MARCH 23, 1959
TEL-AVIV, Israel—En route to Rome, we flew out of New York into a grey sky but we arrived in Paris in the sun. Our plane, a TWA flight, was loaded with mail in the whole front compartment, so the passengers were few and, with a steward and two stewardesses, we had plenty of attention.
Signs of spring are visible in Paris. Willows are fully out, and from the air the fields look green already. Will the horse chestnut trees be in flower when we return in early April? They make the Champs Elysees such a beautiful avenue.
All the way across the Atlantic, when we were not sleeping or eating, my granddaughter and I were deep in the books we had brought to read. Hers was "The Ugly American" and mine, "Child of Our Time," by Michel del Castillo.
The author of my book is now a student at the Sorbonne and this story is his personal story. Before he was 15 he had been through more than most men have to go through in a whole lifetime. It is almost incredible that a child of nine or ten could live through a Nazi concentration camp, could bear so many sorrows, and love and hate so often! Perhaps what kept him going was that he found someone to love in almost every circumstance.
One can only feel that children can endure more physical and emotional hardships than one would believe possible if they love or hate strongly enough. One can only hope that in this young author's future there will be long and constant love, success and stability in his life. One marvels at his strength and is grateful that such a sensitive human being has survived.
This book should revive for us all the horrors of war. Remind us, it does, of the brutalizing effect of war on so many human beings. Can we be sure, any of us, that we would remain human? War must never be allowed to degrade us again and we, the people, must make this clear to our leaders.
The view from my window in Rome looked out over a small park, and the walls of an old aqueduct built long ago run along on one side. What age surrounds one in these old European countries!
This is my first experience in traveling alone with a granddaughter. When Elliott's daughter, Chandler, was 15, she and Elliott Jr. and Elliott and Miss Thompson and I went for quite an extended trip in the Scandinavian countries and Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and France. Since then I have taken two grandsons, and this time my son John's daughter, Nina, is with me. I think we are going to travel well together. So far we know we both like to read on planes and we seem to be interested in many of the same things.