DECEMBER 9, 1938
NEW YORK, Thursday—Last night, four of us went to see Clifford Odet's play, "Rocket To The Moon." I enjoyed it very much, particularly the first two acts, but I am afraid he chose a subject which leads to no conclusion. Few of us can describe real love. We know the "Mrs. Starks," and the "Cleo Singers" of the world, and all the other characters in the play are familiar too. But even as "Frenchy" could not really tell the kind of a girl he was looking for, so the play failed to tell me just what the answer is for people who search for the "perfection of love and happiness". They seem to feel it is a concrete thing to be found somewhere, but who knows where?
I have an idea there is only one way to write the third act to that play, and that is to choose the finest people you know and watch them live out their lives. You make some curious discoveries as you move on, one of them being that there is no such thing as a concrete object labelled "perfection and happiness," that the state in life for which youth in particular searches, is really an evolution often attained through sorrow, discipline, unselfishness and a realization of the truth of something which was written long ago—that sometimes the best way to keep something is to give it away.
Today has been a curious day, touching on a great many different interests. First I visited my mother-in-law, who seems to feel nearly well again after her sore throat; then the dentist, and then a few brief moments facing innumerable cameras with Mr. Jack Benny, two very lovely young ladies and a number of other people of importance in the motion picture industry. I bought the first ticket in their fund raising campaign for the benefit of German refugees and wished them well.
Then I did some Christmas shopping and lunched at a counter on a glass of milk and a sandwich. At 2:30, there was more facing of cameras while I watched Mayris Chaney and Eddie Fox, who are going to dance for us at the Cabinet Dinner on the 13th, doing one of the dances which they have dedicated to me and call "The Eleanor Glide." I was amused to find they had taken some of the old-fashioned steps which my brother and I showed them one night.
We described to them the dancing school of our childhood, where we had been taught the intricacies of the waltz, the polka, the barn dance and the mazurka of those Gay Nineties. Hall profited more than I did from Mr. Dodsworth's lessons, but between us we seem to have given some idea of those steps to Miss Chaney and Mr. Fox, for they made them into a modern dance!
I managed a visit to my friend, Mrs. Alice Huntington, whom I rarely have an opportunity of seeing and who will be wending her way to Charleston, S. C., for the winter on Saturday. Finally, I came home to write this column and do a little more work on the ever-present mail.