How I helped win World War II and almost met President Roosevelt when I was five years old by Burt Segelin
A couple weeks after the newspaper article, the mailman delivered a package and a letter from the President. Inside, along with the letter, was a box of orange, strawberry and lemon Baby Ruth Safety Pops. “The Lollypop with the Safety Handle.” I decided to share the lollypops with my friends in first grade.
The next morning I got up real early, washed and dressed by myself. I couldn’t wait. My mom walked me to PS 20 on Oakman Street. I went right up to Ms. Hughes and told her that the President sent me a letter and a big box of Safety Pops and I wanted to share them with the kids. I didn’t tell her that I’d probably have to miss school for the rest of the year because President Roosevelt would need me in Washington to help win the war.
Ms. Hughes opened the box and asked Billy to hand them out to the kids. Billy was the class bully and beat me up at least three times a week. He began to hand out the lollypops, but first he stuck a big handful in his pocket. Ms. Hughes began to read the letter from President Roosevelt. The kids began sucking on the lollypops. I heard her read….. “Dear Burton: It pleased me very much to read about your effort to win the war in the Democrat and Chronicle. I am awarding you a Citation of Merit as a “Distinguished Young American……………..Sincerely, Otto Schnering, President, Curtiss Candy Company.”
Ms. Hughes finished reading, turned to me and said, “It’s a great letter, Burton, but you know it’s not from President Roosevelt but from the president of the candy-company. I began to cry. The kids continued slurping on the Safety Pops. I hoped Billy wouldn’t beat me up after school.