of pota toes alone dried in Germany was more than three times the total crop of the United States. These facts Will explain one of the reasons why Germany was able to maintain her food supplies during the war." Canada, too, did some war dehydrating. During 1915, 1916 and 1917 Canada prepared for the British army 44,000,000 pounds of mixed dried vegetables. One pound of the preparation was sufficient to give a nutri tious soup ration to sixty men for one meal. In 1918 the United States Army followed along with many thousands of tons of dried vegetables. At present there are in the country less than thirty vegetable and fruit dehydrating plants, most of them small. At the request of the Army Medical De partment three years ago the Harriman Research Laboratory at Roosevelt Hospital took up the study of Improving methods of preserving meats. After some months Drs. Palk and Prankel developed a new labora tory method of dehydrating, using a method of mild heat In a vacuum. The work on the process was then transferred to the depart ment of chemical engineering of Columbia University, where Prof. McKee took an ac tive hand In the work. "The process as Anally developed," ex plained Prof. McKee. "is applicable to meats and Ash as well as to vegetables and fruit. A vacuum shelf drier is used, the shelves of which are heated by means of steam or hot water. The food is placed on trays and these placed on the heated shelves, the door closed and the vacuum pump started. This type of apparatus Is made by a num ber of Arms in this country and abroad. "In some cases the new method gives products of no apparent Improvement over the old type process, but In other cases the product Is better than has hitherto been produced. The drying is completed In shorter time, permitting the handling of products sensitive to spoilage, such as meat and Ash. Potatoes and apples are not dis colored by oxidation, carrots show fewer changes and fruit keep# its original color. "The process is not n^fcolicable to roasts and other thick pieces of frtpat. Steaks can be dehydrated, but the trouble comes In getting them to take up watflLr in sufficient amount, and It would seem th^l the process should not be considered for stWtk? unless they are cut exceptionally thin.^??? have been surprised that the fat in the nT%** does not become rancid. The fat of detw?',**e(' meat seems to keep sweet IndeAnltely Prof. McKes exhibited several Nm|A* We were ready to quit the tour right then. It isn't pleasant to realize that you are mak ing a man, twice as big as yourself, tremble with dread and fear. But Miss Crolins said that outside of the mental wprds most of the men were proud to show off what they were making. Eventually, she led us back to the main ?hop, where men who are able to leave their wards come to work morning and afternoon. There isn't anything compulsory about t hours. When they feel like it they ca> come in and do a few turns. There are always a few Instructors on hand to show them the way. The Government supplies 'the ma terials, the machines and the instruction and splits the profits with the worker on a fifty fifty basis. Vast Variety of Objects Made And Many of Them Are Sold One room is devoted to the salable prod ucts. Mostly there are rugs, hand-woven ones of both intricate and simple design i. There are also electric lamps, cigar boxes, scarfs, table runners, baskets, leather goods and a scattering of odd contributions. Occa sionally, the things are sent up to New York for a sale, but, ordinarily, they depend on a chance sale there at the hospital. In the workshop there Is a room devoted to looms; another is the basket factory and the third is the toy shop for cutouts and painting. ^Apparently, the loom room is frequently visited by curious strangers. One of the workers at a small loom was forced to put up a sign, "Hands off." As this didn't make his working conditions quite ideal, he added; "This is a rdhner, NOT a bath towel, nor a rug." And then in a final note of exasper ation he inscribed these words: "I am dumb; get an interpreter." There are a few men in the hospital s<> have taken up occupational therapy with out any assistance from the official aids. One man, who has been in the hospital so long he knows every turning of the corri "One of them holding a hank of blue yarn, the other rolling it into a ball." dors, builds model boats. He christens each boat with the name of some p romlnent man and carves the name on the stern. Then he shrinks the boat in a bottle and despatches It to its namesake. He prizes the letters he gets in response to his unexpected gift. Another who served in the Engineers' Corps is reported to have built a complete engine with discarded safety razor blades. Uhe average disabled veteran of the great war isn't worrying much about how the na tion is going to reward him for his sacri fices. What he wants is something to kill time in the hospital. He'll even accept it in the name of occupational therapy. Which, when all is said and done, is rather generous of him. his work fresh from the laboratory. A quart box of dried strawberries contained ail that was left of four quarts of fresh strawberries. The cellular structure of the fruit had not been disturbed by the dehydrating process When soaked In water the berries would regain their original bulk and serve most of the purposes of the original product. A bushel or so of potatoes appeared in compact form, snuggling In an ordinary cracker box. While boiled and baked po tatoes would have to be stricken from the menu of the housekeeper using the product In the dried form, Prof. McKee said that a very palatable dish of mashed, fried or stewed In cream potatoes could be served by handling the material In the proper-way. Says Dried Vegetables Will Keep Indefinitely Under Favorable Conditions When asked how long vegetables in the dried form would keep, he said that under favorable conditions he didn't see why they shouldn't keep Indefinitely. He cited the instance of a Canadian manufacturer who found himself with several tons of a dried soup mixture left on his hands at the con clusion of the Boer war. As there was no local sale in the domestic market for the product the manufacturer rather than throw the material away put It In barrels carefully paraffined and stored it away. At the out break of the war In 1914 the barrels were shipped to the British army and utilised In the preparation of soup, Just as the bulk of the lot had been used fifteen years before. Possibly there ore numerous ex-Tommies who will exclaim over this fact and declare Indignantly that they recognised the soup all along as dating back at least to the Boer war. Invariably, as the market runs, when there Is a heavy crop prices fall well below the average. This situation-is usually fol lowed by a lean year with scanty crops and high prices. It is a feast or famine for the whole nation. With dehydration the bumper crop of one year could be converted into material to eke out the slender product of a poor yean As for the conservation of food materials, it is estimated by the Department of Agri culture that over 60 per cent, of the fruits and vegetables grown In this country now never reach the consumer as a result of poor transportation facilities, irregularities In marketing or other causes. Summing up the advantages of dehydra tion, It seems probable that there would be a great economic saving, an equalization of prices, a prevention of food shortages and a greater variety of foods available through out the year. If the dehydrated products can be made palatable there appears no good reason why the process should not take its place beside the canning Industry.