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#1967: Willa Cather to Mary Virginia Boak Cather, June 7 [1928]

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The Grosvenor
New York
My Darling Mother1;

No, no, no, I'm not cross! But I'm still very wobbly from that influenza, and people have been unusually merciless in pursuit of me. I am not accepting any invitations, but even writing notes of polite refusal becomes a heavy task.

The Commencement at Columbia was really quite thrilling and splendid; I wish some of you could have seen it. I was the only woman among the seven recipients of honorary degrees3, the rest were all old men, as you will see by their pictures. I sat between the French Ambassador4 and the President5 of the University of California. We were all in caps and gowns, of course. I really got a great deal more applause than any one else; Edith6 was there and she says the roar for me lasted twice as long. I rose when my name was called, walked up to the President7 and stood there until the applause was over; then he made a speech at me and gave me a diploma, th two Deans of the University put a gorgeous collar about my neck and fastened it on my shoulders, and conducted me back to my seat on the platform. The other six were applauded only after the degree was bestowed, but I was applauded like a ball game, both before and after.

The great old Cuban patriot, du Bustamante8, seemed to be second in popularity, and he is a wonder. I was never so patted and embraced by so many old men at once.

After the exercised I went straight to the President's supper party, not a dinner, as no one had time to put on evening clothes. I had to meet and talk to all the Trustees and their wives, and the Professors and their wives, and a lot of Cubans and Spaniards and attacheées of the French embassy and their wives. They are many of them wonderful people, and it's all very delightful, and exciting, --- and exhausting. I was a tired creature when I came home in President Butler's car. If I'd realized it would be such spectacular affair, I'd have sebnt for Mary Virginia9 to co come down.

I am sending the silk-and -velvet collar of Columbia and the one I got at Michigan10, home to Carrie Sherwood11 to keep for me. They are very large, Iv I've no room for them now, and she has made a special place in her spare room to keep such things for me. You can see them, if you wish, when you go home12.

I hope and pray you will like your beads, and do not say they are too young, for they are not. Everybody trusts my taste but my family!

In a few days I will send you some envelopes addressed to Grand Manan13, where I think we shall go from here2. All mail sent to this hotel14 will be forwarded, however.

With a heart-ful of love to you. Willie