April 29, 1928
I just got home from Kate’s where I met Dave + Henry Harris for the first time in three weeks! There’s nobody home here to annoy me so I’ll chat with you and enjoy your presence in spirit. Believe me, I was as “sore as a pup” because I couldn’t see you last Sunday. Sure it wasn’t your fault, so I cursed my luck, keeping my tongue in my jaw and my foot in my pump. But just as you say we have your visit here to look forward to. (I hope the Aquarium restaurant burns in the meantime).
Immediately after Gert left I met Lillian Diamond at the Grand Central and from there we went to see Hedda Gabler by Ibsen. The performance wasn’t so “hot” but we had plenty fun watching the old Jewish folks comment on the features of the play. After the show Lily and I took a walk thru Chinatown. It was the first time she had been out since her father died, so I hope you will understand that I felt a sort of duty in doing what I done. Understand I enjoyed doing this so there was no labor lost. Last night I visited the Diamonds again and found them healthy and happy. They wished to be remembered to you the next time that I wrote.
You are in a better position to find out when the next excursion is so let me know as soon as possible. The moment I get the news I plan a day how to conserve each minute so there will be no waste. You can’t imagine how good it makes me feel to think about it. Earl and Stanley Hammel are giving a joint recital at Town Hall the seventh of May. I expect to have a flock of tickets to give away, so I’ll take care of anybody you want me to; just let me know their address.
My brother Sam brought some good news from home pertaining to my mother’s health so I felt pretty good all week. I hope when you come you will have some good news also.
How do you like the part in “Looking Backward” where Bellamy visualizes music coming into the salon from no visible source. Radio! A reality to-day and it didn’t take a thousand years!!
I am completing the life of Martin Luther. His time and age was one of the most trying in history; just the same as to-day we are living in trying times. Then Feudalism was collapsing; to-day Capitalism is on the verge of collapse. By the way get this last issue of The Nation, it’s very good.
It will be impossible for me to see Leo Monday because I’ll be giving a lesson. Becky and Gert looked great Sunday. Gert tells me you are getting heavier. Well so am I so that equalizes it. Believe it or not I tip the scale at one hundred and fifty two pounds! Say before I close I got a good one for you, with your approval. Did you ever hear the one about the girl with two black eyes? No? Well she got them from jumping rope without a brassiere on. If that’s too vulgar let me know and I’ll tell you a milder one. Signing off!! Au revoir.
The Diamonds must be a family friend who lost their beloved patriarch recently. Izzy, like many youth of the time, felt an obligation towards family and community. In most letters there is at least one mention of visiting a sick friend or asking after the health of others back home. Izzy received good news about his mother’s health, something must have been worrying but then resolved. In his later letters we will see Izzy go to great lengths to hasten the recovery of a close family member.
The Town Hall in Midtown NYC was established by a group working for Women’s Suffrage. The Town Hall Endowment Series began in 1928 and hosted a regular music series at The Town Hall with famous musicians debuting there. Earle Hummel, violinist and Stanley Hummel, pianist played on the 7th of May and received a good review in the publication Brooklyn Life and Activities of Long Island Society.
Izzy refers to a passage in Looking Backward by Bellamy about music seemingly coming from nowhere in particular. There is one passage in Chapter 11 in which Bellamy’s host plays a waltz and describes radio and the ability to hear music being played elsewhere 24/7. In Chapter 13 his host introduces him to the design of using the radio and music as an alarm and Bellamy describes being awoken out of a dream by a reveille. Izzy, as a modern man, is well accustomed to the wonders of the radio and derives enjoyment from Bellamy’s discovery of an invention that had been widely used for 10 years or so.
Hmmm Izzy believed Capitalism was on the verge of collapse. What do we think about that today?
If Izzy did believe Gert’s comment on her sister’s weight gain he handled it well by touting his own weight gain. He ends the letter in true Izzy fashion with a crude joke – to his credit he asks Thelma if she would prefer a more mild joke. More considerate than most “bad” joke-tellers I know.
To Read: Hedda Gabler by Ibsen