OCTOBER 26, 1937
BOSTON, Monday—I got off the train in Boston this morning a little late, which is evidently quite usual, for the porter asked me last night whether I wished to be waked at six regardless of whether we were in the station or not! As usual, porters and conductors all seemed much concerned because there was no one to meet me; but we managed to find a taxicab and reached the Hotel Statler a little after eight.
I called up the hospital and was glibly informed that our youngest son had had his four wisdom teeth removed at eight o'clock, and so I decided to have my breakfast and go over a little later. On arriving there about ten minutes past nine, I found his fiancee waiting downstairs, and we went on upstairs to find him just returning from the operating room! I was being given routine information and he had parted with his teeth a little later than the lady at the telephone was giving out! Anne Clark and I sat about the end of the hall just as Ethel and I sat last December, with one great difference, however—that while this may be uncomfortable, it is not dangerous, and will leave no aftermath of anxiety, we hope.
Back to the hotel at noon for lunch and a little work, and we will spend most of the afternoon at the hospital.
It is nice to see the sun shining, for all day yesterday we drove under gray skies, and the amount of water in the section of New York State where I found myself gave one a feeling that flood conditions were not far off. I was glad to see in the paper this morning that where there had been a threatening of real trouble, the water was going down.
I had an amusing experience on the train just before we reached Albany. One of the porters came up to me and said, "I heard you at my church Friday night. That was a nice meeting." And when I informed him that I was coming on to Boston on this particular errand, he remarked, "I know the boys very well. I carried Johnny and another young gentleman just a few weeks ago on the night train." The tone of voice was almost proprietary, which is a characteristic of his race. If they do something for anyone they take immediately a personal interest in them and develop a real affection.
I have the most appropriate book to read in Boston. It is entitled "The Late George Apley," by John P. Marquand. I have not quite finished it, but it is certainly interesting to those of my generation because it paints certain things which existed not only in Boston but in a certain "milieu" in other places. George Apley's mother might almost have been my grandmother; and the struggle he made to conform was characteristic of a generation that is past and a period which will never return. No youngsters today would put up that kind of a fight to be something which they aren't, and from my point of view that is one of the things we can count good in the changes that have come, some of which may not be so good. As far as I have read in this book I am conscious of what a revolution we have been through without bloodshed in this country. Perhaps Boston, which I do not know very well, may not have changed as much as the rest of the country; but even Boston, I think, will sense a modified revolution.