Friday, July 14, 2017

Mrs. Lee Gaye Meets Midget of Ridgecrest at Baptist Assembly, 1941

Beasley’s Farm and Home Weekly, Charlotte, N.C., July 31, 1941

The Midget of Ridgecrest by Mrs. Lee Gaye

To some this may seem like a broad statement and some might think I’m merely speaking well of our Baptist Assembly at Ridgecrest, but others like myself are struck with the truth that it’s wonderful.

It’s a beauty spot of our nation, there on the mountain top where you receive spiritual blessings, a vision and an inspiration to help carry to every human heart the message of Jesus.

I wish it was possible for every officer and teacher to be there next year for the southwide Sunday school week.

The general and departmental conferences are educational and helpful, and the sermons are the best. The general atmosphere gets next to your heart. It is a rather reassuring thing to have people always look like they are interested in you and glad to have you. Upon such a commendable spirit has the reputation of this assembly grown among the Baptists not only in North Carolina but almost every state.

It was very thrilling to meet and be in conference with the writers of our Sunday school literature, also to talk with folks from New Mexico, where my brother has been for 18 years, and to send greetings to him, and the friendly folk from Tampa, Fla., who took a message to my son there. Everywhere praises are heard of the friendliness and fellowship. I feel like it is a long sought for spot where one could stay for a long time and leave with reluctance.

It was at one of the wonderful dinners they feed you that I met the midget of Ridgecrest. He attracted my attention as soon as he sat down at the table, because he had the body of a child about 7 years and the face of a grown man. Some one at the table asked him why he was eating with the older folks and he said: “I’m 18 and one of the staff.” Well, I just couldn’t believe but that he was joking, but I was so impressed I had to leave the table and hunt him up and get his story for the Journal, and here is what he told me:

His name was Dan Turner, born at Ridgecrest August 28, 1922 and weighed 9 pounds at birth. His parents are normal, as are his three brothers. He now weighs 60 pounds and is 44 inches tall. He began school at the age of 7 and finished at 18, and, if possible, will go to college. He has been working at Ridgecrest five years, four of which he has been on the staff. He wears a No. 10 shoe in a child’s size and 7-year size boy clothes. He has never shaved and won’t unless it becomes necessary. He has been examined by different doctors and all say he won’t grow anymore.

Just then a lady who was listening asked it all that information he was giving me was true. For a minute his countenance fell and then with that bright, intelligent look of his, he said to ask Mr. Morgan about him. So to Mr. Perry Morgan, manager of Ridgecrest, I went for more information. Mr. Morgan said all the boy had told me was true and he added that he is dependable, the champion checker player, can swim like a fish, is active in all sports, also an active worker in Ridgecrest church. Mr. Morgan also said he hoped it would be possible for Dan to go to college. I, too, hope he some day will have his chance, for I know he will make good.
--Mrs. Lee Gaye

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