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Matt Weinstock

July 16, 2007 |  3:59 pm

July 16, 1957

Matt_weinstockd Account 727-1 in the auditor's office of the Southern Pacific is known within the company as the "Conscience Fund."

It consists of money sent in by people for services rendered but unpaid for. An average of $200 a year is contributed, mostly anonymously.

Many such conscience cases are of long standing. Recently, a man sent in $250 as restitution for tools he took from the company in 1896.

A more typical donation came from "A Patron"-- a $1 bill for a train ride beyond the point called for by his ticket.

Another made good the freight charge on a bicycle he sneaked aboard a train.

Last month, this letter came from a woman of 83:

"In the late summer of 1887 with an uncle and aunt who were supporting and caring for me, I came from East Portland, Ore., to Pasadena, Cal., tourist or second class. I came on a half-fare ticket. My birthday was in December 1874, making me between 12 and 13. If the conductor had asked for full fare for me I think my uncle would have paid it. He died many years ago. I wish a clear conscience concerning this. Kindly inform me what amount for restitution will be satisfactory to you."

Messerschmitt57 After checking, the SP wrote her that the difference between the fare paid for her and an adult ticket in 1887 would have been $17.82. She promptly forwarded a check for this amount.

Realizing these people find it important to clear their minds of such obligations, the company accepts these contributions and, when names and addresses are given, commends them.

A NEW PROGRAM on mental illness, "Focus on Sanity," will be presented tomorrow on KNXT.

While at Patton State Hospital documenting the series, a camera crew focused on a woman patient who had been committed in 1908 and was singing. Another patient approached her and asked her for a cigarette.

The new "star" looked witheringly at her old buddy and said, "Don't bother me now--I'm on television." The fever gets them all.

AROUND TOWN --As Jacquelin Molinaro passed Wilshire and Western the other night a workman on a ladder changing the marquee on the Wiltern Theater called out to the driver of a red Messerschmitt (a sample, above). "Hey, bub, what is it going to be when it grows up?"

Photograph from sixtiescity.com

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