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Identifier

WCA_6C_Westervelt_1935_02_14

Date

2-14-1935

Physical Description

5 pages + 1 envelope

Description

Letter to her mother describing a letter from Ted, a tea with Dame Sybil Thorndike at Shakespeare Society, and a dance at M.I.T. with her friend Mug.

Transcript

Feb 14 ‘35 [14 February, 1935] Thursday Mums darling - Well, the agony’s over - and I’m drying - all ended. As a matter of fact, it wasn't agony at all, but quite simple and pleasant. So far it has only taken 2 hours 3/4 - & I’m under the dryer. Tralatralee! I think I’m going to like it - hope so. Your valentine was so cunning! I couldn’t find one I really liked in all Wellesley. But the sentiment was & is there, now n’f’rever [mis-spelling: and forever] more amen. Got a letter from Ted - he’s had the grippe, appreciated my “Theses” of letter, but said he had noticed a coldness, a disinterestedness about them since Lee left, since December. Oh dear, more of myself must get into my letters than I think. Sometimes I wonder if this see-saw relationship will ever stop - and when. Before Christmas Ralph was writing to say my letters were different. Ah me! No message from him - but I haven’t been home this afternoon for the mail. [Page 2] Gee I’m sorry my letter didn’t reach you Tuesday. (But it was awfully nice to hear your voice!) I had been over to Shakespeare house to hear Dame Sybil Thorndike, as I said - she’s the greatest English actress there is & I swear the most charming. She came here at the invitation of Miss Smaill, who knew her in England. After tea, she spoke very informally but most enthusiastically about, as Miss Smaill said, “anything that she cared to.” But she said so much that I went home and wrote down what I could remember. I haven’t it here with me, but I’ll enclose it later. It was her personality that was the main thing though - she was so alive, so intensely interested in everyone did in what she was saying, she’s rather tall, wore a long green dress, little black hat over her silver-gray hair & black shoes. She gestured all the time she talked - and she talked all the time - but her gestures were simply the better to express her meaning. She talked mainly about the [Page 3] art of the theater, of course, but what she said really constituted the art of living. She has a son Christopher, aged 22, who’s “going to be a great actor someday, if he doesn’t become a monk.” She had a delightful sense of humor. Talking about the necessity of being 2 people when you were on the stage: one, the character, & the other an objectively seeing ‘you’, she said she was conscious, while playing in “The Distaff Side” (now in Boston) of a man down front who was about to open a chocolate. She knew the beginning of the noise, & knew somehow that “a bigger one was coming.” So she decided not to hold back her lines until it came, but to “leap over them” - so she leapt - & the crack came in the pause between speeches. Then says Dame Sybil, confidentially to us, “I thought at the time, thank god it wasn’t a nut!” She brought out so many of the ideas I’ve been seeing embryonically - the idea of growth, of taking what you have and making [Page 4] an opportunity from it - of trying to like people - if not the whole person to really find some likeable thing & like that enthusiastically - of living creatively so that the days would be interesting - of so many things - I’ll send you the notes I remembered. Oh - you will be amused. Tuesday night I had a telephone call from an unknown man named Charles Debbes, a Senior at M.I.T. & a friend of Otto & Stocky. The story being that he had a friend up from New York, wondered what to do with him, and that Otto had suggested he call “the girl that Stocky went with last year.” He had a very nice voice, said he wasn’t much of an opportunity, but his friend was very nice, capt. of the rifle team, tall etc. & would I help them out. I “considered” carefully, decided I’d chance it, since he assured me that Otto was on the level about it - got Mug, & we went to The Westminster [Page 5] to dance. And as a matter of fact, they were really awfully swell to us. Both tall, quite more than passably good looking, & both pretty good dancers - so we had an amusing evening. What amazed me was that Otto would suggest me! Charles sings in the M.I.T. Glee Club etc. & while nothing spectacular, he managed to keep his end up beautifully. So I’ve had a date with M.I.T. this year, after all my resolutions. But it seemed stupid to see home & sit home & say I wouldn't “dare chance it” just because I never had happened to meet him. What would my grandmother say? Goodness, I’m practically dry - you’ll excuse me? I’ve got to write to Lunk tonight & ask him to Prom. If he can’t come, I won’t bother about going. We’ll see - I leave - bye bye. Program meeting for T.Z.E. Saturday night. Live pictures. Love to you - oh infinitely Ginger.

Location

Wellesley, Massachusetts; Schenectady, New York

Tags

Arts, Theater, and Music; Student Life; Personal Relationships

Subject

Theater; Men; Dance parties; Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Letter from Virginia Veeder Westervelt, Wellesley, Massachusetts, to Mrs. Millicent Veeder, Schenectady, New York, 1935 February 14

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