Dear Thelma –
The reason I haven’t answered sooner is because my work is at its tensest these few weeks before Easter. Every night I get home later than usual and must rush supper in order to give some lessons and then get some practise. By that time I find myself way into the early hours of the morning and fatigued to such an extent that I am almost asleep before I can remove all my clothes. And I am not exaggerating, believe me.
Last Sunday I took my first lesson with Harold Eisenberg. Judging from the first lesson I guess I have struck the teacher. Sincerity seems to be his “middle name”. His price is just half of Gegna’s but his lessons are twice as good. If Leo so desires he can come up sometimes and observe. My only setback is the lack of time to practise.
Next Sunday afternoon the N.Y. Symphony with Heifetz as soloist playing the Brahms Concerto at the Mecca Temple will be my destination. Too bad you can’t be with me to share in this rare treat. These occasional concerts are the only things that I have benefited by since my arrival in this foresaken city. If I had plenty of money N.Y. would be heaven. There’s the difference!! Have you been following up the sessions of the League of Nations at Geneva? Russia has succeeded in exposing the hypocracy of the Capitalistic nations, by exploding the “bomb” known as complete disarmament. You will probably get a summary of it in The Nation. Another thing of great interest is Theodore Drieser’s articles on Soviet Russia in the N.Y. World (morning issue). I am enclosing a clipping from the N.Y. Times which speaks for itself.
In your last letter you ask me to explain a certain sentence in reference to expression of emotions, which was embodied in my last letter to you. In order not to have any misunderstandings, we will place that on the table and discuss it when we face each other. Is that agreeable to you?
How are you and Dave Harris getting along? Have you noticed any difference in his playing or hasn’t he played for you? What is Esur and Becky doing to amuse or discomfort you? What is new with Gerty? And how is every member of your family? If you answer half these questions you will have completed a good size letter.
Listen: try and have a plan ready for your visit here so that we will spend the day most profitable. Will you do that? If you decide that you won’t write me and I’ll surely have one. I am going to “sign off” so before I hop in bed I embrace you eternally.
Regards to all.
Editor’s Notes: Since January Izzy has been working in a hat factory, long hours with his little free time filled with teaching violin to his 2 pupils and practicing himself. For Easter, of course, all the ladies need their elaborate hats so it makes sense that he has not had time to write to Thelma in weeks.
Harold Eisenberg is Izzy’s new violin instructor. Eisenberg, not only a teacher, has written books on the art & science of the violin and occupational hazards of the violinist. Jacob Gegna, a Klezmer musician, must have been Izzy’s previous instructor — not a bad teacher at all but Izzy is pleased with Eisenberg, nonetheless.
The Mecca Temple that Izzy will attend a concert at was built in 1924 on 55th St. between 6th & 7th Ave. and named so because an ancient Arabic order held their meetings there. Today it is known as New York City Center and holds dance and theater performances.
This is perhaps the newspaper in which Izzy found mention of the concert and its program, sparking his desire to attend. Izzy expresses that if he were wealthy, NYC would be heaven, he would attend every concert regardless of day, time, or ticket price. I would say this dream holds true for many New Yorkers today, there are too many wonders to be able to witness them all.
Izzy then switches from music to his next favorite topic — politics. The League of Nations was formed at the end of WWI to maintain the lofty ideal of world peace. The Geneva Protocol was a prohibition of biological and chemical weaponry which became effective on February 8, 1928. I will have to do more research on Russia’s part in disarmament, perhaps The Nation did summarize the story as Izzy supposes.
Theodore Dreiser published several articles in the New York World that were then put together in book form as “Dreiser Looks at Russia”. It was essentially a travelogue of his time driving though the Soviet Union commenting on Communism and gender/sexuality equality. Unfortunately, it is not currently available for free online but would be a great bookstore find!
It is unclear which sentence “in reference to expression of emotions” is being tabled until they next see each other. It may be from two letters ago when Izzy wrote “Emotional letters are never any good unless they are free and spontaneous” — I’d like an explanation too. However, much like texting nowadays, meanings are easily misconstrued when conversations are not conducted face to face. Izzy is smart to postpone this discussion, he does so gracefully and with the hope of her agreeability.
He closes with a plea for gossip and a wish to see her in his dreams. *Siiiigh* until next week