47. Onslaught

The family returned to Saigon in November 1957 after 3 months’ home leave and resumed their domestic routine.  The children’s schooling was provided under the auspices of the United States Army for the children of the many Americans working in Saigon at the time.  Jigg made a number of Vietnamese friends as well as friends from the American and British ex-pat communities and the family’s life assumed a sort of normality.

During this time Evelyn and Jack continued their life of desperate poverty in the Benjamin Franklin Hotel.  Jack had secured poorly paid employment as a tutor in a small private “crammer” while Evelyn’s time was largely occupied with her correspondence.  During 1958 and 1959 Evelyn, by her own account, wrote weekly letters to  Paula, often including another to be forwarded to Jigg: a few examples are quoted below.   The themes were always the same:  Evelyn’s distress at not hearing from her family; her certainty that malign political forces were preventing her son from writing to her; her certainty that the same malign forces were keeping the family apart; the effect this was having on her (admittedly) poor health; and requests for suggestions for the chilren’s various birthday presents which she hoped would prompt letters from Paula.  She also wrote to the children (these letters were not passed on) asking them to request either Paula or Jigg to write to her.

 * * * * *

To Paula Scott

The Benjamin Franklin Hotel
March 30, 1958

Darling Paula

I think we shall soon be obliged to write to Washington, again, unless it has already become possible for Creighton to write to his parents. The more I think of the four years since any of Jigg’s family have had a line, the more deeply indignant I become at the sort of monstrous conditions imposed on a US citizen, who is himself an author and painter of the first water.

The hotel had a nice new entrance in harmony with its architecture–now replaced by imitation “marble” [illeg] called it “public house” “marble” by Jack–the concealed new lighting giving an effect of sunlight in the dark end of the lobby is good, however

Evasion in these matters is in its final phase. We cannot be governed by other countries with ideas and laws not ours, and WE WONT BE ANY LONGER. There is a farcical aspect to everything that has been going on in recent years. United Nations should have been a “clearing house” for objection to international interference, or national interference now announced by a declaration of war, and all we have is patter about entirely minor matters, while a good many of the best and finest Americans and British STILL are contending at home and abroad against some of the worst aspects of dictations NONE OF US WILL EVER ACCEPT AS AFFECTING OURSELVES. We just can’t stand evasion and equivocation any more. We are all culturally persecuted, there are no two ways about that.

I suppose, in the weather you depicted, their clothing is still sketchy. I asked about the type of building description as well as name for they do lessons in. Don’t forget I asked about a book for Bobby1. We are already thinking of Jigg’s next birthday, too. What would he like? When Jack is free in the summer maybe we can go downtown to have a look about for them, and for whatever Mathew would like for January 1923 [sic]. I don’t go distances alone after all the “peruna” ailments I have had. Better in the main, however. [remainder of letter missing]

1 Robert, the fifth child, was then 6 years old.

* * * * *

There are significant gaps in the correspondence:  it is unlikely that these were caused by Evelyn’s silence; but far more likely to be the result of Jack’s destruction of many of her papers after she died.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

November 15, 1958

DARLING SON JIGG,

We are still eagerly awaiting the snapshots of you and the family, with the glimpses of your surroundings that are of such interest, and which will we think not cease to interest when you are near enough for us to see you all.

Jack and I are now indebted to Maggie again, for a loan that will help to see us through until Jack has a better job. But the various crises we have been through since we came home, will all be worthwhile if we have personal contact, again, with the sweetest family in the world, and can rescue all our arts and re-appear in published form as we all did before the war.

I hope you have read over what I said about retirement pensions. They are not of the use they should be in their present form, which allows such minute “free earnings” to people in the sixties, that, if they are professional people like Jack, there is no form of earning that pays little enough not to result in forfeiting the pension with any free earnings at all. Teachers are not employable by the day, as a manual labourer might be. The further I go in examining every Law passed in the USA by the democrats—the others haven’t started it yet, that I can see—the more mistakenly we discernat other common denominator alone is considered.

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

November 15, 1958

DARLING PAULA,

So you now have a SIXTEEN YEAR OLD SON1 and a big boy who is good and studious and is SIX YEARS OLD, as well as a nearly EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER, a nearly THIRTEEN YEAR OLD SON, and a DAUGHTER OF SEVEN WHO PAINTS PICTURES. WE ALL GOOD—YOU BET!

I am worrying about the return of damnable summer. You should all be here at home to be REFRESHED BY CHANGED SEASONS AN PROBABLY ESPECIALLY JIGG WHO HAS NOT BEEN HOME AWAY FROM HEAT SINCE YOU WENT OUT THERE, and WAS NOT IN GOOD HEALTH WHEN HE WENT THERE. But I am worrying most about JIGG’S HEALTH as the SNAPSHOTS WERE TO BE PROOF OF HIS IMPROVEMENT AND THEY HAVE NOT YET COME.

Your own letter is overdue, too, darling, and I hope it will arrive soon and shatter this ritual of worry—a round-and-round sort of lousiness.

1 This paragraph refers to Frederick, Robert, Denise, Matthew and Julia, in that order.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

April 18, 1959

DARLING SON JIGG,

Here we are, again, still waiting to know HOW YOU AND PAULA AND THE CHILDREN ARE–BLESS YOU!

PAULA’S NOTE OF MARCH 5th IS STILL BEING TREASURED AND REREAD WITH THE HOPE THAT THE LONGER LETTER AND THE SNAPSHOTS THEN ALREADY DEVELOPED WILL SOON BE HERE, WITH NEWS OF HOW YOU ARE AND COMMENTS ON THE VARIOUS CONTENTS OF LETTERS NOT YET SPECIFICALLY ACKNOWLEDGED.

When the space between letters is too great it gives one a rather flat and empty feeling in writing one’s self. One’s small items of personal news begin to seem too unimportant to be worthy of conveyance in a letter, especially when we NEED TO RE ASSURED AGAIN YOU HAVE ALL CONTINUED WELL since the upset of Christmas.

If you come home, later, to a job, we will be very grateful if we are kept conversant with your moves–YOURS MIND YOU, AS WELL AS DARLING PAULA’S AND THE CHILDREN’S. THIS TIME YOU MUST BE PERMITTED TO RETURN HOME TOGETHER TO JOB.

DARLING, TO SENSE YOU SEVEN DRAWING NEARER GIVES US MORE SPIRIT AND STRENGTH FOR WINNING OUT!

Lovingly, LOVINGLY,
Mother

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

June 7th, 1959

JACK LOOKS FORWARD TO YOUR LETTER, LONG OR SHORT. IT WILL BE SO NICE TO FEEL OURSELVES IN NATURAL COMMUNICATION EVEN FOR THE SPACE OF A LETTER. AND WE WILL THINK OF THE END OF SO MUCH GHASTLY INTERFERENCE, WITH ALL OUR GOOD AFFECTIONATE LIFES–THE BEST OF ALL ENDS WHEN YOU AND PAULA BRING YOURSELVES AND THE CHILDREN HOME TO YOUR JOB HERE.

WE, ARE, AGAIN, NOT FULL OF NEWS, YET ARE CONTINUALLY BUSY, JUST I SUPPOSE AS YOU AND PAULA ARE. Last week, or is it already two weeks!–we went to the country, and had I been permitted to feel up to snuff all the time, we would have had a very nice afternoon. And even as it was it was refreshing to see the country once more after two years in town. They are at that school Gladys had a friend at for a while–maybe there yet–and are beyond Stamford [Connecticut]. And it was lovely to have a glimpse of water and boats farther out beyond their inlet of the sound.

WE ARE RATHER WORRIED ABOUT THE INDEFINITE PROSPECTS. OUR DECISIONS CONTINUE CONTINGENT ON YOURS AND DAD’S ARE SURE TO BE AFFECTED BY THEM. AND YOUR FOUR YEARS THERE WILL SOON BE UP. PLEASE DARLING WRITE AND TELL US HOW YOU, PAULA, AND THE CHILDREN ARE IN HEALTH AND GIVE US SOME INKLING AS TO PLANS. YOU SHOULD NONE OF YOU STAY THERE. THIS SHOULD BE YOUR YEAR TO COME HOME TOGETHER. YOU CAN’T SEND DENISE HERE ALONE YOU SHOULD PUT HER IN COLLEGE. BLESS, BLESS, BLESS–WE LOVE YOU SO, and REALLY ADORE YOU ALL. PAULA IS VERY NEAR TO US IN OUTLOOK WE TRUST.

Mother

[Jigg, well aware of his mother’s obsessive writing of letters which were both excessively long and full of details which were not strictly accurate, had started sending these to Margaret DeSilver for safekeeping. This pencilled note was in the margin of the front page of the above letter]1

Dear Margaret– Just a specimen from among many–I have some that are a lot worse, which I keep, just in case. Jigg

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

June 7, 1959

DARLING PAULA,

PLEASE DON’T DON’T SIGN UP FOR ANOTHER YEAR IN SAIGON, FOR GOD’S SAKE. WE WILL BE RE-EMBITTERED ABOUT EVERYTHING WRONG ALREADY DONE TO OUR FAMILIES IF THERE IS ANY SUCH MOVE AS THAT FORCED ON POOR JIGG—with ten years of separation already, the grandchildren never seen, and Dad and ourselves now pretty old, Dad’s health and mine poorish, and poor good Jack holding all his own plans in abeyance in the hope of AT LAST SEEING OUR SCOTTS USA.

I feel alternately frantic and almost warlike against such friends who have devised such practises and have kept them up. SEVENTEEN YEARS OF HELL–WE DO NOT KNOW OF ANY OTHER FAMILY EITHER AMERICAN OR BRITISH THAT HAS EVER BEEN PUT THROUGH WHAT WE HAVE IN SEPARATIONS THAT ARE AGAINST OUR INCLINATIONS, OBSTRUCTIVE OF MUTUAL HELP.

DARLING, THIS IS NOT A HATE LETTER, BUT A LOVE LOVE LETTER. We just cannot endure these false situations and false judgements any more.

WE SHALL CONSIDER IT THE SIGN OF GENUINE PATRIOTISM IN THOSE WHO ARRANGE PROGRAMS IF YOU AND JIGG AND THE CHILDREN ARE ALLOWED HOME NOW TO JOB FOR HIM AND NORMAL HUMAN CONTACTS.

TELL US WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP JIGG HOME TO JOB. WE ARE ALL BITTERLY OPPOSED TO TOTAL SYSTEMS OF RULE AND THOSE WHO ARE MERIT EVERY PREFERENTIAL TREATMEJNT. THEY ARE NEEDED HERE AT HOME AS GOOD AMERICAN NATIVES.

LOVE,Evelyn

* * * * *

To Deputy Personnel Officer, ICA

July 19, 1959

Personal
Deputy Personnel Officer for the Far East
International Cooperation Agency
811 Vermont Avenue
Washington, DC

Dear Sir,

I shall be indeed grateful if you have been able to give your attention to my letter of June 27th, 1959, substantiating an earlier petition1 from my daughter-in-law, Paula P Scott, USOM, PROGRAM SUPPORT, SAIGON, for advice and any assistance you care to offer to expedite the return of her husband (my son, Creighton Seeley Scott, USOM, PROGRAM SUPPORT), with her and their family of five children, to the US and permanent employment here at home.

The letter referred to above and forwarded to you as a kind favourto me by Mr Robert D Johnson, Acting Director, US Passport Office, Washington, arrived in his hands with my request for information as to whom to address my plea on behalf of my son; who has this month completed, with his family, four years in Saigon. I wrote in the spring to Miss Jean Hermann, who was the Personnel Officer (Employee Relations), whose signature was appended to a letter I had when they first went to Saigon, in which I was notified that their first address, APO, had been changed to Navy 150, FPO. However, Miss Hermann2 has not replied as yet to my request to her, also, to be given at least an inkling as to when the Scotts are likely to be back at home.

I add, in conclusion, that my daughter-in-law has, since, advised me in a brief note that the Navy address is not longer theirs and I am write to them, USOM, Box 32, Program Support, APO 143. Her notification to that effect is dated June 23rd, 1959.

In my letter now in your hands, I allude to the various difficulties both myself and my son and his wife have had about mail, both foreign and domestic; of which a good many letters of recent years have never been acknowledged or traced.

I shall hope to have some advice about my son soon.

Respectfully Yours,

1 This petition was entirely Evelyn’s initiative and nothing to do with Jigg..

2 Jean Hermann had left her post some months previously, and with her departure went Jigg’s protection from his mother’s correspondence.

* * * * *

In the summer of 1959 Jigg was recalled to Washington to appear before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to answer questions about the progress and management of the ICA’s involvement in Vietnam at that time.  He was also required to respond to specific points raised by his mother in her correspondence to the ICA.  It has not been possible to see any of this correspondence in spite of a Freedom of Information request, but it is a good guess that the tone was similar to the tone of her other letters.

 

 * * * * *

 To Evelyn Scott

July 23, 1959

Dear Evelyn—

We just arrived in Carmel1, and Jigg is in Washington. If you wonder “why so sudden” it’s because the whole situation in Saigon is difficult and we were called home, so that Jigg could do his part in helping to get at the facts. There are too many people who try to distort the facts—including even the peers.

I still can’t answer my huge accumulation of your letters—the last few weeks in Saigon were spent in frenetic packing. Now we are home, but I still have very little time—the house is full of kids and their friends.

I’ve said this before, but I will write again soon. Write me: c/o Martinez-Dean, Route 2-Box 412, Carmel, Cal

Love to Jack
Love
Paula

With no home base in the US, Paula had no choice but once again to call upon help from her maternal relatives, whose small house and outbuilding just about accommodated Paula and the 5 children.

* * * * *

To Jean Hermann, ICA

July 26, 1959

Dear Madam,

I have addressed several letters to you since the spring, in which I have requested any information you were able to give me respecting the time of the return of my son, Mr Creighton Seely Scott, his wife, Paula P Scott, and their children, Denise, Fredrick, Matthew, Julia and Robert Scott, to the USA, their home, from Saigon.

As none of my letters—three or four—were acknowledged, I thought it possible that I had made my request in some unaccustomed quarters and with that in mind I wrote, again, for information, and with reminders of my own poor health and the ten years that elapsed since I or any of my son’s relatives have seen him, and sent this letter to the USA State Department; expressing, to them, my hope that, if it were necessary, they could set me right as to the quarter in which to appeal in such circumstances, for a USOM employee.

Mr Robert D Johnson, Deputy Director of the Passport Office, was given my letter to read, and forwarded it to the Deputy Personnel Officer for the Far East, International Cooperation Agency, 811 Vermont Avenue, Washington, DC; writing me, at the same time, that he had done so.

As I have not heard from that office, either, I think it best to let you know of the further letter there.

Of course, the truth remains that I do not know whether this letter or any other to the ICAwill ever reachits destination. And I cannot forebear saying, again, as I did three years ago when writing to your office, that the apparent contempt of our Military Government for the mothers and the fathers of the older generation of Americans, strikes me as worthy of the very worst dictations. Mail still figures domestically, also, in the long record I have of experiences relative to communication and personal contact with family and friends since 1945, that are genuinely disgraceful.

Very Truly Yours,
(Mrs W J) Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

August 5, 1959

Darling Paula

We have, all along, just as during our eight and a half years in England, looked forward to the decent end of this imposed policy from somewhere that is keeping us apart even in correspondence; our first reasonable expectation having been that it would end when we reached New York from London; and our expectation during the four years you have been in the Far East, having been that Creighton would write to us himself as soon as he got home so that we could welcome him with you and the children with all the deep affection we feel.

Naturally we do not know what has been done and is being done, to convey an impression to the best of good sons and husbands that he dare not communicate with his American mother, his American father, and his British stepfather. But that something has or is continuing an illegal interference we do not doubt.

Unless Jigg soon writes to us naturally at least to the extent of a note, I shall consult any lawyers who are willing to help me as to the step essential in pinning down those in the Government or outside it who are criminally responsible for a situation that has changed me from a woman in moderate health to a nervous wreck with every indication of being fifteen years older than I am.

Does the FBI abstract my mail to the Personnel Office, I wonder. I have written four letters since spring that would certainly have received notice from anyone less than a monster of brutality, and no notice is taken. And I had my unforgettable experience of slipshod inquiry in 1940, when I reported an intimidator of communist views.

Of course we saw in the papers about the inquiry into the value of the American base in Saigon, and we take it for granted that all the people who are home from the East are in Washington offering their views when asked. But hushiness that interferes with normal family relations is NOT American Defence but Enemy Action.

WE ARE THE ONLY FAMILY OF AMERICANS WHO HAS EVER, AS FAR AS WE CAN ASCERTAIN, BEEN SUBJECTED TO CONDITIONS THAT HAVE MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR FIFTEEN YEARS TO SEE AN ONLY AND MUCH LOVED SON OR, IN FACT, ANY MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY OR OTHER RELATION. The book suppressions and painting suppressions connect. And hostile accts toward me as an author had their genesis, with certainty, in my first PUBLIC COMPLAINTS ABOUT COMMUNISM’S EFFECT ON AMERICAN LITERATURE.

Economic warfare is warfare just as bomb warfare is. When are we to have LEADERS TO DEFEND LOYAL AMERICANS AND LOYAL FREE COLLABORATORS BRITISH IN OUR CASE, AGAINST A TOTAL RACKET that is degrading and debasing not us alone but the country!

DARLING YOU CAN’T ANSWER, BUT THOSE RESPONSIBLE CAN AND MUST, THE CITIZENS HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEMAND STRAIGHT NATIONAL DEFENCE AND COMPLETE REDRESS FOR THE MANY WRONGS DONE EACH IN PERSON.

WE LOVE YOU AND JIGG AND THE KIDS!! SAY SOMETHING TO US.
Evelyn

* * * * *

To Ronald Pearson

August 5, 1959

Mr Ronald Hays Pearson
Metal Design Workshop
Victory (near Rochester), NY

Dear Ronald

Paula has written us of her arrival with the children care Martinez-Dean, Route 2—Box 412, Carmel California; where she was two years ago, in general locality.

I have written to his Personnel Officer—or rather Employee Relations Officer, Personnel Office, ICA, Washington 25, several times—four in all—since the spring, mentioning the fact that I know his agreement to remain in Saigon would end in July, and that I would appreciate, as his mother, help in re-establishing our correspondence and contacts, which have been next to none in Saigon, bar the goodness of Paula who has literally saved my life, and almost none since Jigg was in London to see us in November 1949.

I never had any acknowledgment of these letters, nor any indication that they were ever received. And more recently I wrote the same letter in gist and sent it to the US State Department, saying that it might be I had not addressed the correct official and that I would, therefore, be grateful if the State Department would forward my letter to whoever could most fittingly read it.

Mr Robert D Johnson, Deputy Director of the US Passport Office (I forget to say I addressed it to the Passport Dept as they are bound to know Jigg’s whereabouts abroad)—Mr Johnson wrote me a nice note in reply and said he had forwarded my letter to THE DEPUTY Personnel Officer for the Far East, ICA, 811 Vermont Ave, Washington, DC. The forwarded letter, written June 27th, 1959, has, also, never been acknowledged as yet.

Can you enlighten me about Jigg’s address? If you can, my dear Ronald, you should, for I personally think he is being forced to keep silent by some means he has not divulged, which may have to do with the hocus pocus of “war” hush, or may not.

Personally I have a hunch that communists put rackets up to calling people communists when they were haters of communists. I HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN PAULA’S NOTE ABOUT SOME MAN IN A NEWSPAPER CLIPPING WHO WAS SMEARED IN A PROBE, NOR THAT MY LETTERS TO SPRING VALLEY WHICH ARRIVED AFTER SHE SAILED WERE HELD NINETEEN MONTHS BEFORE THEY WERE RETURNED TO THE ADDRESSEE, and two registered parcels for the children were returned opened, with no explanation.

We know you read with comprehension of the human and I am so grateful. May your metal design be always better known and sell more and more at the prices appropriate for fine work.

Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

August 9, 1959

Darling Jigg and Paula,

I have already written a good many letters to Paula at Carmel and to Jigg two care Paula, but I do not yet know whether my letters are received.

Other and undoubtedly unfriendly people seem to tie so many strings on our normal procedures and both your own, that I am getting where I no longer know what to write to you about and how to begin.

But you see how I am talking in the third person–the result of a reversion to no specific comments of any sort from anybody in several months. When will we be allowed to join hands against damnable conditions? There is a great wave of justifiable dissatisfaction sweeping the USA and we share it. We ARE SURE YOU AGREE IN FUNDAMENTAL WAYS AND A PROOF OF CONSTANT MISHANDLING OF SUPERIOR AMERICANS AND SUPERIOR BRITISH IS THE REPEATED DIFFICULTY WE HAVE IN PICKING EACH OTHER UP AND STRENGTHENING ONE ANOTHER AND THE INDIVIDUAL FREEDOMS OF THE COUNTRY.

Somewhere in the back of a persecution about this that began soon after my father’s death in 1944 are guilty men, there is every proof. And the fact that that they have the temerity to libel and obstruct normal and decent procedures and human signs of affection, shows the need for GENUINE AMERICAN DEFENSE, which CANNOT BE CONTINGENT ON UNO AND OTHER NATIONS,

TO WHOM DOES ONE APPEAL FOR HELP IN WASHINGTON? WE SHOULD WIN AIDED AGAINST TOTALITARIAN METHODS. WHERE THE ARMY IS LOYAL IT IS BOUND TO AGREE.

LOVINGLY,
Evelyn–to Jigg Mother

We DO LOVE YOU, OUR SWEETS. IT IS POLITICS WE JUSTLY QUESTION.

WILL PAULA WRITE MORE ABOUT JIGG IF HE ISN’T PERMITTED UNTIL THE IMPASSE ABOUT ANTI-COMMUNIST VIETNAM IS SETTLED?

I SHOULD LIKE A COURT EXAMINATION OF THOSE CRIMINALS–YES CRIMINALS–WHO FORBID PARENTS TO COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY WITH THEIR SON. FOREIGNERS RESIDING IN ANOTHER MAN’S COUNTRY ARE ALSO IGNORANT OF IDENTITIES AND RECORDS OF BOTH NATIVES AND THE BEST OF THE FREE COUNTRIES.

* * * * *

To Virigina Hale1

August 27th, 1959

Dear Virginia Hale

Will you please, as a very needed human kindness, let me know how Paula and the children are today, and, if you possibly can, how my son Creighton is, and whether or not he still in Washington, DC?

We know you are a good and sweet aunt to Paula and the Children, and the best of friends to Jigg, as well, but Paula has been sweet and loyal to us, too, and the disturbing thing now is that we don’t hear from her after she volunteers long letters to follow notes. We had a few lines when she landed, and she told us Jigg was in Washington, but we have had no real letters from her or anyone since February, 1959, when she promised to write again, and did not.

We are very sure Paula and Jigg have suffered interference with mail and communications many times since 1944; for not alone have they testified to this fact when they could to us, but there is much evidence on my side: all here at home. But as we came back from England not only to publish, but expressly to see Jigg and Paula and the children, the fact that they have yet to be assisted to meet us in person, after we have spent six years back home, makes us both very concerned to see that home contacts in this instance really include Jigg’s family as well as darling Paula’s.

Can you advise me in any way? Everyone knows that my health has suffered greatly since we came home, and to ignore the elder generation of parents completely is something of which neither Jigg nor Paula are capable—all the elder generation I am sure is behind them in friendship.

In one of the letters Paula has not acknowledged, which went to Carmel three weeks ago, I asked her if you would be willing to give me your address. It is our opinion that every related family context should be revived and preserved. I felt the same way when writing to Margué, who did not reply but once in a note of a few lines. However, please believe me there is no ill will. I have heard of her poor health, and just regret that misunderstandings are always definitely fostered by whoever and whatever keeps naturally friendly persons from ever having a chance to see one another in person.

Hopefully, but with very real anxiety,
Sincerely,
Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe

Virginia, or “Aunt Naya” was a sister of Paula’s mother, Margué. There is no information about how Evelyn learned of her existence.

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

August 29, 1959

DARLING PAULA,

IF WE COULD ONLY PUT OUR ARMS AROUND YOU AND JIGG’S AND THE FIVE DARLING CHILDREN!

WE ARE BOTH PERPLEXED AS TO WHAT TO DO TO RESUME EVEN THE FAIRLY SATISFACTORY CONTACT BY MAIL WE HAD WITH YOU IN SAIGON, AND EVEN WITH DARLING JIGG who AT LEAST GOT TWO BRIEF NOTES TO US FROM THERE.

WE ARE SENDING THIS REGISTERED AS YOU SEE BECAUSE AT PRESENT WE HAVE REASON TO DOUBT THAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE MAIL WE HAVE SENT YOU AND JIGG TO CARMEL since we HAD YOUR GOOD SWEET NOTE OF JULY “3rd” (SO STAMPED).

I PERSONALLY THINK THE CRIMINALS WHO HAVE SO ARRANGED OUR EXISTENCES AND YOURS AND JIGG’S, DURING ALL THE YEARS SINCE 1944, SHOULD BE JAILED. NOT A STEP IN ANY OF OUR LIVES EXCEPT MARRIAGES AND YOUR CHILDREN HAS BEEN CHOSEN AS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE COURSE OF AMERICAN AND OLD BRITISH INDEPENDENCE. THE STATUS QUO IS GRADUALLY MURDERING ME, AND THE FACT OF NOTHING DONE TO BRING ALL INTO NORMAL CONTACT AFTER YOURS AND JIGG’S FOUR YEARS ABSENCE IN SAIGON, IS TO MY MIND INDICATIVE OF WAR AGGRESSION WHICH REQUIRED DEFENCE RETALIATION ON MONSTERS.

I HAVE WRITTEN TO “NADJA1” IN THE CARE OF YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT AND YOU WILL KNOW WHETHER SHE HAS IT OR NOT. I ASKED FOR HER ADDRESS IN A LETTER TO YOU WHICH HAS NOT BEEN ACKNOWLEDGED.

WE HAVE A BIG DAMAGE CLAIM AGAINST WHATEVER ENEMIES HAVE DIRECTED ALL OUR LIVES AMISS. WE THINK IT WOULD BE SENSIBLE IF YOU AND JIGG COMPLAINED AGAINST THOSE WHO HAVE OVER AND OVER STOPPED OUR CORRESPONDENCE AND PREVENTED OUR PERSONAL MEETING.

THE PERONNEL OFFICE OF THE ICA IS EITHER INHUMAN ALTIGETHERM [sic] OR CRIMINALS TAKE LETTERS FROM THEIR MAIL. THE VILENESS OF AN ATTITUDE THAT IGNORES WELL-FOUNDED PROTESTS BASED ON HUMAN DISTRESS THAT IS OFTEN AGONY AND HAS BEEN IMPOSED ON US BEFORE AND SINCE JIGG CAME TO LONDON TO SEE US FOR FIVE DAYS IN 1949, AND IS DESTROYING HEALTH AND LIVELIHOOD, MUST SOMEHOW BE EXPOSED, IT IS TO THE SHAME OF THE USA THAT I HAVE NOT BEEN ALLOWED TO KNOW ANYTHING OF WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY SON, since that newspaper write-up of Aug 12th, which gave no personal information, naturally.

WERE I A MAN IN THE AMERICAN SERVICE I WOULD LONG AGO HAVE SPOTTED ENEMIES WHO MOLEST AND INTERFERE WITH THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF AMERICANS AND THE CONSTITUTION WHICH IS STILL RESPECTED DESPITE UNO. I WOULD NOT TOLERATE AN AMERICAN OR BRITISH SERVICE UNABLE TO ACT IN DEFENCE OF INDIVIDUAL VICTIMS OF TOTALITARIANS.

ALL LOVE TO YOU AND JIGG AND THE FIVE KIDS,

“Naya”, or Virginia Hale. There is no information regarding how Evelyn came to know of this family nickname.

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

September 6, 1959

Dear Maggie,

You may wonder I never take up the phone and call you, but the reasons continue to be given, and today, when I actually thought I would do so, I am shut up in our room and would have to dress to go downstairs.

Did you read in The World Telegram of August 12th, that Creighton is back? I am still trying to find Americans with the human approach and imagination required to remove whoever and whatever it is that has prevented him from communicating directly with his mother and father and Jack. When you have the details in black and white you can see very plainly that it has never been of choice that he left Paula to be the correspondent. Both are still determined to see us normally we are sure, but Paula is at Carmel and the usual things have happened about mail not received.

I began writing about once a month or several times to the ICA Personnel Office, in the spring, asking to be put into direct person to person contact with Jigg as soon as he got home, as I knew he was due in July, 1959. None of my letters has ever been acknowledged.

Some day do ask George Richards if he has any ideas on ways of moving the ICA to humane action on behalf of grandparents and children who have been cruelly kept apart when the mid-generation is as distressed as we are that it should be so.

Damn total rule! As a health elixir I still repeat my refrain of 1943,
DOWN AND OUT WITH THE TOTALITARIANS.
BE WELL, OUR LOVE
Evelyn

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Charles R Soll
Counsellor at Law
86 Main Street
Nyack NY

September 11, 1959

Dear Mrs Scott:

I am in receipt of a letter from Mrs William J Metcalfe c/o Benjamin Franklin, 222 West 77th Street, New York City dated September 6, 1959.

She expresses anxiety because she has not received any communication from her son Creighton or yourself and has asked that I communicate with you and forward her personal request that you write to her.

Very truly yours,
Charles R Soll

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

United States Post Office
Carmel, California
September 19, 1959

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

All mail addressed to Mrs Scott at Rt 2, Box 412, Carmel, California is being delivered to her at that address.

Sincerely,
Fred G Strong
Postmaster

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

September 25, 1959

Dear Evelyn—

We’re all OK and very busy. I’ll write soon but this will let you know we’re still here in Carmel and probably will be for quite a while. The schools here are excellent and the kids are all enjoying it.

Love to both,
P

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

September 26, 1959

Darling Paula,

I wonder very often who got hold of my several letters addressed to the Employee Relations Officer, ICA, and whether or not Jigg had those I addressed in their care to him. They have not dealt fairly or respectfully with a mother, father and affectionate step-father who have endured conditions NEITHER YOU NOR JIGG WISH FOR FIFTEEN YEARS BAR FIVE DAYS.

I have thought of drawing up a petition for the White House in respect to Jigg’s first need to be with you and the children, and his also very normal essential human and practical need to sometimes SEE AND TALK TO HIS PARENTS AND STEPFATHER.

Can you tell me what you would think of my doing this? WE HAVE EVERY LEGAL RIGHT TO PUNISH BY LAW ANY WHO INTERFERE WITH NORMAL AMERICAN AND BRITISH LIVES AND RELATIONS.

YOU HAVE A NICE POSTMASTER. HE WROTE ME AT ONCE THAT MRS SCOTT’S LETTERS ARE BEING DELIVERED at HER CARMEL ADDRESS. I SHALL THANK HIM.

LOVINGLY LOVINGLY DARLING—JIGG AND YOU EAST[sic]
Evelyn

* * * * *

To US Passport Office

[October, 1959]1

Old Fashioned STRAIGHT CREIGHTON SEELEY SCOTT

NB Mr Robert D Johnson
Acting Director US Passport Office
Washington DC

In the letter I sent you I asked that my son be helped if possible to place near his mother and step-father with his wife and children, and so be near enough to hope to see his father. Mother, father, step-father have not seen him or his family for ten years.

At once this letter was mailed, my son CREIGHTON SEELEY SCOTT was posted to San Francisco, THREE HUNDRED MILES FROM HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN SO THAT HE CANNOT COMMUTE. THEY ARE A DEVOTED COUPLE AND BOTH LOVE THEIR KIDS.

In the letter I mailed to Mr Robert D Johnson asking him again how I could help my son to settle nearer the elders, I said CREIGHTON SEELEY SCOTT IS NEITHER COMMUNIST NOR FASCIST, HE IS AN AMERICAN IN THE TRADITIONAL SENSE.

At once this letter was mailed he was posted to San Francisco, which according to news is a LABOUR CITY—he has and still does avoid labour disputes and unions. IT WAS CRUEL TO IGNORE THAT LETTER—maybe our visitors looked over my shoulder?

In the letter above I pled to have the eldest daughter home in time to enter the college2 she had selected. She HAS NOT DONE SO, as the SCOTT FAMILY IS IN AN UNSETTLED STATE, AS THEY CERTAINLY DID NOT EXPECT MR and MRS SCOTT TO BE APART.

CREIGHTON SEELEY SCOTT HAD TO GO TO WASHINGTON TO TESTIFY ABOUT CONDITIONS ABROAD WHERE HE WAS. HE COULD NOT TAKE HIS WIFE THER WITH FIVE CHILDREN AS HE IS NOT WEALTHY.

SHE HAS TO STAY IN CARMEL FOR THE PRESENT, RENT SETTLED. THEY DO NOT WISH TO SETTLE IN CALIFORNIA.

NOW I SUGGEST THAT CONTINUED SPITE-PURVEYORS BE KICKED OUT OF THE REGULAR AMERICAN ARMY FOR GOOD. PLEASE HELP STRAIGHT NATIONAL DEFENCE

REMEMBER FIVE DAYS IN FIFTEEN YEARS ONLY HAVE I SEEN MY SON. THE REASONS ALL RELATE TO TOTAL ENEMY ACTIONS

THREE OF OUR FIVE GRANDCHILDREN I HAVE NEVER SEEN IN THE FLESH

WHERE IS THE ICA—IT SEEMS TO DESPISE HUMAN LOVE BOTH YOUNG AND OLD OURS LOVE

1 This letter was not dated: date deduced from contents.

2 Denise did go to her chosen college as planned. This statement is another of many examples of Evelyn putting her words into the mouths of others who would probably not agree with the sentiments.

* * * * *

From Howard Ross

International Cooperation Administration
Washington 25, DC
October 8, 1959

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

Your two letters addressed to your son Creighton Scott c/o Personnel Division, ICA Washington have been forwarded to him in California. The address Mr Scott left with us was Route 2, Box 412, Carmel, California.

Since your son is no longer working with the Agency, may we suggest that you direct your letters to him in Carmel.

Sincerely,
Howard F Ross, Chief
Employee Relations Office

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

October 10th, 1959

Darling Paula,

What are we to do to obtain your letter, sweet girl? Is Jigg able to come home to you often enough to help you both and to keep up with the children?

My heart has begun to act up just in the last few days. In some strange manner a nerve under my left breast has begun to hurt and the heart is just under it. I tell you because May1 still insists it is all “psychosomatic”, hence if I could see you and Jigg I would cease to be troubled. And I don’t know but what I would gain immensely in general strength if I did–it is to be expected.

On the other hand, however, all these nerve exacerbations are so localized in symptoms that I sense them more as bodily hurts than the results of my distress.

My theory is that money and health have been the exploited bludgeons used by our enemies to keep us all apart; and that if we actually re-established our personal contacts WE WOULD ALL BECOME STRONGER TOGETHER AND IN COMPLETE HEALTH.

We live among those whose interests are almost unrelated to our, and moral and physical strengthening would result if we supplied one another with friendly DEFENCE CONTACTS.

Our Love,
Evelyn

1 May Mayers, physician and a long-time friend of Evelyn’s.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

October 13, 1959

Dear Evelyn and Jack—

After promising to write in detail, I’ve been putting it off simply for lack of time. It will take me hours to go through the accumulated letters from you, and I simply don’t have that much time. Anyway, the main thing is that we are all well and there is nothing for you to worry about. When I don’t write it is only because I don’t have time. Remember that I have a large family to take care of—it means a lot of sweeping cooking dinners, washing, ironing, dishes, beds, sewing, mending, etc, etc. The day is only so long. For instance, every single day I have to do a big washing and ironing to keep all five kids clean and neat for school. So please don’t get frantic when you don’t hear for a while, especially as time slips by and I sometimes don’t realize how long it’s been since I wrote last.

The kids are all doing well in school and most of them like it. The exceptions are Fred and Matthew who, being boys, would much rather spend all their time on the beach or the rocks or in the hills. They consider school an inexcusable imposition. Suzy is still a straight A student and is carrying a heavy load of extra-curricular activities. July and Bobby can walk to school and they both love it. It’s a nice little school, only through fourth grade, and they both like their teachers.

This is all I have time for now—there is work to do. I’ll try to write sooner next time. But remember not to worry.

Love to you both,
Paula

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

October 19, 1959

Dear Evelyn—

We heard from Gladys that you are very ill—please take care of yourself and do what your Doctor says. If you could possibly get back to England you would get better medical care and hospitalization if you need it. We’re too far away to see you or help you and there is nothing we can do about it. Jigg’s testimony is finished and he won’t be back in Washington again. When he was there it was impossible to get to New York. There was neither the time nor the money.

You would be better off with good medical care. New York is a dismal place to be sick in. I wish we could help! Will you—if you can—and Jack, please, keep us posted on how you are—Jack too—and what you are doing to take care of you?

And Jack—are you all right? Can you drop a few words about Evelyn and yourself?

Love,
Paula

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

October 24, 1959

Darling Paula

I wrote you of my health last week and hope you now have my letter. I have coronary heart disease, and has been going on some time, probably, as when May suspended her treatment of patients in order to write, I had a dose of “psychosomatic” converts who actually refused to diagnose, and one alone offered any treatment. Naturally when they gave no advice I tried to go on per usual, and that was a mistake. However, it is perfectly true that when patients of this sort guard themselves with a great deal of complete rest, they may live a long time.

As to Gladys, when we were coming to New York, she wrote me to London “don’t come back”. And we had scarcely got here before she began in a youth movement jargon to tell me I must “relinquish” Jigg and leave him to his “own generation”.

When we went to The Huntington Hartford Foundation, she again wrote me “don’t come back to New York”. And when I got here and saw her twice she said she “would not talk about Jigg”. I was angry that anyone should forbid me to mention my own son and his family.

I could not comprehend her. She had no explanation of her “advice” to offer.

She then wrote me that she “could not see me unless I promised not to refer to my family”. I wrote her that we would not meet again until she agreed that I could be as natural in speech about my family as anyone in the world.

That was four-and-one-half years ago, and she has not communicated with me since.

May saw her recently must be how she knew I was ill. I suppose you wrote to her, is how she had your address.

I have tried to write without emotion. Need we say what all this signifies to Jack and me: I have often been made to feel, since our return, that enemies were trying to boot me out of my native native country where most of them were before Bunker Hill and the Southern lot before Virginia was a state. Jack is frankly bitter about what has happened but especially about what has been done to me. He is loyal to you and Jigg and Cyril, but he, too, thinks we would all be happier for explanation–and of course meetings. Wish Jigg and you weren’t on the West Coast. But I suppose as to war it seems all the same to you. LOVE, Evelyn

 * * * * *

During this period Jack had been in correspondence with Match and Co, the managing agents for 26 Belsize Crescent.  These letters contained considerable detail about the finances of the property and Jack reluctantly decided that he had no option but to sell the house.  After taking advice, he accepted an offer of £2500 (approximately £56,000 in today’s money) nowhere near enough to buy the hoped-for cottage in the country.

* * * * *

To Jack Metcalfe

November 12, 1959

Dear Jack—

Thank you so much for the detailed and candid account of your circumstances. I see the point, now, and agree that you would do best to stay in the States. It’s a shame that you are unlikely to realize the true value of the Hampstead house. Your account of socialized medicine is chilling. I had no idea it was so bad. I hate to think of what would—or could—happen to a person in a sudden medical emergency if they were not already in hospital. Here one can get quick help.

I haven’t time for much this morning if I’m to catch the mail. Will you please tell Evelyn that I’ll write to her next and soon, and that all the books arrived on Fred’s birthday. He is particularly pleased with his Darwin and Julia loves hers with Kay Boyle’s personal inscription. Please thank her for us all. All the books were happy choices.

Love
P

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

December 1959

I hope this reaches you in time for Christmas—with our love and blessings. We are deep in preparations, of course—we put up the tree this afternoon because the kids pestered so much that I gave in. It does look pretty.

We’re not sending any cards this year, so this note is to take its place. We’re all well and of course the kids are in a heaven of anticipation. I hope you both have a good Christmas—even if simple.

Love,
Paula

* * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

45. Ships that pass. . . .

Having two narrative streams running concurrently is perhaps an inevitable recipe for confusion, but a necessary one.  Last week we caught up on events in Jigg’s life while Evelyn and Jack were concentrating on their return to the United States, believing (largely because Jigg had told them as little as possible about events in his life) that they would be reunited with him and his family on their return.  This selection of letters highlights Evelyn’s disappointment at discovering Jigg was not in New York, and her continuing attempts to get news of him.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
November 28, 1952

Darling Jig and Pavla-Paula:

In Pavla’s letter of April she spoke somewhat sardonically of her “bi-annual” letter, and alluded to your finances as preclusive of that visit to Jack and myself here for which we had hopedbefore we go home.  However, as I myself continued to write frequently, and to inquire as to the receipt of the parcels sent to you both and the children and—like those sent to you at Grünwald, unacknowledged until I pressed to have news of them—I did not suppose even the “bi-annual” letter would fail me.

Nonetheless, it apparently did, and either was never written or was not delivered here; and my natural anxiety on behalf of you both and of the four children was so increased by this apparent silence that, a little over a week ago, I wrote to the American Consul in Munich, explaining that I am Mr Creighton Scott’s mother and that I have reason to wonder whether or not you have changed your address and informed me of it in some letter that has not yet got to me.

I asked the Consul to assist me as the American citizen I am to reach my son and daughter-in-law and four grandchildren.  And I think it would be inhuman to refuse my request in view of the actual conditions against which we are all struggling and especially would it be inhuman because Jack and myself will probably have landed in New York within six weeks or a little over.  I hope, therefore, that should the American Consul put me with Jack again in touch with my family, that you will not have been embarrassed by any misconstruction of what has happened about mail, for I also explained to the Consul that one of the three parcels sent since April was the carton of slightly worn clothing often mentioned by me in letters and mailed to you both August 1952 from Hamstead London NW3.

We hope to learn soon that you are all to return to the USA, and when.  The clothes are of enough value to make a stink about if anything was done amiss respecting to the parcel, but Jig’s own personal communication with Pavla’s is the one thing that will relieve both Jack and myself of the feeling of downright oppression in having thus had communication either discouraged or deliberately interfered with there.

Please darlings do whatever you can on your side to assist us to be in touch with each other and in one country—the USA.  Margaret De Silver has been the finest of real friends to us and, as she herself said, still wishes Jig and Harry De Silver could see more of each other.  And a few others, as well, have helped Margaret to help by contributing to my “fund”.  We will have to go on to the Huntington Hertford1 a few weeks after landing, but honestly I myself will be incapable of making full use of their generous and sustained offer of six months of free board and lodging at their California Colony unless our minds can be relieved in some measure by news of Jigl.  Down and out with every bloody tote and dictator in the world.  There we stood in the war and there we will always stand.

From Armies or any Government Department daring to direct individual human lives.  It is a crime to attempt such things.  And among the tools of totes is “economy”.  So I herewith implore you both to be as candid as I am especially where money figured.  [Remainder of letter missing]

After some effort, Jack had been offered 6 months’ visiting fellowship at the Huntington Hertford Foundation, founded by the eponymous heir to a major supermarket hortune.

* * * * *

The following letter was one of a number, discovered after Paula died, that had never been opened.

To Creighton Scott

February 4, 1953

Mr Creighton Scott
care Mrs Gladys Grant

For forwarding if necessary. 

Darlings please answer. The American Consul in Munich gave your forwarding address to relieve my distress when the parcels then there were unacknowledged. He wrote me a very good letter. We think of you six and Dad and Louise all the time so anxiously. My mss is still where it was there, unread—why doesn’t Gladys write, we wonder, too. We will let you know when we know precisely when we will arrive. Love Mother

Darling Jig:

Two letters to you and Paula-Pavla and one letter to your Dad have been sent to Gladys’ address since you all six returned home, with the request to her that if you were not stopping at her house, these be forwarded. The letters before this one went early in January, and when sending them I, also, wrote to her at some length. But there has been no reply so far, and I am very naturally somewhat distressed as I would like to know your precise whereabouts, how you and your Dad are when we arrive home again.

I said in the other letters that we were to sail on February 15th in the boat that would take about a week. This was the Ryndam, old Holland-Dutch Line. But we were counting on the letting of this re-furbished flat to complete the financing of our move; and as it is not rented yet and we have no cash for our train-fare to Southampton, for baggage mended and a little bought, for socks, stockings, warm undervests, an overcoat for Jack that will be presentable among social equals—he still has just his re-made service coat, recognizable as such and worn badlyand for baggage transport, porters’ tips, and the alteration of the second coatsuit sent to me, etc, etc—as all these items are lacking yet, we cannot sail until either the flat is rented and paid in advance to supply these needs, or somebody with some money helps again with two to three hundred dollars. Two hundred would do it, but three would allow less skimping.

The reason I write you again without waiting on an answer is that I do not wish you to be alarmed, as you well might be with all these floods and a Dutch boat arriving without us in it. We are still hoping for some cancellation that will permit us to transfer to the Veendam of the same Line, or to some larger boat tourist. But the larger boat will require slightly more fare, hence the hope of the three hundred, which—and I implore it—you and Paula are not to worry about even to the extent of regretting that, as I know, you can do nothing.

Our steamer fares at the lower rate are paid. On December 1st, 1952, Jack secured his quota entrance—or re-entry as his eighteen years prior residence there counted preferentially—and the health certificates required as to his normality in every way. And thinking then we would soon be out of the woods, expected by the school to give notice of his voluntary resignation, when the Christmas holidays came, he resigned his job, as, in any case, also, he would have had to do to see tenants with whom I cannot discuss the business aspects of tentative offers.

The renovation of the flat has been achieved in a very niggling way, as he had to pay in most of the help we have had, in the Fund Margaret set up for me, to clear up tax arrears and maintenance bulls; and the entire situation has been atrocious in that every delay has meant a re-accumulation of heating bills, small or large repairs, and, of course, taxes, also, mounting; and the sums at Jack’s disposal have been, as far as renovation went, too small to do everything at once, as we would have thought best. In December he secured the permission—maybe it was before December—of the Bank of England to reckon anything accruing on this house once the flat is rented as a transferable asset. He in this way satisfied the American Consular stipulations as to his finances; though had he been justly dealt with as the great author he actually is, he could have referred to his publishers there and here in proof of his comparative solvency.

But Jack MUST be in New York before April 9th, when his visa expires. Otherwise everything would have to be done again; there would be as much to clear up as before; and—beside—we are now without any source of income, and to take up a school jobherewould be a complete defeat.

I am, therefore, writing again to the few people I can think of who might know someone able to supply two to three hundred dollars more, so that we can GO HOME NOW without waiting on the rental of the flat. Jack has applied to the Admiralty about the Coronation, but they advertise only short period rentals for the Coronation proper. He has applied to the American Embassy’s Consulate and find they do not advertise flats except for Army Officers, and it is against regulations for these to pay more than a month in advance, though in Britain people often pay a quarter’s rent or six months when they have the funds and it is mutually convenient. A few people have looked at the flat, but left undecided and did not return; and yet there is a big demand for flats and this is comfortable with the central heat, plenty of hot water, three bedrooms, one large, one moderate and one small, a now largish hall dining-room, a large living room, a pretty bath and re-done lavatory, and a garden that—though not much cultivated now—can be made very nice. The furnishing is complete except for the dining room chairs to be bought with the rent. Once we have all travel expenses we can leave renting to the real estate agent. The rent is not in excess of other flats, and we have dropped a guinea a week off because a Frigidaire will have to be installed and rented, too, by those who feel they cannot do without one. It is our need for rent in advance at once that handicaps us. So we do implore “the gods” to supply what is lacking for travel independent of the flat as it will undoubtedly be taken with time. [Remainder of letter missing]

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

March 27, 1953

Dear Jigg:–

Your mother presumably left for California at 3PM on Wed Mar 25—in all that downpour! I saw her several times + she does talk more reasonably than she writes, altho rather buttonholing type of talk like the Ancient Mariner, + after 2 hrs the conversation gets more paranoid. However, she seemed pretty well + calm—but will it last!? She told me Miss Allin [?] had told you you were at the Chelsea [Hotel], + she went there + they were very vague as to when you had left + where you had gone. . . I began to feel pretty low + horrible when she talked lovingly about “my son” + about “The Muscovites” + how she was using your agent Russell. However, I’m sure I did right. She saw Charlotte Wilder + May Mayers—who seems to be a good egg– + Dawn was hospitable + helpful. Jack got an agent, too, + registered at several teachers agencies, so here’s hoping!

Anyway, cheerio
MDeS

* * * * *

To Ralph Pearson

The Huntington Hartford Foundation
2000 Rustic Canyon Road, Pacific Palisades, California
April 6, 1953

Mr Ralph Pearson
Lecturer on Art
The University of New Mexico Arizona or New Mexico Phoenix or Albuquerque–we don’t know which

Dear Ralph:

Jack and I have been assisted by some generous friends, of whom Margaret De Silver, is the chief, to return home. We sailed from Southampton, on March 1st, on the Holland-American Liner “Veendam”, and were in New York just under two weeks, at the Hotel Earl off Washington Square, in Waverley Place.

Can you, if this reaches us, send Jig’s address to his mother? If so Jack and I both will take it to be a human and kindly act.

After that period in which I sent letters to Jig in your care, at 288 Piermont Avenue, Nyack, our contact was re-established; and both in Rutherford–at both their addresses, Hawthorne and Ridge Streets [sic]–and in Red Hook, at their Pitcher Lane address, we corresponded at intervals. And we continued to correspond when Jig and Pavla went to Munich, while they were both at Grunwald and at Grafelfing; Pavla writing most of the letters but Jig signing some with her

I had, as their forwarding address, the address of Mrs Gladys Edgerton Grant, RFD1, Scotch Plains; and sent a letter to her in which I mentioned what was then a hope–that we might be in New York by early January. We were unable to leave when we had thought we woud, and the very letter in which I first told the date of our sailing–that it would be March 1st, and our passages were certain–was the first letter returned unopened of course  to Mrs Grant by Free Europe New York office; to which she had been asked to forward Jig’s mail and Pavla’s.

I telephoned the Free Europe Radio Service in NY twice; and realize now I should have gone there. But their pleasant promise to do everything possible to locate him again in the USA put me off, so to speak. I know Jig’s job was not “hushy” and was ordinary civilian radio. Free Europe assures me he is in the USA, was seen on his return, had been “in the office” but is not there now. They also said he had stayed at the Chelsea Hotel on 23rd Street with his family on landing last autumn–September probably1. I don’t know what you think of the fact that we communicated when I was in London with Jack and Jig and Pavla were in Germany, yet are cut out of context with them the moment we set foot on the soil of the country of which I am native, but we regard such a contretemps as sheer barbarity–and not on Jig’s part or Pavla’s.

If you can help me, and care to take a human view, we shall be more than obliged.

We have Fellowships here, but no money whatever; and will return to New York in the late summer, as our fares back are guaranteed and Jack must have a school-job and is the one of us best qualified by experience and degree.

I have no reason to suppose you feel any longer any interest whatever in us; but–again–I appeal to you on the basis of human feeling. I think the fact that we have four grandchildren–all American born–in common, should be enough to suggest loyalty to us as Jig’s near family as the most normal attitude. But goodness knows what anybody thinks of anything, since a disastrous metamorphosis has been wrought in so many of the country’s views. I am just hoping.

Sincerely yours,
Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe (Mrs John or Mrs WJ)

Jigg and his family returned to the US in August 1952

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

April 20, 1953

Dear Jigg

I enclose a letter from your mother [missing]which I hope you’ll read. I’d like to suggest that if + when you get yourself a far distant post office address, you write her a small non-committal letter telling her you’re alive + well. It is going to be increasingly difficult for me to keep my up-to-now successful dead-pan front when they come back in the Fall. Her address is:–

Huntington-Hartford Foundation
2000 Rustic Canyon Road
Pacific Palisades, Calif

Best wishes to you!
Faithfully
Margaret DeS

How is Paula? I regret that it is impractical for us to meet.

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

[Chelsea Hotel]
April 24 [?1953]

Dear Margaret

Sorry my letter threw you, as it appears to have done, and which I didn’t intend. Your letters have never bored me, although I admit they have scared me at times. I don’t think it’s correct to say that you have been stupid about bringing E Scott and Jack to the ‘States. What I do contend is that you, and the others involved, have failed to take into consideration that she is, in the strictly clinical sense, insane.

As you say, my mother was a bit of a witch hunter in her time. I can remember when she approached the (then) Dies Committee1 with considerable zest. Everybody who knew her at the time realises that she went quite overboard on the idea that there was a terrible conspiracy afoot to repress True Art, and that the super patriots, as represented by the Hearst Press, the un-American Activities Committee, etc. were natural allies against such a conspiracy. The logic of this did then, and still does, escape me altogether.

As I say, everyone knew, or suspected, that she was doing a bit of witch hunting. What nobody knew, and what the people I told have steadfastly refused to believe up this moment, is that she was nuts.

At the time in question, for example, I spent many hours trying to convince her that she was wrong in supposing that there was in existence a machine (a kind of telepathic radio) which enabled malignant influences(at that time communist, but today God knows what) to tune in on one’s thoughts. A little later, I tried to talk her out of the notion that this same device had been improved to the point where it could not only be tuned in on one’s thoughts, but used to twist, pervert and direct them as well. In 1943, at a time when she was considered to be quite sane, and when my own rationality was called into question for suggesting that she was not, she was urging me to get rid of my wife (Paula), by poison if necessary, because, she claimed, Paula was a robot under the influence of this contraption. It was later perfected, as she took pains to inform me, to the point where it could make people ill (How’s your arthritis?). Not only that, but it soon transpired, as she made clear, that there was no such thing as a germ or a virus, or what have you. All diseases, mechanical fractures of the bone possibly excepted, were induced by this super-gadget. There was, however, a counteragent. If you thought “right” thoughts, and repeated the word “Peruna” frequently enough, you could outwit the gadget.

This is merely by way of illustrating the point things had reached ten years ago: they were plenty bad before that. I recall suggesting to various people that she might not be all there, and all I got was a sweet, sceptical smile—the smile one accords to someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. As a result, I tend to laugh a little bit sardonically, which I think I am entitled to do, because I have lived in a sweat for a good many years, with nobody to give me any advice.

Here is something else which will give him some intimation of what may—or may not—happen. One day I was called up on the mat by the President of the National Broadcasting Company, of which I was a rather humble employee. He had received a letter which was not easy for him to understand, from my mother. The gist of the intelligible parts was that NBC must be exerting some malignant influence over me, otherwise I would write more often (in those days I still wrote occasionally). I apologized to him and shortly thereafter found it convenient to find a job elsewhere, with ABC.

At ABC two things happened. Firstly, I found that my mother had a reputation among persons of more or less liberal complexion as their sworn enemy, and that it was assumed that I was her staunch supporter in this. My rather timid intimations that this was not so got me nowhere. The second thing that happened was that my boss at ABC goat the inevitable letter from my mother, asking, indirectly, that some kind of beat be put on me to make me a better correspondent, and suggesting that ABC was preventing me from writing. You can imagine what a difficult thing it was to explain to the foresaid boss. He is a pretty decent guy in many ways, but not subtle.

From ABC I moved to CBS. Ed Murrow is probably still puzzled by the letter he got from my mother trying to enlist his help in making me a more dutiful son. My mail was opened in Germany by the CIA, and I have often tried to imagine what General Walter Bedell Smith, or whoever my mother’s letters (forwarded from the ‘States) finally reached thought about their contents.

As far as I know she is still a confirmed letter writer.

Now I realize that the foregoing may sound completely incredible to you, or anyone else. Nevertheless it is true. However, about the only thing I have ever asked anybody to do about it is (1) kindly not hold me responsible for what my parents did—the sins of the fathers may be visited upon the sons in the bible, but this is supposed to be a non-biblical age; and (2) that someone look into the matter, with the aid of competent and qualified medical men, without automatically assuming that it couldn’t be true because it was I who said so. If I am wrong, I shall be happy to abide by the decision of an unbiased judge, but I’m afraid I’m right. I have been for fifteen years, and the fact that I spent 25 of my 38 years dancing attendance on my mother and father gives my opinion some weight.

So much for that. You now have the main facts in fairly comprehensible form. Sorry to bother you with it all, but it seems easier to state the whole case in one lump that to try to explain it piecemeal.

I’m very grateful to you for what you are trying to do for my mother, and I’ll do anything I can to help. Frankly, however, it presents certain problems. But don’t let it get you down. Best of luck from Paula and myself.

Jigg

Incidentally, you are the second person who asked me to write my mother in a week. Gladys Grant was the other. The letter is in the works.

1A predecessor of the House Un-American Activities Committee

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

April 24, 1953

Dear Jigg;-

Your letter just received so horrifies and fascinates me that I hasten to answer it, even tho a letter from me must always scare and bore you! What fascinates me is the revelation of my own stupidity, and what horrifies me are the implications involved in E’s remarks to which I scarcely paid any attention!

First let me hasten to say that my arthritis—the present—was only mentioned to Evelyn because I was bored with hearing of her complaints and thought I’d just stick in one of my own. But I see that that is dangerous as, like other mentally ill people I know, Evelyn never forgets a damn thing. I have always assumed it was Evelyn’s enormous vanity that made her unable to admit that you of your own free will wish NOT to communicate with her, but had not the heart to come right out and say so—she would not have accepted it anyway. BUT I did NOT know she was so thoroughly au courant as to your ideas and intentions.

Plenty of people DID warn me against trying to bring Evelyn here are plenty are hiding out in fear and trembling, all of which makes me feel an utter ass, softy, simpleminded “Do-Gooder”—such always mess things up for all concerned. But I did somehow think that if E got out of that hideous environment she might be able to do some creative work again.

It was very sweet of Paula to write me a few lines. I did not know Margaret1 was so ill, and feel rather guilty because I did not answer a letter she wrote me about Foster’s book. Evelyn had also assailed Margaret as to your whereabouts and she had answered she did not know where you were. Knowing how Margaret has always felt about Evelyn, I was surprised that Evelyn would communicate with her. Dr Mayers, by the way, seems to have remained discretely loyal to you. She also told me that Paula is a beauty.

Yes, Cyril and E both sure have outsized egos but I sort of assumed that was a disease of artists—that they had to have egos to buck all sorts of things. But I must say when they get top-heavy, one certainly ceases to function and instead does only endless damage.

Well, that’s enough. Good luck to you both. And thank you for writing Evelyn.

Margaret DeSilver

1 Margué Foster, Paula’s mother.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico
May 24, 1953

Dear Evelyn:

As I wired you, it is absolutely impossible for me to see you at any time. This I explained in my wire. Joe also feels as I do that there is no use in post mortems.

So please do not come to see us at any time. I hope all goes well with you.

I have had no word from Pavli for months.

Yours sincerely,
Margué

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Ranchos
September 6, 1953

Dearest Paula:

This is not an answer to your and [Denise’s] wonderful letters. That will come later.

This is on a subject I have held off writing you about since last March. Evelyn has written Frieda LawrenceD H 1 Ravagli a six-page letter like all her others to me trying to get her to get your address from me. It gives her father’s date of death and name and all his jobs, her mother’s etc. The exact words of her wire to me and may answer that I didn’t have your address.

So I am sending you her address and perhaps you can just write her you and Jigg are well and the children. You need not send your address but you could get her off our backs.

Frieda sent me the letter and said she could not make head or tail of it and what should she do. I’m sorry she has been bothered.

So no more of this. I’ll write soon.

Love to you, all of you,

Margué

1 D H Lawrence and his wife Frieda lived in Taos during the 1930s and in this small community would have known Margué and her husband.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

The Benjamin Franklin Hotel
222 West 77th Street
NYC 24, NY

March 31, 1954

Creighton and Paula Scott
care Mrs Gladys E Grant

Darlings:

We have arrived in New York again and will be here at shortest a week, at longest a month to six or seven weeks1, all depending on what is done for our financing, beginning today with Jack’s trying to connect with teaching posts, some for tutoring higher mat here as well as permanent for next autumn.

I have applied to other Foundations and am hopeful, as the responses have been kind cordial and remembering of everything we have done and will do soon with enough to complete our books own—nominally to me but actually saving two authors at once.

Ever since the letter each—one Jig’s and one Paula’s—in December and January we have been awaiting your address so we can stop this damnable nonsense of having to ask Gladys to forward all our letters to you. She is good about it but it makes no sense to us, and when we have every so often to admit to others this is the case, it makes no sense to them either. Give Jig’s Dad our love—on this we insist and will always insist as it DOES MAKE SENSE TO DO SO.

If there is any way at all that we can see you or you us as soon as we have any money to go anywyere for a day with you all and to see the five grands we will save for this really GREAT EVENT. Think how nice it will be for us all and for JACK TO MEET HIS STEP-GRANDCHILDREN.

I have not yet seen Mathew, Julia or Robert—please darlings let’s end a situation that is senseless and is bound to be equivocally interpreted by poison-minds—it just makes no sense and never will. We are all so lovingly well disposed—you, us and your Dad I am sure.

We are concerned as to your health, prospects and as to the mutual preservation of the dearest of our human contacts—one of the chief reasons we were so distressed that it took so long to finance our return from England.

I am naturally going to go on telling every body until we actually have your addresses—but we don’t want candour exploited either.

Jack may get a job near Chicago for next fall, though whether this is the best place or not we dont know until we know where you are—NOW NOW NOW tout de suite.

Remember your health and your prospects are one with ours to us because affection does just that—human attachments are at least half the value of every life.

We hope to see Gladys but she is Mrs Sherlock Holmes where any of you are concerned. I suppose that to her is loyalty. I don’t agree with it, because it implies you have “chosen” where I know damn well you cannot have “chosen” as you have far too much real sense to have done anything so stupid about addresses.

We left The Huntington Hertford Foundation in good standing and on an amiable footing with the Director Dr John Vincent;, his wife, his son and daughter—children—the Assistant Director Mr Proctor Stafford, and all the present Fellows. We have really liked a number, and most of the incomprehensions we first encountered were due to foreignness and poor English. Dr Vincent is tops as a classical composer.

We have been told several people were “dead” who have turned out to be still among the living. Once you hear that, you are in a spot as to saying the wrong thing. It is a lousy rumour unless well verified.

WE AIN’T LICKED YOU AIN’T LICKED CYRIL AIN’T LICKED.

Love love love love love love love
to Paula Evelyn—to Jigg Mother
Love from Jack

1 Despite this hopeful statement, they remained in the Benjamin Franklin Hotel until late 1963.

* * * * *

[The first pages of the following letter were torn up by Gladys, but the parts that remain are worth recording as they express her feelings, perhaps more forcibly than the undamaged letter would have done.]

To Evelyn Scott

June 28, 1954

I am answering at last after tearing …
us answers because I love you and …
of everything, hard as you may find …
Can’t you realize how much easier …
me to give you the old and probably …
that I have instead of keeping …
You have a right to feel that …
not to accuse me of injustice …
matter. I have forwarded you …

…itten appeals of my own to Jig and
… se were either never received or
… s for your other accusations and
… s ironic that you accuse me of
… ing a letter when I did so almost

The letter arrived late Monday …
was out and did not get home until …
but I answered first thing on …
Your postcard arrived here on

.. ng. Neither I nor the PO could
… answer to you in that short time.
…uch impossible demands on your other .
.. en scold them, no wonder you get no
…You are quite right that I avoid
… about Jig and Paula.

It is not that I don’t want to, but because you ask impossibly intimate questions that I have no way of answering and then accuse me of lying or concealing. For instance I have no possible way of knowing about Jig’s health. Even on the few past occasions when I visited them, I could only tell you what I saw or they volunteered. Evidently Jig told you much more when he saw you in London and this was only natural.I can’t possibly remember how many times I saw Jig or the family since 1941. Not many and we did not discuss you or Jack or any of them. And all you wrote abut 22 years ago was completely new to me. I was either selfishly absorbed in my own first love affair and did not know what was going on or was away in Darien. Both probably.

Please forgive the tone of this letter. I am no longer angry, but still deeply hurt. I do realize that you and Jack have been and are still going through terrible times and wish I could help. Yet you have your work and you have each other which is so much much much more than many of the rest of us. It is tragic that your work is not appreciated, but isn’t that always the fate of true artists? Not that that makes it any easier! But you have Jack’s love and I still and have always known that love is the greatest thing in the world!

Love to you both—
Always
Gladys

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

Brooklyn Hospital
July 5, 1954

Dearest Pavli—

No news is good news I trust, in this case, on your part.

Perhaps you already know the following—that Evelyn Scott has placed a notice in the NY Times asking anybody informed of it—to let her have the address of her son—someone sent the clipping to Gertrude—who I think mislaid it—Does Creighton know her address?

I am still here, you see—but improving—beginning practicing walking. I still have to push a chair before me—and have a nurse beside me—but the time is near when I shall be able to go home.

I save clippings for the children without being sure that they care for them.

Love to you all
Aunt Kitty

* * * * *

[The following two letters are linked:  Margué included the handwritten postcard from Evelyn in her letter to Paula.]

To Margaret Foster

August 1, 1954

Dear Margué:

I am still hoping, as Jack does, that you may, by now, have the address of Paula and Jig, Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert, and will send it on to use for the sake of our love for themall. We havent been able to locate Ralph and family either. Evelyn.

To Paula Scott

August 19, 1954

Dearest P,

I’m so sorry for the delay in sending this card. I was up to my ears in work and forgot it!  I’m so glad you are better. But sorry you had pneumonia! Even mildly.  I’m feeling a little better since the cooler weather. And since all this work gets me more active.  But, alas, I must stop and get this off.

Best love to you all,
Margué

* * * * *

[It is not clear who the Herman Rappaport of this letter is, although it appears from the letter that another of a similar name helped Evelyn during the 1940s. This letter and the following give an insight into life at the Benjamin Franklin Hotel.[

To Herman Rappaport

November 14, 1954

Mr Herman Rappaport
125 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn 17, NY

Dear Mr Rappaport:

I trust the misleadingly “businesslike” look of this typewritten letter, will still allow me to say convincingly that my husband and myself both continue to be touched by your kindness, and that we are already thinking of you as someone we hope to meet in person in the spirit that can develop long-range acquaintance into friendliness on the firmer foundation of mutual personal knowledge.

I write on the typewriter because I always allow my personal mail to accumulate to be answered on Sunday, as the one way to get on with a novel that has suffered an infinitude of set-backs. But I ask you to believe, as it is the fact, that your gift to me of my first novel, The Narrow House, has been in my mind ever since it was delivered at the hotel on Tuesday or Wednesday, with the cheering effect you, in your generosity, of course, intended.

As it would have been natural to do so, I hope you read the letter that was missent, and for our very good old friends, the Rappoports, with your initials: Mr Harry Rappoport our lawyer of other days and, again, now, as we have recovered the contact. And the reason I especially hope you read it is that it conveyed something of our difficulties after 1945; which have been very little ameliorated since we came home.

So you see the real extent of your kindness! Here at the hotel we are still in one room, and as it is of moderate size and has just one table fit to type on, you can, I am sure, imaging the problem for two writers. That I have had the advantage of the table during much of the time is, by no means, a cause for congratulation on all scores, as John Metcalfe’s teaching job takes all his time from between 7.30 am, when he leaves here, and after six when he returns—this including those “descents into the maelstrom” that describe subway travel today, in New York. And on Saturdays and Sundays, he is usually too tired to do much more than correct pupil exercise books.

This is a state of affairs for which we are trying to find some solution in publication and revivals—our new books the main issue at stake at present—and in saving pennies so as to be sure of enough to live on next summer. That this particular aspect of artist-predicament is not peculiar to ourselves we well realize. I am an American citizen and have been continuously so all my life, and after Mr Metcalfe’s long familiarity with the country of eighteen years pre-war residence he was as shocked as I am to see how much the cultural scene had deteriorated since “planned living” became the rule. But we just don’t “give up the ship”.

We take this to be so of you, also, as of our other Rappoport friends; who, like you, staunchly support cultural values—or so I trust we rightly gather in view of your specific kindnesses to us. And knowing, because of your mention of it, that your interest in serious writing has weathered the illness to which you referred, we will, indeed, look forward to the long-deferred breathing-spell for us that will include an opportunity for us to come together in person at tea or over drinks. I trust this is not taking too much for granted. We, on our part, should like to know more of you.

I thought I would write, this time, one of my periodic long letters that really is intended for Mr Herman A Rappoport, to whom we are now both sincerely indebted for copies of our books.

With every appreciation and good wish, in which John Metcalfe joins me,

Evelyn Scott

* * * * *

To Herman Rappaport

December 4, 1954

Dear Mr Rappaport:

We have read with interest, as my postcard, I hope, indicated, your sympathetic account of our own difficulties of so many years in finding satisfactory quarters in which to make a home. It was just a usual run of “bad luck” that put me to bed temporarily just when we might have been meeting you and Mrs Rappaport. You are both generous again to proffer your hospitality in that full measure which includes cooking a dinner; especially when all we could—and it really is could—offer was eventual drinks in our room or near. This one of those ambiguous hotels that have the part privilege of an apartment-house, in that those who have no kitchenette in their rooms are at liberty to use the “community” kitchens on each floor. But we were in such a spot for a means to live during the summer, before my husband’s job began, that we have not yet invested in anything but some crude Woolworth cups and exactly two plates, and knives and forks; and haven’t even a saucepan other than one very small one.

This is a state of affairs we had vaguely assumed would be ended with the autumn, but there have been—as I suppose every one finds—drains on salary that have caused us to postpone the purchase of our kitchen equipment while we make sure—if we can—that next summer’s school vacation does not land us just where we were when we came back from the year at The Huntington Hartford Foundation that began our experiences since we came home.

This is all very elaborate explanation; but having been touched by the books, I feel niggardly and almost “mean”, in being unable—both of us—to respond with the hospitality that would be as “symbolic” as your gifts of our books.

However, indeed we do accept, as perhaps I have already made clear. But still we cannot set dates as John Metcalfe has about a week to do everything he should in respect to seeing people about the publication of new novels by him and the revival of old; and as a matter of diplomacy we have to leave it to others to decide first on convenient meetings.

Can you descent [sic] to my use of postcards, and sometime drop us a line indicating how many days notice you and Mrs Rappaport should have beforehand not to conflict with your own engagements, which may be complicated by Christmas, when everybody asks everybody somewhere, it still seems.

I don’t say telephone me because the public telephone is outside my door and has no box around it, and I am developing an anti-telephone phobia, the constant chatter of voluble ladies is so obstructing to my writing. I can hear everything they say, try NOT to though I do. This is nothing to sit on–they stand an hour at a time, like cows.

Your library, as you describe it, has a sound or look of healing. I used to be like Mrs Rappaport and say once I had absorbed the content of a book ownership mattered little. But I have become now, as John Metcalfe always was, like you; and as the good books published become fewer, have returned to that prizing view of my adolescence when my own—very own—carefully chosen small library was the most precious of my personal possessions. The horrible atrocious paper books with horrible atrocious bindings have tended to encourage the discarding of all books, after readings as cursory as the make-up. Even libraries can’t stock—public libraries—paper books until they are re-bound, hence often just don’t.

You write in the civilized way with a pen, and I don’t—so please don’t again feel you have ever to tax your strength—which I gather is not much—by replying in kind, unless you deeply wish to.

I write letters on Sundays, but this, too, is my substitute, a good part of the time, for conversation.

With sincerity, and many thanks to Mrs Rappaport too—from us both.

Evelyn Scott

Of course telephoning is not tabooed—just we don’t prefer it. The number is Endicott 2-1100, and by all means use it if it would save you inconvenience, but phoning is best around five pm.

* * * * *

 

 

43. The Benjamin Franklin Hotel

222 West 77th Street, New York 24, New York.  Literally hundreds of letters bearing that return address were put through Jigg and Paula’s various letterboxes from the time Jack and Evelyn moved into the Benjamin Franklin Hotel on 30th March 1954 until Evelyn died there in the summer of 1963.

The Benjamin Franklin Hotel offered accommodation in serviced two- or three-room suites, each with its own bathroom facilities but a shared kitchen down the hall (this kitchen the source of much frustration for Evelyn).  It must have been chosen for its low rates, as Evelyn was earning very little in royalties and Jack was dependent on a low-paid post as a tutor at a local “crammer”, preparing students for examinations.

Ben Franklin Hotel.GIF
Benjamin Franklin Hotel, c 1960

To Creighton and Paula Scott

The Benjamin Franklin Hotel
March 31, 1954

Darlings:

We have arrived in New York again and will be here at shortest a week, at longest a month to six or seven weeks, all depending on what is done for our financing, beginning today with Jack’s trying to connect with teaching posts, some for tutoring higher math here as well as permanent for next autumn.

I have applied to other Foundations and am hopeful, as the responses have been kind cordial and remembering of everything we have done and will do soon with enough to complete our books our- own—nominally to me but actually saving two authors at once.

Ever since the letter each—one Jig’s and one Paula’s—in December and January we have been awaiting your address so we can stop this damnable nonsense of having to ask Gladys to forward all our letters to you.  She is good about it but it makes no sense to us, and when we have every so often to admit to others this is the case, it makes no sense to them either.  Give Jig’s Dad our love—on this we insist and will always insist as it DOES MAKE SENSE TO DO SO.

If there is any way at all that we can see you or you us as soon as we have any money to go anywhere for a day with you all and to see the five grands we will save for this really GREAT EVENT.  Think how nice it will be for us all and for JACK TO MEET HIS STEP-GRANDCHILDREN.

I have not yet seen Mathew, Julia or Robert—please darlings let’s end a situation that is senseless and is bound to be equivocally interpreted by poison-minds—it just makes no sense and never will.  We are all so lovingly well disposed—you, us and your Dad I am sure.

Here we have been home a year and not had your address or as yet been able to see you—the factor of economy shall not be played on by any who may be interested in trying to keep people from meeting who corroborate each other as to this sort of thing.  THERE I STAND—as it is not impossible in a muddled stupid world.

We are concerned as to your health, prospects and as to the mutual preservation of the dearest of our human contacts—one of the chief reasons we were so distressed that it took so long to finance our return from England.

I am naturally going to go on telling every body until we actually have your addresses—but we dont want candour exploited either.

I asked Paula for more snapshots of the children and yourselves—Robert have had none yet—and hope for these with the address.

Remember your health and your prospects are one with ours to us because affection does just that—human attachments are at least half the value of every life.

We hope to see Gladys but she is Mrs Sherlock Holmes where any of you are concerned.  I suppose that to her is loyalty.  I dont agree with it, because it implies you have “chosen” where I know damn well you cannot have “chosen” as you have far too much real sense to have done anything so stupid about addresses.

Jack has been telephoning all morning.  Hope to connect by tomorrow—as usual, several out of town.

WE AINT LICKED YOU AINT LICKED CYRIL AINT LICKED.

Love love love love love love love
to Paula Evelyn—to Jigg Mother
Love from Jack

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

April 1, 1954: E and I passed v disturbed night with diarrhoea.  I went out and got coffee in containers, and buns, for our breakfast. Beatrice (cleaner) did our room at 10.45 while we had more coffee out. Lunch at Rudley’s. Nap. I went out and bought brown hat, and then on to Village with idea of seeing Fanny,- but did not do so.  Looked in vain for place to get hat blocked and cleaned. Back to hotel by 6.30. E and I had dinner at Waldorf. Later went out and bought brioches and croissants from DuBarry’s at corner.

April 2, 1954: Interview with Mr Westgate at St Bernards School in morning, – satisfactory save for rather low salary. Lunch. Nap. Remembered must have funds over week-end so cashed withdrew further $20 traveller’s cheque. Resumed nap,- but then Mr Fles rang up.  Again resumed nap. At 5.30 telephoned Craven (had already done so after lunch and found Mr French left), – saying would ring again Monday.

April 3, 1954: Breakfast at Rudley’s.  On return found letters from McDowell, Derleth and Guggenheim,- the last being a durn-damn. Derleth set me my jacket for The Feasting Dead.  I rang Davison, and then rang Mr Westgate in definite acceptance of post at St Bernards.  Wrote and posted letters to Gannett and Derleth.  Bought percolator and crockery, and later coffee and condensed milk and brioches. Had lunch “at home”, using community kitchen for boiling water.  Before this had opened a trunk in store-room and extracted letter-files.  Nap from 3 to 4.  Went out and bought coffee pot etc.  Dinner at 7 at Waldorf.

April 4, 1954: Breakfast “at home” of coffee and brioches etc.

April 5, 1954: Shopped in morning,- tobacco, cooking utensils etc.  Strained heart while buying lemon meringue pie.  Lunch at “home” of bacon and pie.  Had rung Mrs Aronson in morning.  Nap.  More shopping etc.  E and I had dinner at Waldorf.  Bed. Posted letters to Maggie, Walter, French, Inglis, Pleasantville and Putney.

April 9, 1954: Gladys came unexpectedly. Went bank etc. Lunched at Waldorf, with Gladys.

April 12, 1954: Went out again and collected E’s MS from Guggenheim Foundation office.

April 15, 1954: Went to Searing Tutorial School and left testimonials etc. Pay only $2 per hr.

April 18, 1954: Easter, and very dull. E thought valuables lost at 10 am. Found again at 4 pm. No dinner.

May 14, 1954: Back at hotel and found Maggie had sent us whisky, brandy, tea and coffee. Sampled the whiskey before supper.

May 25, 1954: Gladys and Edgerton visited us in evening and took us to supper at Waldorf Cafeteria.

June 2, 1954: Back at hotel about 6.15 and found Maggie there. She left about 7.30, – giving us present of cheese and a book.

June 5, 1954: This morning E and I had stroll to yacht basin by Riverside Dr while maid was cleaning our room.

* * * * *

To Margaret Foster

The Benjamin Franklin Hotel
August 1, 1954

Dear Margué:

I am still hoping, as Jack does, that you may, by now, have the address of Paula and Jig, Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert, and will send it on to us for the sake of our love for them all.  We haven’t been able to locate Ralph and family either.  Evelyn.

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary

November 4, 1954: E applied for a library ticket.

November 17, 1954: E got her library ticket.

December 25, 1954: Quiet and uneventful. Taste still skew-wiff.

January 2, 1955: Latish breakfast.  Rainy, but cleared up. Went out and bought air-mail stationery and two alligator pears. Wrote to Alec Waugh, Lunch. Nap.  Punch and bound some pages of E’s MS. Read E’s MS to p 349. Went out to post letters. Drinks. Supper of hash etc. Wrote to Preston and Fisher. Bed,- and a little nightmare!

January 3, 1955: Back to St Bernard’s, First day of the new term.  After prayers took AA in Arithmetic owing to Phelan’s bereavement.  Then Algebra with IX as usual.  French with 1A and then with 1B.  Lunch.  Took prep I 1A room 3.30-4.30. Returning via Bloomingdales where mailed letter (registered) to Savile1 Club with £4.4.0.  Also got Aliens Record Card.  Back to 77th Street.  Marketed, and bought Vodka and collected laundry. Found E sickish, so she lay down.  Shis-doff has duly returned my cuttings from The Listener. Drinks. Supper. Bed.

March 9, 1955: St Bernard’s, and took Corbelt’s etc. forms in middle school for first 3 periods, then Algebra IX in fourth period.  Lunch. Mr W said I might go ‘home’,- which I did, calling at bank on way and getting a haircut, tobacco, etc.  Also marketed. Back at hotel about 3.40.  Nap. Drinks. Supper. Bed.

March 10, 1955: St Bernard’s.  Took Corbelt’s class first 3 periods, then Algebra iX.  Lunch.  Westgate kindly agreed to correct Latin papers of 1Bx and 1A∂.  Took detention 2.20 – 3.10, then prep 3.30 – 4.30, – or just before, when Westgate released me. Returned slowly to hotel where E had ‘company’, – Mrs Keppelmann ( B Lockking didn’t come).  By time I knocked at our room door Mrs K had gone, – and E and I had drinks. Letter for me from June. Still no table, for which I had asked the hotel management some days ago.  It seems they are still searching for one. Supper of hash etc. Bed. Very warm for time of year,- 66°

March 17, 1955: Our wedding anniversary, – and may we have many more of them! Weather turned cold and windy. St Bernards. Middle School recitations. Latin 1A∂ and (after a gap) 1Bx. Did some Stanford. Maths 1x. Lunch. Sat with 2A from 2 to 2.20, then detention till 3.10. Westgate said I might pack up, which I did. Saw something of the St Patrick’s Day parade along 96th Street. ‘Home’ by subway, and found E not feeling so good. Went out and marketed. Drinks and did accounts. Supper. Bed. Sprained thumb in reproving a 2A boy.  Nuisance.

March 18, 1955: Snow again. END OF TERM. St Bernard’s upper school recitations in gym. Took Gillespie (D) and Ullman for remainder of their Stanford A Tests in Algebra room. School broke up at 12. Faculty lunch, – soup, sandwiches, beer and coffee. Talk with Westgate re my possible staying-on. Went bank and bought tobacco. “Home” about 3.30. Nap. Marketed. Drinks. Supper. Bed.

1One of many so-called “gentleman’s clubs” in London. It may be that Jack entertained ideas of returning to London, if only on a visit.

* * * * *

In October 1955, Jigg went to Saigon, Vietnam, where he was employed by the International Cooperation Administration, an agency of the US State Department, to advise Vietnam’s new radio network, Radio Vietnam, on the setting up and running of their newsroom. Paula and the children followed a month later, and the family lived in Saigon until August 1959.

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

In the following months Evelyn often took over entire pages of Jack’s diary.

January 16, 1956: E washed ice-box—and how!  Miss K has been 3 times asked not to “help” or be instinctive—she was and I blew up, exclaiming “Jesus wept!”—damn this kitchen! Jesus Christ—I cant stand it!  I left, and when I came back she had gone, thank pete! Before the blow up about “instructiveness” she had, as usual, dinned at her seldom varied theme, that “no one” but she and I “ever” washed the frigidaire.  This time she was wrong.  I was about to wash it myself 8 days after she had done so, and found it already washed and clean.  I put this at length as a future reminder of “community kitchens”.  She began, when she brought in her breakfast to get—I had hoped she had had it, 9.30—and I asked whether I was in her way, by saying, with the air of a tragic muse, “Nobody ever gets in my way.  We are lucky here.  We used to have 3 or 4 people in here at once but it never bothered me.  I’m not that kind of person.” I said, “Well I am”.  This unpleasant conversation on same lines almost verbatim.

560116

January 17, 1956:  Evelyn’s birthday. I, in having bath, discovered large discolouration, like bruise, on right upper arm. Went St Bernards. Taxi to bank and deposited Haithcock check of $258.75 in bank. Haithcock School,- including noon-hour duty.  Left 3.30. Home, after marketing, about 4.10. Drinks, did accounts etc. Supper. Bed

February 6, 1956: Washed frigidaire—Evelyn

February 14, 1956:  today went to the library for:  Manly Wade Wellman’s A Giant in Grey, 4 volumes Thiers History of the French Revolution, The French Revolution by Gaetano Salvemini.

March 5, 1956: [in red ink] Evelyn did ice-box!

March 15, 1956: [in red ink] E got cable from Paula.

March 30, 1956: Bernice 5.30.  Margaret De Silver George Burnham De Silver came to witness my signature to my will confirming formally letter in safety deposit for Jigg. Will dated March 23, 1956 to go to Lewis Mayers 214 East 18th St, NYC C, NY Prof of Law City College Write Margaret and Bernice how Jigg at present reached Everything for equal division between Jigg—son Creighton Seely Scott and his Stepfather William John Metcalfe who are appointed my literary executors not to allow changes in posthumous publications. After Maggie and Burnham had gone, E, Bernice and I went to Waldorf Cafeteria for supper, and I broke my upper denture.

March 31, 1956: Phoned Bernice E’s Dentist, Dr Foster, and fixed appointment for 10 on Monday. Collected laundry etc. E’s cold bad.  I had supper at Rudley’s and brought her back sandwich and ice-cream.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

[Contained in a manila envelope, inscribed as follows: For William John Metcalfe and Creighton Seely Scott letters and a family record  To be opened by either or by my daughter-in-law Paula Scott or any of my grandchildren who are of age at the time of my death. To be opened only after my death.]

Letter to Creighton Seely Scott, to be preserved with the Will of his mother, Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe, author Evelyn Scottand handed to him on her death or before, but not to be opened in her lifetime. Love to Cyril 4 living appreciation to F C Wellman and trust in his fundamental kindness

[signed] Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe  Evelyn Scott Mother Grandmother there are 15 pages herein all but one typed on both sides all single space.

New York City, NY,
April 2, 1956

Darling Son Creighton, to us always Jigg, or Jigeroo, it is a call on one’s imagination to be read when one lives, after one is dead.

I hope, long before that time, for the human opportunity to speak the love that Jack and myself, like your Dad, I am sure, feel for you for Paula, for Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert, and to know explicitly, instead of so largely as a matter of conjecture and hints, what is at the bottom of the silence we abhor as between you, Paula and ourselves, and us and good and fine Cyril.  I hope to know in particular why you were sent to Indo-China, to Saigon, at the very moment when, at last, we had located you as attached to your U S Army anti-soviet peace mission.  But, meanwhile, I can only reiterate that you have been a joy to me from the very day you were born, and that as an adult you still represent to me and to Jack—and to your Dad equally of course—the splendid comprehending friend to whom I dedicated Bread And A Sword with the utmost sincere continued appreciation of your talents as author and painter, your acute intellect, your human insights, and all those unique capacities of mind and sensitive feeling Jack and I value, not merely because of a “maternal bias”, but despite it; for do believe, darling Jigg that, though my heart is with you, I have never failed and never ceased to see you with the detached eyes of one accustomed for a lifetime to criticise individuals and societies and appraise genius such as you have innately.  I have never been able to love anyone unless my mind concurred in large measure; and though this might be called a “defect”, I think it is not that, and helps to give my love its staying power.  I respect you deeply morally, as a man of superior courage and will who has carried on under the circumstances of a more than usually difficult life.  And there I am very grateful to darling Paula—may I say Pavli in affection?—for perceptivity, her loyalty to you, her marvellous sustained fight with you, shoulder to shoulder, for you both and your children whose futures are in our thoughts every day, and have been, all during those years since 1944, in which circumstances not of your making, or hers, or ours, or Cyril’s, have kept us from any knowledge of them beyond mine in 1943-44, when Denise and Fredrick were met in the flesh.

There is no reproach in this, there never will be, never can be—none to yourselves, but much to a bad world.  Those five days in London when you were with us in the flat, stand now with the most important of our lives, as the reassurance that you are in the flesh, and I implore you never to give up, even as I know you never will, merely in carrying over to you and to Paula and the five children, our own constant concern.

Nothing can ever change us and nothing can ever change you, nor will Paula ever change I am certain, or Cyril; and please remember your children have the benefit of fine parents, not merely as influences—though this counts heavily—but in the matter of heredity.  We believe in them, too, completely.

* * * * *

Some years ago, on one of my trips to the US to collect these letters, I spent some time in New York City and took the opportunity to try to locate the Benjamin Franklin Hotel.  I had no difficulty finding the address or a building which looked as though it had been there for well over 50 years, but there was no evidence of the name by which Jack and Evelyn had known it.  The sign on the door proclaimed it as the “Hotel on the Avenue” and the lobby area was stylish and sleek in black and silver.  I asked several of the staff, including a (perhaps junior) manager if they knew what the hotel had been known as before their company took it over:  no one did.  And the name “Benjamin Franklin Hotel” drew not a flicker of recognition.

It was almost as though those 10 years had never happened.