free exercise, but climbing the rope when necessary. At an A.A.U. meet, I again encountered Cease Hollingsworth and, because he was connected with U.C.L.A., I determined to enroll there, which I did in 1940. Officially, I majored in sociology, but actually it was in gymnastics, spend ing all of my spare time in. the gymna sium and swimming pool. My blindness seemed no particular handicap, merely a slight inconvenience at times. I have al ways felt myself a normal human being, and fortunately have been so treated by friends and acquaintances. During my college years, Cease was a wonderful friend, too good to me for his own good. He would work with me in the gym long after dinner time, often foregoing his hot meal in order to prepare me for meets. We did manage to make a letter every year. While I was still attending the uni versity, and Jus was working long hours for an aircraft company, we broke into vaudeville with our hand-balancing act, working five years as professionals. That the “ topmounter” in the act was totally blind only added interest to the attraction. We did a seven-and-one-half minute rou tine set to music, in return for which we received from $25.00 to $75.00, and, since we often performed four times an eve ning, even in those times before inflation the money had really started rolling in. We had more calls than we could pos- siby accept. While about eighty per cent of our work was for private parties and lodges, we also worked theaters, night clubs, aircraft plants (one time seven in one day), picnics of industrial organi zations, stadiums, U.S.O., naval, marine and army bases. We reached some o f the big spots such as the Palladium, Casa Manana, Pasadena Rose Bowl, Trianon, and American Legion Halls. Belonging to a group called Service Sports, Inc., we were associated with well-known sportsmen such as Joe Louis, Jim Jef fries, Jim Londos, and others. There is no doubt but that we were headed for the big time! Suddenly, however, our climb to the top was halted by what then seemed to me a great calamity, but which I now recognize as the hand of God. In May 1945, my brother was draft ed into the armed services, leaving un filled contracts. Having by this time graduated from U.C.L.A., for the first time in my life I was alone, with plenty ,of time to think. I reviewed my manner of life very seri ously. I had a very good idea where the present course would eventually lead me. Although I still went to church on Sun days whenever I could, I was getting farther and farther away from God and the things I knew to be right. You may be sure that the backstage life of the entertainment world does not possess the glamour and glitter displayed under the footlights. I liken it to an apple with a rosy skin and a rotten core. If you eat near the edge, it isn’t so bad, but the nearer you get to its heart, the worse it becomes. Sure, there is plenty o f leisure in show business, but much of it is spent in unprofitable conversation, N O V E M B E R , I 948
gambling, and drinking. My brothers and I had never used liquor or tobacco, but soon our companions, particularly the women, were calling us “ sissies” and urg ing us to join them. Yes, I well knew where it would end if I kept on as I was going: soon I would be just like the others. I was aware too that the theatrical road was strewn with wrecks who were once “ big. time.” It has no place for the aged and unsuccessful. I came in con tact with men, once top notchers in their fields, who had been reduced to working in cheaper and cheaper' “joints,” drink ing more and more, until they finally reached the gutter.
men, and, ignoring the letter in which I stated my decision for Christ, he re doubled his efforts to get me to join him. This I eventually did, and there our act was well received by thousands of officers and men. But all around was the same old thing: smoking, drinking, and all the things that went with it, and I was sick o f it. I asked Jus if he had received my letter, saying I was through with this kind of life. He replied, “ Yes, I did, but I want you to do just one more thing with me first . . . make a world tour, Europe, Australia, Japan, really big time stuff. I am. asking for just a year. We’ll make enough for both of us to do whatever we like. You can go on back and be a preacher if you want to.” How ever I well knew that if I agreed to this proposal, I would never leave show busi ness. I liked it too much. In spite of its wickedness, it thrilled me. I had to make the break now or never. So I said, “ No,” but he was persistent. “ Then how about working with me to make our expenses back to Los Angeles?” Much against my will, I agreed, feeling I owed him that much at least. Immediately, he booked us* for a theater in Kansas City. First, how ever, we took a trip to the Ozarks, where for some old timers we did some high hand-to-hand on a concrete patio. For the first time, I tore the ligaments in my foot, which ended all cross-country engagements for me. I thanked God with all of my heart. That really was the end of my doing my act for the world, the flesh, and the devil. Naturally, my brother was bitterly disappointed. To some degree, it spoiled his work and his career, for he has never found aqyone quite as responsive as his own brother. The break has been hard for me, too, for I love him and enjoy working with him. But I love Christ even more. I thought, of course, that I should never do a handstand again. I turned my steps toward the Bible Institute of Los Angeles where I am now a Senior. Here God provided another partner for me, a candidate for the mission field, Harry Bascom, who is a first-class gym nast, a sighted athlete as my brother was. Together we have formed a team to perform for church groups, high schools, youth rallies, etc. always on con dition that along with our act we may be permitted to give our testimony for Christ. It attracts young people especial ly. Right now my connection with Sky Pilots, Incorporated, is furnishing a fine opportunity for service. As I said in the beginning, all of my life the Lord has been making up to me for the loss o f vision. Some day I shall see the King in His beauty and thank Him for what He has done for me and through me. Do you not agree that all this world has to offer cannot compare with a prospect like that? And when I see Him, I long to be able to lay at His blessed feet many sheaves—young men and women, who have been saved be cause now I do my act fo r God. Page Thirteen
“ One-armed get up” Next to the last position in a complete hand-balancing act. I do not mean by this that there are not fine people in the entertainment world, for there are. Many of them were wonderful to me, and I have only the kindest feeling toward them personally. It is only the life that they are required to live that is wrong. I believe that they are misusing marvelous talents and abili ties which might be better used for God. In contrast, I compared the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ upon my life. I knew that on Calvary He had died for me, and was calling me to surrender my whole life to Him. I had heard His promises of salvation, peace with God, and holy and happy living. At last I de cided to let Him take over as my Sav iour and Lord. It was the best decision I ever made. I was aware that it would be the end of show business for me, and I wrote my brother accordingly. Meantime Jus had been urging me to come to the camp where he was station ed to help him entertain the service
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