OCTOBER 3, 1958
NEW YORK—A few mornings before leaving Moscow I visited the Minister of Education briefly to ask a few questions I was not yet clear on. He gave me a beautiful book of children's paintings and drawings which has led me to feel I must visit someday the art school for gifted children. He also gave me a number of children's books and I promised to send him a similar number of our publications for children. In Russia the Ministry of Education publishes all of its own books.
When I left him I visited the Institute for Defectology, a research institute where many interesting experiments with children are in progress. One girl, about 13 years old, is called their Helen Keller. She is blind and deaf and dumb, but the people in charge assured me that she will be able to speak naturally in another three years.
This youngster seems to have an amazing talent for creating models. Probably the most important of these are little models of hands in all the positions covering the alphabet in the touch system. She also has made models of the interior of her home as she knows it, including a few objects inside, as well as the exterior as it really stands.
At this institution, also, they are doing research in the treatment of spastics, which seemed to me to be very hopeful. I could have spent many hours there and could hardly bear to leave in time to reach the American Embassy for lunch with Mr. Richard H. Davis, our Minister Counselor.
Our Embassy houses in apartments on different floors various of the Embassy families. As we walked into the courtyard and found the door leading to the elevators, a truck was being unloaded by two bright-looking young boys. Rather hesitantly I asked for directions and was surprised to have one of them answer me in an unmistakable American voice: "Can I help? Let me see. Oh, Mr. Davis is on the seventh floor."
Last Sunday morning Mrs. David Gurewitsch and I visited the Kremlin to see Lenin's apartment. It impressed me again as much as it did last year with its appearance of simple and Spartan-like living—no rugs on the floors, shades at the windows but no curtains. There are few photographs and only one picture.
Lenin's sister, who lived with him and his wife, had her bedroom partitioned off the living room by a screen, She had a little rug by her bed and one or two bits of decoration on her dressing table—and one wonders if Lenin and his wife disapproved!
The study has world maps on the wall and books are close at hand. The feeling one gets is that this man worked incessantly, yet he preached that there must be time for work and time for rest and enjoyment as well—a precept he must have obeyed only rarely.
Out of all this simplicity has come our complicated world of today—and I wonder would Lenin be surprised at developments in his own country.
I feel you might like to know how the beds are made up in Russia, so I am going to tell you.
In the hotels each bed has a box spring with a thin pad on top. The sheets are of heavy linen, the bottom one of the two being tightly stretched over the pad and tucked in. The top sheet is a bag with a diamond-shaped large opening at the top. A heavy quilt is slipped in, the bottom is then turned up, and the two sides at the top are turned in. Then, after the Chinese fashion, you crawl into your cocoon from the top and tuck it tightly around you.
If it is very cold you put on top as many extra covers as you need. It seems like the best way to make a bed for warmth in the cold Moscow climate, and I am thinking of trying it for the winter months at Hyde Park.