April 18, 1928
It was quite a treat to hear your voice even though the news it conveyed wasn’t quite so pleasant. However this coming Sunday should be a certainty of your arrival here and no unforeseen obstacles. It is needless for me to relate just how I felt Saturday evening. Sunday instead of being with you, I rehearsed with the orchestra, attended Heifetz’s concert and heard the Malkin Trio, all in a very unfavorable mood. Ordinarily this kind of a Sunday would indeed have been ideal, but with a disappointment lurking in my mind, half the charms of the concerts were obstructed. When I read your letter a little while ago, it shook me out of a depressed mood. And now I find myself all primed up again at the point of joviality.
Most likely you have heard of Nan Britton’s The President’s Daughter. Kate Harris loaned me the book. While I haven’t got deep into it, it certainly is a good exposee of the moral fibre and psychology of our “pillars of society”. I will reserve further discussion of the book until we meet. By that time I will know more about it. On the trains going to + from work I am reading the life of Thomas Paine; it is one of the most interesting biographies ever written. In this way I conserve some time and derive some enjoyment at the same time.
Conditions are so bad down here that if I attempted to give a brief account I would appear as the incurable pessimist. Imagine college graduates applying for errand-boy jobs. This incident happened only yesterday in the factory beneath the place where I am working. And the salary! $12.00 a week!! How can a human exist on that pittance down here? Draw your own conclusions.
Considering the time I have to practise I am getting along fairly well on the violin. I am hoping to get a better job or more pupils so that I will be able to do more work. I guess I am living in hope like most mortals.
I sincerely hope (again) that by the time this reaches you Becky’s cold will have vanished and Gert’s ambition returned.
Most likely I could ramble along like this till eternity the way I am feeling just now so for fear that I would be imposing on your good nature and precious time I will make a graceful exit and conserve some conversational material for the twenty second of the month. I am your,
P.S. Kindest regards to each and all of our mutual friends.
[P.P.S. I will] be waiting at the Grand Central at 10 A.M. [Sunday] morning unless I die in the meantime, [it is] possible but not probable!
Editor’s Notes: In Izzy’s last letter, Aug 9, he was anticipating Thelma’s arrival the coming Sunday. In this letter we see that she was unable to make it that day and has been postponed for the following Sunday. Izzy had to spend his time instead with the Malkin Trio. For conversations that are important or time sensitive they would speak on the phone but it was a rare occasion. Izzy is always pleased to hear Thelma’s voice and it affects his mood for the better.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, $12 in 1928 would be equal to $167 today, averaging to $4/hr for a 40hr/week job. Our increases in minimum wage have created more favorable conditions but the fight for a living wage is still an issue in 2015. We also still have college graduates needing to take jobs at a lower skill level for lack of employment opportunities. This is not a situation unique to our own time. I love Izzy’s line “I guess I am living in hope like most mortals”. How true! And then, in true Izzy fashion, he ends on the macabre note that he will see her soon….unless he dies…which could totally happen.
“The President’s Daughter” (1928) by Nan Britton, a woman who claimed to have given birth to Warren G. Harding’s child during a titillating relationship with the President, outlined in this book. Her words were not believed to be true by his supporters and attempts at banning the book were made. According to the New York Times, less than a month ago, DNA tests proved that Harding really was the father!
“The Life of Thomas Paine” Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Moncure Daniel Conway, 1893. Thomas Paine had incredible views and influence over the shaping of America. Izzy’s interest in history and men with great ideals makes this a perfect pair for him.