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Aaron, Lester | to Mother, Father, and Fan, 1920 November 8

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14 Story Street,
November 8, 1920.

Dear Mother, Father, and Fan:

I am gradually getting back--for a little while anyhow--to that which the President-elect calls "a state of Normalcy". I went for a run early in the afternoon and then came back and slept from my bath until dinner time--and believe me, I am going to sleep tonight. I have enjoyed the last few days immensely, but I don't know when I ever was so continuously on the go. But before I get to talking about the week-end, I want to get a few other things our of the way.

In the first place, Father, I'm awfully sorry I didn't send you anything for your Harrisburg speech. When you first asked me to think about it, I couldn't think of a thing to suggest. Then all at once one evening I got an inspiration and I made some notes which I think I could have worked up into something very good--that is, very good for me. It is said that an honest confession is good for the soul--and so I might as well confess it, though it doesn't help you any and I am heartily ashamed of it and awfully sorry about it--I absolutely forgot all about it and it wasn't till just now, as I was rereading Mother's letter of Saturday which I had read very hastily this morning, that I realized that I had forgotten all about it. I am terribly sorry.

I just wired to ask you whether you wanted the odd ticket for the game for Saturday. Cort Parker with whom I filed my cheering section application for the Yale game wanted it if you didn't, and if both you and he didn't want it, I wanted to send it in for redemption. For that purpose it ought to be in Princeton by Thursday forenoon. The cheering section seat is very good indeed. The other two were rotten. They were in the South Stand, that is, in temporary wooden stands at the open south end of the Stadium. I was particularly disappointed, because the same mail that brought those tickets brought a letter from Grace in which she said that she would be very glad to go to the game and that she was just as keen to see Yale beaten as I was. I know I don't want to see the game from the end of the field, and I don't want to ask her to see it from there if I can help it. So I chased into Boston immediately after lunch and caught Bill Wasserman at Back Bay station, where he was waiting for the Knickerbocker to go to New York. I gave him those two South Stand tickets, and he promised to get me two of his own bunch or two other good ones instead. He had offered to let me have two before I knew how I came out; so I hope the thing will work out all right. By the way, when you write on Friday and on Thursday of this week, address me in his care--W. S. Wasserman, 61 Campbell Hall. I am going to use his couch. He wants me to go home with him on Saturday night; I hardly think I will.


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Grace said, by the way, that she had seen the Princeton-Oxford track meet in London this summer. She said it was awfully hard to keep the English rules of etiquette by sitting quietly as silent and composed onlookers. She said all that the English do to show their "Excitement was to clap feebly and occasionally whisper a scarcely audible, 'Well played, indeed!'"

Bill Wasserman slept here last night. He was going into Boston this morning to see some exhibit at the Boston Museum of Art in connection with some are course that he is taking. He certainly has come to his senses on the religious question. He says that Silver Bay is entirely responsible for it. He went to Temple in Philadelphia on the holydays. He has been attending service regularly at Princeton--more than that, he has been trying to help the thing as much as he could. He went around canvassing for it. You should have heard him tell me last night about his visit to one club-ambitious Maranno who hopes to be able to fool others by making a fool of himself. He was very enthusiastic about Lazaron and not at all so about Solomon Foster who was down a week ago. There were eighteen men at the second service, by the way, and twenty-eight at the first. The Dean has been away for some time and consequently was not present at the first service. So much for that, at least for the present. Now for the events of the last few days.

The last time I wrote to you at length was, I think, last Friday afternoon. Several of us went down to the Stadium that afternoon and managed to get past the guards to serve as guards at the final secret practice before the game. It certainly was good to see the old Orange and Black. I saw Frank Glick on the field and had a short talk with him. He said he was Marse's guest at Westmoreland and at 372 recently.

That evening Bill Wasserman's cousin--Stix Friedman of St. Louis, a Harvard 1922 man, who looks very much like Helen Milius and whose sister, 1924 at Wellesley, looks very much like Dorothy--and I went down to South Station to look for Bill who had wired that he was coming at eight-five. He meant Saturday morning, but he didn't say so. After waiting around there a little while, I went up to the Boston Athletic Club which is opposite the Hotel Lennox near Copley Square to the Princeton smoker. It was scheduled for 8 P. M. I got there in time for the beginning at 8:45. Good old Doc Spaeth spoke in his old form. He said the Faculty had given up as a hopeless job trying to hold classes on football big-game days, and had decided to give the students a holiday on those days. He had been conducting Chapel service that morning, he said, and President Hibben had handed him an announcement to make that owing to the suspension of class exercises on Saturday there would be no daily Chapel service on Saturday morning. "Shades of Doctor McCosh!" was Doc Spaeth's comment.


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I enjoyed the evening thoroughly. I also enjoyed the refreshments and got away--inter aila--with two doughnuts and three glasses of cider. The cider was quite soft, in spite of Frank Glick's asking me whether I was drinking some of that hard cider! I don't know whether he was just kidding me or whether he thought it was hard. As a matter of fact, quite a few in the crowd had something stronger than sweet cider. Bottles were very much in evidence, but probably in the old days such a gathering would have been very much wetter than this one was. Porter Gillespie of Pittsburgh, who is back in college this year--he used to be in our class, but he was kicked out of college last year for inability to resist the happiness that comes from ardent spirits--that comes to some people from them, I should say--Porter Gillespie on hand and happy as ever. He was happy on the side-ines on Saturday. There certainly was plenty of drinking around town this last week-end. I think it is a sad reflection on the university men of the country that that is the way they like to celebrate those days of the year, as the Times put it for which one lives. Russ Forgan and Lou Tilden, whom you probably remember from "The Isle of Surprise", entertained the smoker with some songs to the accompaniment of the accordion. They certainly are excellent at the sort of thing. This years show is to be called "The Mummy in the Case". They are coming up to Boston in February. I hope they don't come during these trial midyears. Cort Parker and Lew Stevens and I stopped in at the Copley and walked through the lobby to see what Princeton men we could see there. A big dance was going on there in honor of the occasion. I didn't see any men that I knew--or any girls, either. I did see Helen Klee in the distance there the next evening. She was there with a friend of Bob Wormser's--at least she was walking around the lobby with him. I am quite sure she saw me; she immediately executed an about-face and headed off in another direction. She was all decked out in evening dress and a very red face to match her dress. I haven't seen Bob Wormser for a long time. It is just as well probably that I don't see him much, because we probably wouldn't get on too well if we did. As Mr. Wilson said of Secretary Lansing, his mind doesn't exactly run along with mine. What a childish bunch of Harvards he and his crew are!

It was about midnight Friday-Saturday when I got back from the smoker. I was at breakfast before seven-thirty Saturday morning and then went down to South Station and met the Princeton bunch that came in. I found Bill Wasserman and brought him out here. I took him to my class with me. He wasn't less interested than I was. I never had any class hours pass so slowly as those two classes of mine did Saturday morning, and I have seldom been so absent mentally, either, at any classes at which I was physically present. It really would have been just as sensible to cut, because I certainly can't possibly have gotten anything out of them. I met Jack Strubing Saturday morning. He is working with some electric company in Philadelphia. He served as one of the linesmen at the game. He was quarterback last year, as I suppose you remember. he kicked the field goal in the Yale game. I found Mort here at ten o'clock. He had a Southerner with


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him, a member of the congregation, a qualifier from the University of Virginia, who seems to be a very nice fellow. Mort says that the Union have agreed to pay the expenses of all visiting rabbis; they are letting him make his own arrangements. He has asked several men whom Doctor Goldenson wrote to--Stern of New Rochelle and Ettelson are coming next month, I think.

Bill and I got cleaned up instead of eating lunch--we got a bar of chocolate and a chocolate malted milk on the way--and met Margaret and the friend whom she had invited for Bill at the Huntington Avenue station. There is a Wellesley special in to town every Saturday toward one, and I am told that everybody comes in every Saturday. We got out to the Stadium just a couple minutes before the kick-off. We could hardly get into the subway, it was so jammed.

I suppose you have read all about the game. It was a great game to see, but it was another heart-breaker--not as much of a heart-breaker, perhaps, as last year, because we didn't really outplay Harvard as we did last year, but nevertheless it was might hard to see victory snatched away again. I think Harvard was very much more disappointed than we were, if that is any consolation. We have a wonderful team, but they were a little unsteady at a couple critical moments. Captain Callahan's passing was the thing, I think, that lost the game for us more than anything else. At several very disastrous moments his passing was so poor that it resulted either in a fumble by the back to whom the pass was to go or in his being unable to get away with anything and being tackled for a loss before he could get started. Don Lourie did some of the prettiest running that I have ever seen. Stan Keck was the real star of the game, though. The Crime said this morning that he played like "one possessed"; they called him the ubiquitous Keck. He certainly played all over that field. If he is in college another year, I suppose he'll be captain next year. He entered originally with 1921, but I think he only rates as a Junior this year. He is better at football than he is at books. The game Saturday, in spite of its unsatisfactory outcome, was certainly a wonderful game to watch; we simply have got to beat Yale next week.

We went to the tea-dance at the Union after the game. It was very enjoyable. As a matter of fact, I don't think they served any tea; but there was ice-cream and cake. From there we went into Boston. We had dinner at the Hotel Brunswick near the Copley--Margaret, Agnes Friedman, Stix, Bill, and myself. After dinner--which we all enjoyed, none of us having had very much lunch--we went to theater at Copley Theater, the little repertory theater across the street from the Copley Plaza. It is a very delightful little theater; we all enjoyed the evening. Not many of the football crowd were at the theater--it has a quiet atmosphere of intelligence and culture that I like a lot. The play was "Nobody's Daughter". I have seen greater plays, but I enjoyed it. That is more than I can say of other plays that I have seen in the not distant past.


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We waited in the lobby of the Copley Plaza until the Wellesley train time. Bill spent the time in a feverish attempt to write up his post-mortem on the game for the St. Louis Star. He thinks he is a newspaper correspondent. he seems to be making money at it; he showed me several checks from them. i saw Ev Case and George Tennant in the Copley. That seems to be quite a rendez-vous for visiting Princeton men. Bill wanted me to go out to Wellesley and spend the night out there with him. Margaret had a room for him at the Inn. He found out when he got there that it was a room with two beds. If I had known that, I might have gone; not knowing that, I thought I'd have a more comfortable night if I didn't. Stix and I had to get Bill's fool press report out after he left; so I just got the last subway train from Park Street at 12:30. The surface cars run all night, but the subway stops at that hour.

I got up about nine o'clock and had a very good breakfast at Mem. Then I went into Boston and went to Temple. It was the opening Sunday service of the season. The Temple is certainly attractive and quite beautiful, I think, but I don't think the Rabbi proves a thing. He just babbles; he talks so fast that I think he talks before he thinks. He certainly made less than no impression on me. He had quite a fair crowd for the size of the building. The students who were present didn't look like a prize lot. The discourse had to do with the Pilgrim Tercentenary and its relation to the Jews--a good subject, but not very impressively handled. I wonder whether he tried to dazzle his audience or what, that he wears his Phi Beta Kappa key so conspicuously high on his vest that it shows very well over the reading desk. I am all against that sort of thing. I must say, if Temple weren't Temple, I don't think I'd be found there very often.

After lunch Stix Friedman and his room-mate Albert Lippman of St. Louis and a cousin of his and of Bill's who is at Tech--Eugene Weil, also a St. Louisan, and a graduate of Washington University in the Class of 1920--and I went out to Wellesley. We met Bill and Margaret and Agnes Friedman out there, took a walk and sat around bickering. We didn't prove a lot, but we had a good time. We had dinner at the Inn. It certainly does some rushing business on Sunday evenings. Bill and I weren't the only Princeton men out there, either, by a long shot. We took the 8:54 train in and were back here at ten. Billy spent the night here. I got a bed for him in the study. We bickered until about midnight. We got up pretty early this morning. He went into Boston with Stix right after breakfast. I went back to the law. it was a good weekend. I don't want to have to send this letter by freight. I could probably tell you a lot more, but I'll quit for tonight.

I have a seat on the Knickerbocker for Friday. That will give me a chance to get into Princeton at 8:26 that evening. A good many of the fellows are going down Wednesday night. I think it is wiser to rest up from one week-end before starting on the nest. Besides, I am supposed to be at law school.

[Lester Aaron]


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Mr. & Mrs. Marcus Aaron,

402 Winebiddle Avenue,

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

East End


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