OCTOBER 21, 1954
NEW YORK Wednesday—The luncheon which Mr. Isaac Liberman gave last week turned out to be another birthday party with a cake and most generous gifts for Wiltwyck School. I was surprised and happy and I think Mrs. Weiss, who has worked so hard as chairman of the board, and Dr. Papanek, the director, were thrilled with the generosity which Mr. Liberman and his guests showed in their birthday gifts to me for the Wiltwyck School. I feel that it is quite impossible to express the gratitude which I owe so many kind people for the gifts which they have made both to the AAUN and to the Wiltwyck School.
After the luncheon, I spent a little longer at the office than I intended so we did not leave New York for Hyde Park until after four o'clock. The sky looked most threatening and the wind, which must have been the edge of the hurricane, was blowing hard but we made fairly good time. We stopped for just a few minutes to leave the dogs and bags, etc. at my cottage, and then went on to the home of President Case of Bard College where I dined.
After dinner I read to the students. The room was filled again, but I hope very much we can use a smaller room next time as it is difficult to get as much discussion about what you read if the group is so large and not close around you. I feel that a smaller room will give us all a greater opportunity for interchange of views on what we read. The young people tell me each time what they would like read the next time. They had asked for "Winnie The Pooh" last Friday and I was delighted to see that even grown-ups can rock with laughter over that altogether delightful children's story.
They also had asked for T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Sometimes I find Mr. Eliot difficult to read because, for me, he is difficult to understand. But this happens to be one of my favorites so I was delighted to have the chance to read it.
By request, I also read "Animula" which is another of the poems that I really delight in. I had promised to bring some of Edward Lear's "Nonsense Rhymes" but forgot, so I read instead two chapters from "The Crock of Gold," by James Stephens. One can only hope that in reading aloud one stimulates the desire to read on the part of young listeners. I certainly enjoy these evenings and hope that the audience does also.
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A most annoying discovery at the cottage was that we had no electricity, and this meant only candles to light us to bed, and no water. I took a bath in the pool in the morning. In the country when the electricity goes off, it means also that the things in one's deep freeze are in danger after a certain number of hours. So I was much relieved when they called at eight a.m. and said the service would be restored in a short time. I can camp out in the woods very successfully but camping out in a house which is supposed to have plumbing is anything but a pleasure.
We had a big party for lunch on Saturday and were still able to eat out of doors, much to my joy.