MAY 28, 1951
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Last Thursday night in New York I went to see a most delightful little play called "Gramercy Ghost," by John Cecil Holm. I was particularly interested, of course, to see Sarah Churchill perform. Afterward I had an opportunity to go backstage and talk to her and tell her how much I had been entertained by the ghosts of George Washington's day and how much I enjoyed her acting and that of all the rest of a very good cast.
In a way, one could understand the reluctance of the character, Nathaniel Coombs, to give up being a ghost and retire to the peace of heaven. As long as he could get through and be an active and intimate part of someone's life, it must have given him a tremendous sense of power to create such situations in the lives of human beings and to watch over one human being whom he cared about. I think all of us wonder at times whether those we love who have died are somewhere near, and whether only our own stupidity or lack of sensitivity keeps us from having any contact with them. If they are, and they have to watch helplessly while the earth people make mistakes, it must be a desperately difficult situation. Of course, Nathaniel Coombs went to heaven at just the right moment. When he ceased to come through to Nancy there would have been no fun in remaining a ghost bound to the stupid people of the earth.
I am delighted to have been sent a copy of the Rochester (N.Y.) Times-Union in which Mrs. M. Howard, press chairman of the Daughters of the American Revolution, describes how impressive and entirely proper were the ceremonies on the day the DAR was addressed by General MacArthur, and takes me to task for repeating a contrary version which someone had sent me. Mrs. Howard says that everything was done with dignity and as befitted a great patriotic organization, and that I should not have repeated something which I was not sure had occurred.
I am very glad to know from someone who was present that there was no hysteria among these usually sane and sensible women. I do not know whether the person who wrote me had actually been at the meeting or whether he also had merely heard about it. But he was concerned about the emotionalism which was sweeping the country, and it was my own concern on this score which led me to cite his account as an example. Certainly, to anyone sitting in Europe, the news of crowd psychology as it was evidenced in this country at that time was something quite different from what we are accustomed to think of as calm and cool consideration of a situation.