DECEMBER 2, 1959
NEW YORK—Sir Winston Churchill has just celebrated his 85th birthday—10 years older than I am—and I used to think he was younger than I was in the days when he stayed with us in Washington and in Hyde Park!
There is no American who does not owe Sir Winston a debt of gratitude for his leadership in World War II, which affected our country almost as much as it did his own country. I particularly want to send him my deep appreciation for what his relationship meant to my husband in those dark and trying days when a shared burden made life far easier to bear.
I must report that I now regret having complained earlier in the autumn about how slowly the changes in my new apartment seemed to be coming along. Now having slept in it for the past few nights, I feel very happy about my architect, Mr. Gerard Karplus, for insisting on seeing that things were thoroughly done and for his continuing check on details.
I am sure that Mr. Karplus, as well as the contractor, must have at times thought me very unreasonable, but the results from my point of view are very satisfactory because I find everything comfortable. Today everything is unpacked and, while there are still some things missing in the way of curtains and odds and ends, on the whole I am beginning to feel as though I had lived in the new place for sometime.
On Wednesday I am giving a birthday party for a friend, which will mean that we will have a number of people in my home. But I also will have a real housewarming soon, and will ask as many of my friends as possible. Many of them are interested, I know, in what I hope is my last move in New York City.
Dr. David Gurewitsch and I bought this house together, and he and his wife are comfortably settled on the upper floors. Someday I also will have the floor below the one I now occupy and then I will be extremely comfortable. But even now I am quite content, if still a little crowded.
It is nice to be out of a hotel and in my own home again, though everyone in the Park-Sheraton Hotel was so kind and considerate that I feel I owe them a debt of gratitude for making the past year as comfortable for me in the city as it could be made.
Last Saturday evening I heard the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Bernstein, in a delightful program. In the first number, the Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, Mr. Bernstein accompanied the orchestra on the piano.
It is amazing to me that this man can do so many things so well—rehearse the orchestra; do the administrative work that, as music director of the New York Philharmonic, he must attend to; and practice with the group in order to play so proficiently with it. It was delightful, and I felt grateful that we have a man of so many talents with us today. And, of course, Zino Francescatti, playing the violin with the orchestra in the Beethoven Concerto in D Major, was perfect. We came away feeling that we had had a most rewarding evening.
Everytime I go to Carnegie Hall I have a little twinge of regret that this hall with its excellent acoustics has to be given up in the name of progress. How do we know the proposed new hall will be as good, and why do we have to destroy all our traditions? It would be nice to have the new hall as an addition, and it seems to me that our music public of New York City could support two concert halls.