MARCH 3, 1956
NEW YORK—A most interesting book by Willie Snow Ethridge, wife of Mark F. Ethridge, publisher of the Louisville Courier Journal and Times, has just been published.
Mrs. Ethridge is a well-known writer and, in this case, has collaborated with Nila Magidoff, wife of Robert Magidoff, who recently published a biography of Yehudi Menuhin. Mrs. Ethridge's book is the story of Nila Magidoff's life, written almost in the words Nila uses when she talks to you. It is not always grammatical, but it is extremely vivid.
In speaking with Nila, you feel that it is her personality which impresses you. But I have found that it is her conversation which, on the printed page, has an extraordinary amount of life and color.
From the very beginning, Nila had a hard time. She was passed from mother to grandmother and back again. She did not have the love and security we feel is so important today, no matter how poor the home.
She was the daughter of Russian peasants and life was hard. And only the fact that she came from such sturdy stock, I think, helped her get through the years of hardship after her first marriage, prison life in Siberia, the sufferings of cold and hard work.
Nila came through this with an unbroken spirit, which seems almost unbelievable to those of us who wonder if we would have the fortitude to meet the circumstances she endured.
She was a Communist because she believed Communism promised education and good things to the people of her country. Since her marriage to Robert Magidoff, an American, and coming to this country she slowly and by conviction became an American.
Nila never will cease to love her own country, of that I am sure. Nor will she ever feel that she wants to be cut off completely from her family if the time ever comes when she can find out about them and get in touch with them again.
But she has perhaps a more ardent feeling about this country and the democracy it represents, more so than most of us who take our rights and privileges for granted.
In every speech she makes today, she tries to impress on Americans how much they have to be thankful for and how much they owe in return for their American citizenship. Sometimes she may seem too emphatic, but her audiences seem to accept this because of the sincerity they feel lies behind her words.
I think you will find this book, which is called "Nila," interesting not only because of the life and character of the woman it describes but because it will give you an insight into the country from which she came.
I saw the season opening of the New York City Center's ballet Tuesday night. It is short, but I think everyone who goes will find himself enjoying a delightful evening.
I liked "The Swan," the first ballet, very much. It was a charming scene with beautiful dancing in the classic style. The second ballet, "The Cage," also interested me very much. It was somewhat disagreeable and yet quite fascinating. The third ballet did not seem to be particularly distinguished. The fourth was fun, but still left the first two standing out as the highlights of the evening.