Flowers she sent brightened the day. Has not felt so excited about Christmas since childhood. Maybe Churchill [who had come to confer with Roosevelt after the recent bombing of Pearl Harbor] traveled by reindeer like Santa Claus. His presence and his shrewd, searching gaze would wither political pettiness. He knows the American idiom from his mother, and American politicians will realize he is sharper than they are. His coming is almost a miracle. Reminds her that the battle cry of the Crusaders was "God with us!" [Stout #1566]
Hoping she received check for the Ladies Guild of Grace Church written shortly before entering the hospital. Cancelled check has not come back. [Stout #1588]
Appreciates his Christmas letter about his missionary travels in western Nebraska. Wonderful to think of this being done when the light is so dimmed in the world. Often thinks about Grace Church and her confirmation there. Hand collapsed shortly after Christmas, when she was happily working on something new. Inflamed sheath of the large tendon of the right thumb. Knows there are rumors in Red Cloud that her entire right arm is paralyzed, but that is not true. When people stop taking pleasure in other people's misfortunes there will not be any more wars. Willa Cather [Stout #1662]
Thanks for the box of bittersweet, which she has in a bowl in her bedroom. [several lines blacked out] Wishes they [?] would use Mari Sandoz's book instead of hers. Sandoz would like the publicity. Just wanted to warn her about these people. P.S.: Enclosing checks for the Red Cross and for the Ladies Guild of Grace Church. Willie [Stout #1678]
Has read her letter many times. It must be sad to find her little town so altered and so many young men killed. But to be home, where everyone had a common cause to work for together, must be important; that feeling of working together creates hope as nothing else can. Here in the U.S. things are in a sad way. Yes, she might well lament, "Oh, if Roosevelt were still alive!" Now it seems as if John L. Lewis, President of the United Mine Workers, has more power than anyone else in the country. Is able to stop wheels turning everywhere. Nothing gets accomplished in Washington, due to squabbles and mismanagement. Everyone feels bitterly disappointed. She is fortunate to be in a place where the only "bigness" is that of the spirit. Is glad she saw America when she did, and not as it is now. Now lives, not in the present, but in old histories and great books. Is so glad her Kristin Lavransdatter is out in three volumes again, as it ought to be, instead of jammed into one big one. Hopes she will never let Hollywood film any of her books. Sorry to write such a hopeless letter. Maybe if they can get up to the country again, to the forests and big tides of the Maine coast, can regain her spirits. [Stout #1732]
Appreciates Elsie's letter about the service for the window [a window in Grace Episcopal Church dedicated for their mother, Mary Virginia "Jennie" Boak Cather] and all the old friends in Red Cloud. Has sent notes in Christmas cards to many of them. Overlooked Mrs. Warren, but did remember Mrs. Macfarland in California. Has been busy. The Menuhins came recently, and the mother is quite sick and bedridden, so spent time with the girls until Yehudi and their father came to New York from New Orleans. Douglass was visiting; spent as much time with him as possible. Saw Yehudi's dramatic performance at Carnegie Hall with him. Since Mary Virginia was working, and since she did not want to invite people outside the family, had a quiet, delightful dinner on her birthday with just Douglass and Edith. Douglass really came to New York to consult a heart specialist, who said he was fine. Enclosed a check to spend on something fun. Merry Christmas. Willie
. . . On another topic, has just started a novel and needs a book their father had. He tried to give it to her, but she did not want to take a book so personally valuable to him, especially while living at the Grosvenor. Doesn't want to have it forever, as it should be in father's home, but could really use it for a time. Please ask Carrie Sherwood to get it and send it. It's called The History of the Valley, and it was written by Andrew Kerchival or Andrew Kerchway [The book is A History of the Valley of Virginia by Samuel Kercheval, and this copy is also part of the Rosowski Cather Collection at UNL]. Father rebound the book and stored it in the back parlor secretary. If Carrie has trouble finding it, perhaps Elsie could retrieve it when she goes to Red Cloud for the dedication of their mother's window [a window in Grace Episcopal Church] on All Saints' Day. Will return it in the spring. Willie
Has neglected to answer his letter with story of Virginia's tooth, which she told to all of her New York friends. Quickly came west because the University of Nebraska presented her an honorary Doctor of Letters on their fiftieth anniversary commencement. Edith Abbott, who works with Jane Addams, also got one. The two of them were the first women ever to receive such degrees from the University. John Neihardt also received the award, and the Doctor of Laws was given to Theodore Roosevelt, Roscoe Pound, and General John J. Pershing. Elsie was already there, but father drove to Lincoln for the sole purpose of attending the ceremony. So sweet of him! Barnard McNeny also attended. Was happy to see her old teachers so proud of her. Only twelve or so women have received honorary degrees in the U.S., most of them educators, like Alice Freeman Palmer and Jane Addams. Any chance there would be someplace to rent in Lander between July 15 and August 15? She and Edith Lewis are thinking that when Edith comes west, they may go to Wyoming. Couldn't stay with at his house, as Edith doesn't like visiting. At $5 a day the Amoretti ranch seems overpriced. Unfortunately, getting the degree meant that she never was able to shop for new dresses for the twins as she intended. Will get them New York dresses soon. P.S. Father and Elsie are doing well. Willie.
Should have wired him. So pleased that his bank has weathered recent events. Curious about his perspective on the banking sector. Thinks anything is preferable to doing nothing, and though Roosevelt is not a genius, at least the U.S. will be active again. Haven't had a President who can converse in French with the French Ambassador since Theodore Roosevelt. The Laval incident only happened because Hoover and Laval had a misunderstanding. Is very busy, but hopes Roscoe continues to stay in touch about his business activities. Willie.