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Tuesday, 11/4/31 – Dear Edna [a college classmate]

Today, we’re all supposed to take time off and go out to elect more hard-headed, hard-boiled, militaristic, capitalistic politicians to our state offices – and since I don’t get a vote, for not having registered, I take time off to write you instead… My activities… fall logically under…

  1. Study – Taking one night course in American Literature, and am reading frantically – mostly on subways – all the Irving, Hawthorne, and Leather Stocking Tales I spurned as a child, in favor of “Little Colonel Series,” my joy and delight… at Teacher’s College [Columbia University].
  2. Settlement House – Most priceless place to live… in the midst of all sorts of Italian Clubs, fire departments, police precincts, maternity centers, elevated and street car lines, ten-cent theaters, and tenement houses. Twenty-seven odd lads and lassies… live there, have jobs elsewhere, study somewhere and conduct clubs in the Settlement House on free nights. It’s a rare bunch: a German violinist, a Porto Rican professor, an Irish Catholic six-footer with red hair who should have been a policeman, a Vassar graduate who has studied at the Sorbonne, a physical ed. student who tap dances, a medical student who hopes to go to India but doesn’t believe in evolution, a piano genius studying music at Julliard, a betrayed woman (my guess!) who sings with tears in her voice, an atheist widow, an Italian who taught three years in Canton [China] University, a cheery theological student and wife who make excellent chaperones, a cellist who’s studying at the N.Y. Library School, a Japanese graduate of Cornell engineering who can’t get work, a deaf X-ray specialist at Bellevue Hospital – oh, that’s not nearly all – Can you imagine the tone of our dinner discussions?
  3. Office Job – daily, 9-5 – …I’m thrilled over the prospects of the Convention and am having just a big time working up all these special features, which are my… jurisdiction… We were so anxious to avoid the general pious sentimental tweddle that so often passes for religious pageantry… and we’ve had some of the best minds and talent in the country at work writing and producing for us a pageant that students just couldn’t leer at. It’s a honey – chorus of sixty, choric speaking group of twelve, twenty expressionistic dancers interpreting the rise of Industrialism, modernistic stage settings and lighting effects, foreign, negro and white students all taking parts, symbolic and realistic scenes bringing up sharp contrasts… I think it’s going to be tremendously powerful and compelling… I don’t have to produce it, but mine is the responsibility to see that it.. gets done properly and within the budget… I love all.
  4. Montclair Life – Saturday nights and Sundays I’m with my family… how good it is to have a country home to go to after the oppressive city – more sky and less sky scrapers! Mother’s been ill over a month… I try to be with her… to make the days less long and more cheerful. And I do have to study occasionally and rest…, so I don’t jazz around much with Montclair’s Four Hundred. I’m trying to nurse along our Young Peoples’ Forum …in the church… If only… these local-minded youth could get their horizons a trifle broadened…