In August of 2006 I posted an entry about this World War II advertisement for the New Haven Railroad. My dad was the production manager of an advertising agency in NY City in the 40’s and this ad was written by his good friend and co-worker Nelson Metcalf. The ad has become one of the most famous ones of WW II and it launched a successful career for Mr. Metcalf.
Now it is more than four years since I posted that entry but I continue to get comments on it. The latest one came just a few days ago and “anonymous” said:“Today I bought a vintage (1942)WWII prayer book for soldiers and sailors, distributed by a church in Troy, Ohio. In a pocket in the back cover I found an anonymous, handwritten copy of Metcalf's ad. I am so glad to have found your blog so that I can put it into context. I'll always wonder what happened to the young serviceman who was moved by that ad .”
Isn’t that wonderful? It warms my heart to know that some of my memories might be of use to others. Here are the words to:
"The Kid in Upper 4"
"It is 3:42 a.m. on a troop train.
Men wrapped in blankets are breathing heavily.
Two in every lower berth. One in every upper.
This is no ordinary trip. It may be their last in the U.S.A. till the end of the war. Tomorrow they will be on the high seas.
One is wide awake ... listening ... staring into the blackness.
It is the kid in Upper 4.
Tonight, he knows, he is leaving behind a lot of little things - and big ones.
The taste of hamburgers and pop ... the feel of driving a roadster over a six-lane highway ... a dog named Shucks, or Spot, or Barnacle Bill.
The pretty girl who writes so often ... that gray-haired man, so proud and awkward at the station ... the mother who knit the socks he'll wear soon.
Tonight he's thinking them over.
There's a lump in his throat. And maybe - a tear fills his eye. It doesn't matter, Kid. Nobody will see ... it's too dark.
A couple of thousand miles away, where he's going, they don't know him very well.
But people all over the world are waiting, praying for him to come.
And he will come, this kid in Upper 4.
With new hope, peace and freedom for a tired, bleeding world.
Next time you are on the train, remember the kid in Upper 4.
If you have to stand en route - it is so he may have a seat.
If there is no berth for you - it is so that he may sleep.
If you have to wait for a seat in the diner - it is so he ... and thousands like him ... may have a meal they won't forget in the days to come.
For to treat him as our most honored guest is the least we can do to pay a mighty debt of gratitude.
The New Haven R.R."