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Eden Does the Right Thing

This Life Is Mine

Eden Does the Right Thing

Feb 17 1944




CAST:

ANNOUNCER

EDEN CHANNING, our heroine; 23-year-old schoolteacher

MARY SPRAGUE, elderly; assistant principal

HOWARD RANKIN, oily villain; school board chairman





MUSIC: ORGAN ... INTRODUCTION ... THEN IN BG--


ANNOUNCER: The Columbia Broadcasting System presents "This Life Is Mine," the story of people who seek each day to know themselves -- for in today already walks tomorrow.


MUSIC: UP, TO FILL A PAUSE ... THEN IN BG--


ANNOUNCER: Eden now felt sure. It could no longer be put off. The weeks of doubt and indecision belonged to the past. She knew her mind at last. She wanted to marry Bob Hastings. Meanwhile, she was still engaged to Paul Waller. Waiting until the war was over to tell a fiancé that their engagement must be terminated seemed dishonest and weak. Yet putting all this in a letter to a man overseas, with no way of knowing his reaction, cut Eden Channing as deeply as it would hurt Paul reading it in far-off England. Yet she must write the letter.


MUSIC: UP, TO FILL A PAUSE ... THEN BEHIND EDEN--


EDEN: Paul, I wanted to wait until you were back. It'd be easier telling this looking at you. Maybe I'm foolish to think it would be easier under any circumstances. We'll share the deepest kind of pain whether I write these words now or save them to tell you later. Only I can't save them. It wouldn't be decent. 


Last week, Paul, I took off your engagement ring. I couldn't wear it because I knew beyond a doubt that someone else had come to mean a great deal. Even then I was unwilling to write. I felt that I could make no choice between the two of you. But now I can. And so I must tell you.


Will it sound insincere if I say that it isn't that I love you less, but that I love someone else more? Now, I don't quite know why that should be. I - I fought it. I didn't want it to happen, believe me, dear. I feel ashamed and miserably unhappy when I think of you. Yet I've done nothing for which I should feel shame. You know, there's no rationalizing the magnetic forces that draw two people together.


(INCREASINGLY TEARFUL) You've told me many times before you left that I'd changed since my father returned to the family. I fought this earlier change, too. I wanted everything to remain exactly as it was when you were here in Freetown. What hurts most of all is having to write you this because I--


SOUND: PHONE RINGS


EDEN: Oh. (SNIFF)


SOUND: PHONE RINGS AGAIN ... RECEIVER UP


EDEN: Hello?


MARY: (FILTER) Hello, Eden. This is Mary Sprague.


EDEN: Oh, hello, Miss Sprague. How are you?


MARY: (FILTER) Quite well, thank you, dear. I - I wanted to come over and see you tonight, but I've got a touch of neuritis in my shoulder and I rather dread going out of doors in this cold. Would it be an imposition if I asked you to come see me?


EDEN: This evening?


MARY: (FILTER) Yes, tonight. It's rather important.


EDEN: Oh, I'll come then. I'll be over in about an hour. Goodbye.


MARY: (FILTER) Goodbye.


MUSIC: IN ... THEN IN BG--


ANNOUNCER: Eden supposed Miss Sprague wanted to see her in connection with some school matter. Miss Sprague was head of the English department at Freetown High. Meanwhile, Eden continued her letter to Paul in England.


MUSIC: UP, TO FILL A PAUSE ... THEN IN BG--


EDEN: But, Paul, there'd be no living with myself if I deceived you out of weakness or the fear that you'd hate me. Is it entirely wishful thinking on my part or have I sensed something in your letters, Paul, which make me hope that this news will not come as a complete shock? I'm in such a jumble of thoughts and emotions. There's much more I want you to know, but I can't seem to sort everything out tonight. I'm not really happy, and I guess I never will be until I know that this no longer affects you. If you find it difficult to believe now, maybe you won't one day when you've begun to forgive me. You'll have my affection and my respect always. Eden.


MUSIC: UP, TO FILL A PAUSE ... THEN IN BG--


ANNOUNCER: The letter was read and reread many times. Eden's mouth was bitter with grief. The happy hours she and Bob had shared tore at her conscience. In one way, it seemed cruel and selfish to send that letter to Paul, and yet it was the right thing -- ultimately, the only thing -- to do.


MUSIC: UP, TO FILL A PAUSE ... THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: As Eden walked to Miss Sprague's home, the sharp February wind whipped about her, chilling her to the bone.


SOUND: DOORBELL RINGS ... FRONT DOOR OPENS


MARY: Eden, come in.


EDEN: (EXHALES HEAVILY)


MARY: Oh, you look half-frozen. You didn't walk over?


SOUND: FRONT DOOR SHUTS


EDEN: (LIGHTLY) It didn't seem quite so cold when I started out.


MARY: I'll put a chair for you right beside the radiator.


EDEN: Whew! Oh, I bet it drops to zero tonight. What are you doing for your neuritis, Miss Sprague?


MARY: Just keeping the heat pad on. I hear your house is rented, Eden.


EDEN: Uh huh. We'll be moving out in ten days. Oh, I see you've new draperies. They're awfully pretty.


MARY: I was afraid with all that yellow they might be too gay.


EDEN: Chintz is supposed to be gay.


MARY: Well, uh, I suppose you were surprised when I called and asked you to visit me.


EDEN: Rather. Generally, when teachers have something to say to each other they wait until they meet the next day at school.


MARY: Oh, now, don't we, as a rule? But, you know, I find I'm just as busy after four these days. 


EDEN: Paddy showed a great deal of wisdom when he made you assistant principal. When he retires after the war, Miss Sprague, you should be the principal.


MARY: The Board of Education -- Mr. Rankin, in particular -- considers the male species superior to the female. And "assistant" is as far as I'll get in all likelihood. (BEAT) Eden?


EDEN: Yes?


MARY: (NERVOUSLY AVOIDING THE SUBJECT) Um, do you think there'd be too much chintz in the room if I covered that wing chair with it?


EDEN: Well, maybe. There's a pattern in the rug.


MARY: (UNEASILY) Have any of the other teachers phoned you?


EDEN: Other teachers? No. Nobody except you. Why?


MARY: Really? Well, Mr. Cadwalader, Mr. Giles, and Miss Mitchell mentioned they'd be calling.


MUSIC: UP, TO FILL A PAUSE ... THEN BEHIND EDEN--


EDEN: (NARRATES) Miss Sprague had taught my mother English years before. She  was one of the most capable and beloved teachers at Freetown High. Her fluttery, restless behavior now astounded me. And then suddenly I realized her purpose in asking me here. She had some painful news to break and didn't quite know how to go about it. I fought a sinking sensation at the pit of my stomach.


MARY: I was remarking to Miss Warner today, so many of your family are in New York now.


EDEN: Yes.


MARY: I suppose your father would prefer to have you in New York.


EDEN: Yes. Father would. As a matter of fact, Jeff will probably be going there at the end of the term -- to stay.


MARY: Then that would leave you here quite alone.


EDEN: Oh, I'd never be alone in Freetown. I've too many friends.


MARY: Eden? Would you feel unhappy if you had to leave here?


EDEN: At one time, I would have shuddered at the idea, but today I seem to have developed a different attitude toward a lot of things.


MARY: Were you surprised when I walked into your last class, Eden?


EDEN: No, it was about time the head of the English department came in to observe my teaching.


MARY: You've improved immeasurably.


EDEN: I have?


MARY: You have greater self-confidence. Comes with teaching experience, naturally. Your manner's more mature, my dear, but for some queer reason, it's made you seem younger.


EDEN: Isn't that quite a contradiction, Miss Sprague?


MARY: No. You've grown much more spontaneous, Eden.


EDEN: Oh?


MARY: That's most desirable in a teacher. It's stimulating to her classes.


EDEN: I think my teaching is improving.


MARY: No question of it. (BEAT) Do you ever think about your dramatic talent?


EDEN: Why, no.


MARY: Aren't you ever going to find out if you'd enjoy being on the stage?


EDEN: Miss Sprague, are you advising me to give it a try?


MARY: (EXHALES) Oh, my dear, I'd never make a good strategist. You know perfectly well I have some unpleasant news to tell you.


EDEN: Mm hm. It has to do with the high school.


MARY: It's an embarrassing and unjust situation and I can see no solution. But I think it's ridiculous to let it continue without telling you what's happening behind the scenes.


EDEN: You mean what happened at the teachers meeting to which I wasn't invited?


MARY: Neither was Dr. Paddington. A group of us protested the calling of that meeting, but we were very much in the minority.


EDEN: I see.


MARY: You know, a fairly large number of teachers have felt all along that the investigation of the Talmadge shooting is subjecting the entire school to unnecessary criticism and adverse publicity. At the meeting, several spoke out against-- Well, of all things, your age.


EDEN: My age


MARY: They feel you're too young to be a high school teacher.


EDEN: But isn't that silly?


MARY: Yes, it is. They raised the untenable point that better discipline is enforced by someone ten years older. That a teacher at twenty-three is only five or six years older than her senior and junior students.


EDEN: I, er, gather that the general idea is that everyone would be relieved if I resigned.


MARY: Mr. Cadwalader, Mr. Giles, and I were approached by Mr. Rankin and told that the school board would recommend your suspension.


EDEN: (DISMAYED) Oh, no.


MARY: They were certain Dr. Paddington would veto it. Of course, this is the very opportunity Mr. Rankin wants to force Dr. Paddington out of Freetown High. And neither you nor I want that to happen.


EDEN: No. No, of course not.


MARY: Well, that's the situation now, and I want you to know it. I believe you're capable of making a wise and mature decision. Of course, nothing of this must reach Dr. Paddington, dear.


EDEN: No. I know that. He mustn't hear.


MUSIC: IN ... THEN BEHIND ANNOUNCER--


ANNOUNCER: Eden was angry and hurt. It was not she who was being attacked, but the beloved high school principal. That was why Howard Rankin had approached the teachers. He hoped for a split in the ranks, so that the school board could get control. Eden was furious enough after leaving Miss Sprague's to go directly to the office of the Freetown Journal where she knew Rankin would be.


SOUND: WIND BLOWS ... DOOR OPENS ... TYPEWRITER KLACKS ... DOOR CLOSES, CUTTING OFF WIND ... TYPEWRITER OUT 


EDEN: (COOL, CONFIDENT) I'm sorry I didn't phone for an appointment, Mr. Rankin.


RANKIN: Oh, I thought after the school board meeting yesterday, you were through talking to me, Miss Channing.


EDEN: Not quite.


RANKIN: Well, will you be quick and tell me what I've done that hasn't got your approval? I can give you five minutes.


EDEN: One minute will be just about enough. Mr. Rankin, you won't succeed with your vicious scheme to oust Dr. Paddington from Freetown High.


RANKIN: Oh, that's a nice, respectful way for a teacher to talk to the chairman of the school board!


EDEN: It's about time somebody told you openly that a man who resorts to your methods has no right being on the school board.


RANKIN: (CHUCKLES) And I suppose you'll see to it that I'm removed, eh? (CHUCKLES)


EDEN: I propose to see to it that Dr. Paddington is not removed.


RANKIN: Mmm, it's a cock-and-bull notion that you've cooked up all on your own, Miss Channing. Who wants to remove him?


EDEN: You do, by suspending me. You're counting on Paddy to veto it. Then you and he can battle it out to a finish -- Paddy's finish. 


RANKIN: (BEAT) No comment, Miss Channing.


EDEN: The board will suspend me and--


RANKIN: Harry Allbud says he's rented your house and you're moving in with the Paddingtons. That so?


EDEN: Yes. (BEAT) Oh, I see the point you're trying to make. Dr. Paddy'll be even more prejudiced in my favor since my brother and I'll be living at his house.


RANKIN: Mmmm, makes a piece of gossip for the social page. Well, I've got a paper to set up for tomorrow.


EDEN: Mr. Rankin -- I'm resigning before the board suspends me.


RANKIN: (SLOW, STERN) Now wait a minute. Better not be in too big a hurry. A teacher needs credentials to get a job. Resign and you'll never teach in Freetown again.


EDEN: Hm! This sudden interest in my welfare is very touching. I see you understand very clearly that my resignation destroys your little scheme to get rid of Dr. Paddington.


RANKIN: This move to save Paddington is very noble and touching. But what will you do afterwards?


EDEN: That, Mr. Rankin, is my concern, not yours. Good night.


MUSIC: IN, TRIUMPHANTLY ... THEN IN BG--


ANNOUNCER: Walking home in the cold, Eden was too stunned to think. She would make good her intention, of course. But she didn't yet see that her resignation would leave nothing to hold her in Freetown.


MUSIC: UP, FOR A CURTAIN ... THEN IN BG, UNTIL END


ANNOUNCER: "This Life Is Mine" stars Betty Winkler in the role of Eden Channing and is written by Addy Richton and Lynn Stone. Your announcer is Tony Marvin. "This Life Is Mine" is directed by Marx Loeb.


This is CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System.

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