AUGUST 13, 1940
HYDE PARK, Monday—Because of lack of space, I had very little chance to tell you of our delightful evening at the Berkshire Symphonic Festival on Saturday. The drive up was through lovely country, and we found a grassy knoll under a shady tree not far from the road where we ate our picnic supper. The cows coming back from pasture disturbed us for a few minutes and one cow took great interest in the shiny thermos bottle with its red cap. I think she would have shared our supper if I had not remembered how I shooed the cows along the road in my childhood, and started these off toward their ultimate destination in the next field.
At the concert we found the chairs comfortable, and the big hall, which is open on all sides, very cool despite the 9,000 people assembled. We settled down with real anticipation to hearing Beethoven's Sixth symphony. I have heard the Pastoral played before, but the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the conductor, Dr. Sergei Koussevitzky, made of it something entirely new to me. I was happy to have had an opportunity after it was over to go back and talk with this great conductor for a few minutes and thank him for what was already an unforgettable evening.
The second part of the program featured the Tchaikovsky Sixth Symphony, which is one of my favorites, and when we started for home I felt that we were well repaid for the long drive each way. I wish I could go more often, and cannot help being grateful that there is music of this kind available to the people of this country.
Dr. Koussevitzky told me he was carrying on a school in connection with the Festival and was discovering talent which he had not dreamed existed here. It does not seem strange to me that we should have musical talent in America, for so many races are represented in our midst. It would be impossible for them not to bring to our shores with them the knowledge of music and the appreciation which exists in their own countries. It is thrilling, however, to have these talents developed and to realize how the appreciation of good music is growing in our nation.
Yesterday we spent a very busy day with a children's party for some 20 youthful neighbors in the afternoon. I found myself playing "Hide and Go Seek," "Blind Man's Buff" and "Still Pond No More Moving," and wishing that my grandchildren could be here to add to the general gaiety.
The French journalist, Mme. Genevieve Tabouis, lunched with us and I think I have seldom seen such strength and courage in a rather frail human being.