JULY 18, 1938
ROCHESTER, Minn., Sunday —"Why do you go away?" Why, indeed! I wonder a little myself, for I have been living at Hyde Park for some time and I find that when you accustom yourself to staying in more or less the same environment, it becomes increasingly difficult to take off easily on trips of any kind. The fact that I enjoy my peaceful life and that I have two grandchildren to use as an excuse for staying at home makes departure doubly hard.
I did want to see my son James, however, so I told the children that I would be gone only three days, and that I really had to go—which was convincing to myself if not to the children.
At 5 o'clock Friday afternoon, I actually got into my car and, with my briefcase and a small bag, started for New York. The drive down was uneventful, except that I found it hard to keep awake. I reached my apartment in New York in very good time. After telephoning the airport to find out that the weather was good and my reservation made, I went to a little restaurant on a corner nearby to get dinner.
I try to think, when I sit at one of those tables on the street, with only the make-believe hedge between me and the passerby, that I am sitting at a table somewhere in Paris. But the illusion is poor, though it's easier in downtown New York than anywhere else.
I didn't have long, however, to try to imagine myself somewhere else, for I hardly was seated before a young woman came dashing up to me and said that she was Jane, a friend of Anne's, and she hoped I would remember the time we had met in Rhinebeck. My memory was hazy but refreshed itself rapidly as we talked. Then—no sooner had she moved than another lady came and sat opposite me. This time it was someone I knew well, and I became engrossed in her difficulties and spent over an hour at dinner.
Then back to my apartment to read the evening paper and write letters until 12:30, when I left to board the bus for the airport.
I find sitting in an airport station, watching people come in, a very entertaining occupation. First, a man arrived alone, without luggage and with a walk that indicated this trip was nothing new. Then a man and a woman appeared. The woman was bent on making an impression. Another man and a woman arrived. In this case the lady seemed indifferent. Finally, two ladies with a man.
What do all these people mean to each other; where have they come from; where are they going?
We took off from Newark airport at 12:45 a.m., and I was so weary that I tilted my chair back and went to sleep at once. In Detroit the hostess told me that the cameramen and newspapermen would like to see me. I could only rouse myself long enough to say, "I am not on an official trip, and I have no story"—and back to sleep.
The sunrise came just before we reached Chicago—always a beautiful scene from a plane.