JANUARY 15, 1951
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I came back to the country Friday morning to attend the funeral of Henry Hackett, one of the trustees of my husband's estate. Since his early youth, Mr. Hackett had been a respected citizen of Hyde Park and a lawyer in Poughkeepsie, and his house overflowed Friday with people who wanted to show their respect and admiration for him by this last attendance at his funeral services. My husband trusted him with all of his undertakings here and he had a warm feeling for him always. I know his death is a real grief to both Basil O'Connor and my son, James, who had worked with him in all the matters of their trusteeship.
On opening the newspaper this morning I was shocked to read of the death of Mrs. F. Louis Slade. It seemed to me that only yesterday we had talked together on the radio and she was kind enough to drive me to my next appointment. I am so grateful that I had this opportunity of seeing her, for I have always had a deep admiration for the work she has done as a civic leader in the community and as a leader of women. Apparently she died in her sleep, which is a wonderful way for anyone to go.
As I grow older I get the feeling that we should put our house in order, so to speak, and not leave too many things at loose ends, for when will our own call come? Above everything else, I would like to leave as little as possible to burden my heirs. I have gone through so many possessions in my life trying to distribute them wisely and equitably that I hope to leave mine with as clear directions as possible and, insofar as it is possible to do so, I would like to share what I have while I am still here. Of course, one cannot divest oneself of all the things which one likes to live with. All one can do is to leave no doubts in the minds of one's heirs what one would like to have done. The difficulty about getting these things accomplished is that you always think a little more time lies before you. And yet when you open the morning paper and read that someone you talked to a short few days ago is gone, it makes you stop, look and listen, and spurs you on to what you should do.
To turn to a more cheerful subject, we went Thursday to see "Second Threshold" by Philip Barry, with revisions by Robert E. Sherwood. It was a thoroughly delightful and interesting evening, and yet only the character played by Betsy von Furstenberg really comes alive as an individual. The others all have to explain themselves too much; and the psychological problem, while interesting, is not, I think, entirely resolved. What the father is really afraid of is that, never having developed his own heart, his daughter may not have either. But I surmise in real life it might be somewhat different than it is in the play.