APRIL 5, 1937
NEW YORK, Sunday—Since my return from my lecture trip, I have been anxious to go to Hyde Park and see how the building operations at our cottage are progressing. A few duties in Washington have however made this impossible until yesterday. Some people can look at a plan and visualize the finished rooms, unfortunately I am not gifted that way. Building operations, carried on by mail are therefore peculiarly unsatisfactory to me, even when, as in this case it is just a question of making over an old building to serve new purposes.
The day was beautiful but it was cold in spite of the sun and on the way up via the Eastern Parkway which I had never been over before we drove through a fifteen minute snowstorm. The whole parkway runs through lovely country and avoids traffic on the road and going in and out of the city.
Luckily the morning mail had brought me a request from Miss Kilmer in the village for some weaving lessons so I could stop and see our one good weaver Mrs. Johannesen and make the necessary arrangments. She can now produce homespun of a quality comparable to that which one buys in Ireland, Scotland, or Canada from the various cottage industries. Until now I have never been able to produce a sufficient quantity to warrant trying for a steady market and have sold only to individuals. Just as in other parts of the country however, it has been found that good material finds a ready sale so I believe we can market dress, suit and coat material here if the quality is good. I think of this as a good occupation on farms during the long winter months and it is one of the things which can be produced at home if the inspection is done in a central place. The overhead is low so more can go into labour. No material that I know meets sport needs so well, its only drawback is its durability. When I was young my thrifty grandmother often made over my youthful aunts' dresses for me, and I hated it! At least two people should get good wear out of a piece of homespun before it is discarded!
I went to the Val-Kill furniture shop also, and reached the cottage by noon. The work is far enough along now for me to get a clearer picture of what it is really going to be like. The only changes I made were in the kitchen! Here I hope sometimes to spend a little time myself and when I have guests who enjoy looking after themselves I hope they will approve of my arrangments.
Miss Cook, Miss Dickerman, and Miss Goodwin were all there enjoying their Easter vacation and we had much conversation with our lunch. Back last evening, and on my way back to Washington today. John will be with us this evening and James and Betsey will be with us too I hope.