December 30, 1933
Returned Bennett's "How to live" and Cabot's "What Men live by" and Pitkin's "Life Begins at Forty" (Madlin gave me a copy of the latter to mark up to my heart's content - a Christmas present) to Robert this morning. My excuse for intruding on my busy friend was to help him pack his books for shipment to Boston. Instead, we propped our feet near the ceiling of his study and gassed for two hours, before Lucy called him to dinner.
I confided my thoughts on A.M., and he felt that a to-the-point letter might open too many avenues for misunderstanding; he recommended a closer contact through more frequent correspondence, and permit natural growth of the desired impression. I am not very hopeful of this, but will use that thought as a bisis of future correspondence.
Confided also the existance of this diary, and its purpose. He felt that this new interest along with the other new departures is a commendable activity for times such as these. He mentioned that whereas my radical reactions to the lack of social responsibility evidenced by a certain big business could make me snort and tear my hair in vain (if I expressed myself openly), I have equipped myself with emotional outlets (psychologically speaking). There are limits to my expression even in this diary, but the expression of a lot of thoughts I would otherwise stew in, and in this harmless manner, is desirable, even discounting the possibility of future use and interest. My only other outlet would be the defensless home folks, and Lord knows they have to put up with my nervousness of pent-up emotions. In my anxiety to steer the best domestic course, I over-emphasize the studied analyses of individual actions, at times, and neglect the common kindnesses. There is no lack of sympathy, in the true sense: just an over-balancing of serious responsibilities. I must relax some of this tension, and live easier. While smoothing the progress of home life, I must accomplish the greatest of all smoothers: an increased income. Madlin's natural good instincts will make her bloom under less economic pressure, and the least I can do is to help her bloom. These are fanciful thoughts at a time when we have never faced a gloomier outlook financially, but a lower goal than the best I can possibly provide is not worthy of my family, especially the devoted partner.
Robert has given me a large, solid oak, table, which he has used in his study for years. I am delighted with this; not only because of its associations; but it will be most useful for writing and study. It will be all the den I can afford, and I have given notice to all concerned that this item of furniture is the only piece in the house which I claim as distinctly my own. The location of it is a problem: the only good place for it is in the children's play room, and although the idea didn't appeal to me at first, I am inclined to give it a try there, since there will be no question of interruption at night, and a litter of toys has no terrors for me.
I told Robert of my attachment for the Middle West, because of the happiest years of married life having been spent here. The lack of opportunity and dissatisfaction with business authorities which recognize no social responsibiliy may make me a back-trailer with Garland. Here again I become fanciful, for there is not the slightest indication that I can or will improve my circumstances by pulling up roots; I merely aim to be ready for an opportunity, if and when it arises.
I told Robert I was glad he was intending to settle (with his new asset, Lucy) in an environment of established high-cultural standards; that he is not physically adapted to the pioneer work he has done here; and that he has accomplished this move with a high degree of courage and foresight. Of course, the lucky devil has that father and mother for a steering committee, and add the social asset of Lucy - but the fellow has a long, clear head of his own.
His successor was not discussed, naturally. For the sake of the Church, I hope for the same cultural interests, but to a lesser degree; and more emphasis on enlarging and solidifying the flock. Robert did hint at making allowances for the ultra-sensitivities of a young man entering his first job; be sure to make criticism, if any, constructive; and encourage at the right time.
Already I Feel the personal loss of this change, in spite of my determination to see the thing only in the light of reasonableness. Maybe I can gouge a letter out of him occasionally.
Chemistry Sets and eight-year-olds are a bad combination, unless one can devote hours and hours to supervision.
Tonight I shall try Pitkin's "The Art of Rapid Reading". Have always had my doubts of Teddy Roosevelt's supposed ability to read whole paragraphs at a glance, and do them justice. I have tried scanning a paragraph to see if I wanted to read it. Now we'll see if there is anything in it.
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