48. Carmel and desperation

Paula and Jigg and the five children remained in Carmel for about 2 years, from their return to the US in July 1959 until August 1961 when they moved to Vermont.  Throughout this period Evelyn bombarded them with weekly letters on a recurrent theme:  why did neither Paula nor Jigg reply to her letters; why did they not acknowledge gifts of books for the children; and why did they not keep her updated with the children’s health, schooling and academic successes? Paula responded every few weeks, citing her busy family life as a reason for not writing more often and assuring Evelyn that everyone was healthy and well:  the following exchange is typical of the hundreds of letters during this period.  The image below is typical of letters during this period, with the limitations of the typewriter keyboard augmented with red ink.

590926

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

The Benjamin Franklin Hotel
February 25th, 1960

Darling Paula,

Please darling give us an inkling of what is the matter that we have as yet no news of you and Jigg and the children for such a time!

We worry about the health of all concerned. Every sort of silence has that effect.

We know Jigg must have a better BETTER JOB where he can have you and the children with him and ENOUGH REAL SALARY FOR ALL YOU SEVEN.

California must abolish a medical stipulation, as it is a form of quackery to insist on it, and is almost sure to prove a cover for ailments caused by war weapons. I don’t say this without having thought it over for a long time. In the present unfortunate condition of the country, no doctor is ever able to do much for a patient unless both doctor and patient have a similar political view, and commercial medicine is more risk than aid.

I don’t know why I have the urge to say this now, but I have and as a general proposal I am sure I am right. SO DON’T ALLOW ANYONE TO BE PESTERED IN THIS WAY, LEAST OF ALL DARLING JIGG WHOM THE US SERVICE DOCTOR CURED ON THE BASIS OF A DIAGNOSIS OF AILMENTS AS DUE TO quackery at home.

May it be that this warning is SUPERFLUOUS, but it is a reminder for you and Jigg that cannot be amiss in the general picture of things.

I wrote you as I had asked the Carmel Postmaster whether you were receiving you mail, and I now have his reply–just arrived. He says to the best of his knowledge you are as mail goes on being delivered to the same address and he hasn’t been advised as to any change. His name his Mr Strong and he has really been quite nice to me, as a stranger. But don’t fail to let me know specifically as soon as you can of any letters or parcels that have not come yet–beginning with Siegel’s poetry and the two books for you and Jigg at Xmas, as soon as you can, darling Paula. The letters about the archives are, also, very important. The Postmaster naturally can’t keep tab on what is sent at my end unless advised, so we must depend on you to help clear that part of it up.

We speak of you and Jigg and the need of the job with better pay where all can be together whenever we can, and meanwhile just hope others are helping too, somehow.

Lovingly to the Scotts

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

March 1, 1960

Dear Evelyn—

You really mustn’t worry when I don’t write—I never was and never will be a good correspondent and a silence only means that I’ve been busy, and nothing more.

The poems arrived, long ago, and the Proust and it seems to be many more books besides which I can’t think of at the moment. I’m in a hurry now, to catch the mailman. I’ll be more detailed next time.

We’re all well and the sea and the hills continue beautiful. It’s spring here and flowers are everywhere. The hills normally black-green with sere slopes are now emerald and black-green.

Love to Jack, and to you.
Paula

 * * * * *


During these months Evelyn, unable to comprehend that someone might choose not to reply to any letter from her, continued to press the Post Office for reassurances that her letters were being delivered.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Post Office Department
San Francisco Regional Office
79 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco 5, Calif

March 30, 1960

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

This refers to our letter of March 14, 1960, and your communications of March 16 and March 19 regarding the delivery of mail to Mr and Mrs Creighton S Scott at Route 2, Box 412, Carmel, California.

The Postmaster at Carmel has again contacted Mrs Scott, who stated that she believes that all mail you have sent her has been received. The postmaster is of the opinion that apparently they have not had time to answer their mail.

In the future, if you believe that a particular piece of mail has not been received, it is suggested that you file a tracer Form 1510 at your local post office.

Sincerely yours,
Spiro B Rafalovich
Postal Installations Manager

* * * * *

Evelyn had another reason to berate others when Cyril died in September 1960, and the New York Herald Tribune published an obituary which referred only to his original name and made no reference to his relationship with Evelyn or his change of name to Cyril Kay Scott.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, the obituary prompted an outburst from Evelyn over perceived inaccuracies and, perhaps deliberately, involved Jigg.

* * * * *

Dr F C Wellman Is Dead; Distinguished in 3 Fields

Chapel Hill, NC, Sept (AP):  Dr Frederick Creighton Wellman, ninety, father of two authors and himself distinguished in medicine, literature and art, will be buried here after an Episcopal funeral service tomorrow.  Dr Wellman died yesterday in Memorial Hospital after an illness of several weeks.

Born near Independence, Mo, he received his medical degree at Kansas City Medical Hospital and went to Portuguese West Africa as a medical missionary with his wife and infant son Paul.

Years later, Paul Wellman wrote a number of best-selling novels.  The other author-son is Manly Wade Wellman, of Chapel Hill.

Studied, Explored

In his thirteen years in Africa, Dr Wellman established two hospitals, explored then little-known parts of the African interior and made extensive studies of tropical diseases, flowers and insects.

Returning to this country, he held the chair of tropical medicine at Tulane University, New Orleans, and then went to Brazil for further exploration and research.

Returning to the States, he wrote numerous short stories and four novels.  Later he became distinguished in art, particularly as a water colorist.  He won several prizes in French exhibitions.

He established schools of art in El Paso, Tex; Santa Fe, NM; and Denver, Colo, and became dean of the College of Fine Arts at Denver University.

Discovered Insect Species

As a medical man he announced two new clinical entities in tropical diseases and discovered numerous new species of insects and other causative agents of diseases.  He contributed more than 150 brochures and articles to medical literature.

His autobiography, Life is Too Short, published in 1941, told much of his diverse and adventurous life.

Surviving, besides Paul I and Manly Wade Wellman, are two other sons, Dr Frederick J Wellman and Creighton Wellman, a daughter, Mrs Alice Wellman Harris, eight grand-children and eight great-grand-children.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

September 14, 1960

Darling Creighton Seeley Scott, my good son,

I wrote to the Herald-Tribune a letter I ask to have published, correcting the reference to you in Cyril’s obituary as “Creighton Wellman” and explaining that Fredrick Creighton Wellman’s change of name to Cyril Kay Scott which began his art careers of novelist and painter was legal and permanent, having been effected by recorded documented usage. Both your father’s major interests represent, as you know, achievement, and that was conceded in the obituary. But we cant have any more misconstructions about the legality of the name Scott. There are many examples of such changes accepted under American Law Constitutional, and the two examples we all know are James Marshall’s celebrated ancestor and Charles Madison, the author, who was once and for years Holt’s textbook editor. Dad’s completed years and years ago.

Our love all the time, darling son Jigg,
Mother

Cyril had achieved more in science as Fredrick Creighton Wellman than the paper gave him credit for. His degrees, as you may remember, were several medical and scientific and he was a member of the Linnaean Society.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

New York Herald Tribune
230 West 41st Street, New York 36

October 5, 1960

Dear Mr Scott:

In the Associated Press account of the death of your father, Dr Frederick C Wellman, printed in the Herald Tribune and other newspapers on September 6, your name was listed among other surviving members of the family as Creighton Wellman.

Your mother, Mrs Evelyn Scott, has written to say that your legal name is Creighton Seeley Scott, and that it should have been listed so. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, all newspapers use Associated Press copy as received, in good faith.

If the name as printed actually was erroneous and its appearance in the obituary in that form was embarrassing to you, we would consider setting the record straight. I would like to point out, however, that the story appeared a month ago.

Sincerely yours
RICHARD G WEST,
City Editor

* * * * *

To Richard West

Mr Richard West
City Editor, The HERALD-TRIBUNE
New York City

October 9, 1960

Dear Mr West,

This is in answer to your letter of October 5.

I have no idea what Evelyn Scott wrote you, but she did not do so with my knowledge. She has been of unsound mind for years, and the fact is notorious.

I read the Associated Press obituary about my father, Dr F C Wellman, carefully It seemed clear and well-written as obituaries go, and the errors it contained were too trivial to mention and probably not the fault of AP.

If I had found it objectionable, I would have objected, which I have not done and don’t intend to do. I make no complaints, require no retractions or corrections from the Herald-Tribune or anybody else, or that the record be put straight, as you offer to do, in any way. I am content with things as they are.

It’s a pity you were inconvenienced, for you must be a busy man, but you should know that I decline absolutely all responsibility for what Evelyn Scott does or says, or attributes to me.

If she continues to write to you, as seems likely, the best person to get in touch with is her husband, Mr John Metcalfe, who may or may not be able to make her stop. There is nothing I can do.

Very truly yours,
Creighton Scott

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

New York Herald Tribune
230 West 41st Street, New York 36

October 12, 1960

Dear Mr Scott:

Thank you for your courteous letter. I was sorry to trouble you, for I had supposed that you had seen the obituary and would have been the first to object if an error had been committed. But Evelyn Scott was becoming rather importunate, and it seemed best to have the matter settled by the person most concerned.

We shall take your advice if any more letters are received.

Sincerely yours
RICHARD G WEST,
City Editor

* * * * *

To Fred Strong

Mr Fred Strong,
Postmaster,
Carmel, California

December 8, 1960

Dear Mr Strong,

This letter is intended to save you embarrassment and annoyance if possible, and to make it easier for you to explain matters to your superiors should my mother, Evelyn Scott, harass you as she did once before and carry her complaints to the Postmaster General again.

Unhappily she has been of unsound mind for the past twenty years or so, and her mania consists of believing that I should abandon my wife and my children, of which there are five—one in college, one of military age and a third in high school, the other two in grade school.

She has suggested at various times how they could be disposed of and my step-father, the responsible person in her case, will not or cannot keep her quiet. While I was in Indo-China with the State Department she wrote about a letter a week to my various chiefs, to the Ambassador to Vietnam, and finally to John Foster Duller, Eisenhower, and various others.

You will certainly hear from her and, when you cannot do what she asks, from whichever higher authority she decides to appeal to. In answering their inquiries or criticism you may feel free to use this letter in any way you think fit.

I apologise for the embarrassment you were caused once before, which I could not prevent, and I hope you will be spared any more. However, this letter should make it easy to explain.

Sincerely yours,
Creighton Scott

* * * * *

During the months after their return from Saigon Jigg was taking stock of the damage to his life inflicted by his mother, and considering ways of silencing her letter-writing and restoring some self-respect by once again finding gainful employment.  His years of achievement in radio news should have stood him in good stead but, as the following letters describe, Evelyn had maligned his character and politics to such an extent that anyone who enquired into his background felt he was too risky a prospect.

Jigg’s campaign to resstore his  reputation involved two long-standing and loyal friends of his mother’s:  May Mayers, her physician and Margaret DeSilver, who had, in spite of misgivings, organised the Evelyn Scott Fund to bring Evelyn and Jack back to the United States. 

* * * * *

To May Mayers

December 9, 1960

Dear May Mayers

As you still seem to feel a concern for my mother, and as I shall be forced to take steps concerning her, I solicit your suggestions, if you care to make any.

During the war, when she stayed briefly with us in New Jersey, she had a sort of psychic explosion which expressed itself in squeezing open the mouth of my baby son and spitting into it because she had the ‘flu and she wanted him to have it too; smashing various things around the house; waking me up every half hour so I would be too tired to go to work, in the hope, she said, that I would lose my job and my present marriage would founder economically. This was just the preliminary, and as I refused to have anything to do with her since then, except for an unwise forty-eight hour visit in London in 1949, she has taken to writing letters for lack of anything better.

The letter writing has been going on since 1944. She wrote when I was working at NBC, high officials of ABC when I was there, to my chiefs at CBS and WOR, and to the powers that be at Radio Free Europe when I was in Munich, to John Foster Dulles, Hollister, and even Eisenhower when I was in Saigon; and latterly she has been carrying on a long correspondence with the Postmaster General and various others to try and discover where I am now working. During the four years I was in Indo-China she wrote letters, all plausible, to various persons she believed to hold some kind of authority over me, including several who owed their position to the late Senator McCarthy, at the rate of about 60 per year.

All these letters, since 1944 have said the same thing: (a) that I am so high strung and effeminate the work I am doing, whatever it is, is too much for me and (b) that I am under the influence of nameless, sinister political forces, which have alienated me from her. Last year abut forty of these were produced as evidence of my unreliability before a sub-committee of the House Foreign Relations Committee, in an effort to offset evidence I had given concerning the failure of a foreign aid project, by attempting to prove that (a) I was mentally deranged and (b) that I probably have un-American tendencies. She also writes to the FBI, and I have been continually under investigation by this agency since 1945.

In addition to stressing my frailty and my thrall to nameless un-American influences, she plays on the Forsaken Mom theme in the most disgusting way I have ever heard of; and of the 128 letters she wrote to the State Department about me between 1955 and 1957, the four I was allowed to see in part all ended with requests that I should not be allowed to read them for fear it might “upset” me.

I discovered that I was fired from Radio Free Europe as a political risk because of her, and from the International Cooperation Administration for a similar reason. She managed to suggest to him by the ambiguity of her words that I had Negro blood which had gotten into the family strain during my father’s residence in Africa. I know this doesn’t make sense, but sense is not necessary to bigots. In letters to one of my chiefs in Saigon she stated as a matter of known fact that my wife (Paula Pearson, whom you must remember) was a former prostitute, which became current throughout the Foreign Aid organization within a matter of weeks, without my being able to discover the source until more than two years later.

Quite apart from that, in this age of organizational fanaticism, when every personnel department maintains a species of Gestapo, in constant liaison with others all over the country, I find it impossible to get a job. I have not worked for more than a year, since I left the ICA in Washington; and although there have been many promising overtures, all prospects fade as soon as my references are checked by a prospective employer. Eighteen years with the four major radio networks and several more in responsible positions overseas are thus made nugatory by my mother’s selfish mania. In 1949, in London, I protested to my mother about what she had already done in the way of writing letters, or tried to, but she replied that I merely did not understand, and that it was all for my own good. She also counselled me to ditch my wife and children as unworthy of me, because they hampered my literary career. I should not have to point out that I have had no literary career.

Where she is sane or not she is ruthless, and I have had enough. The question that bothers me is this: she is supposed to have some kind of heart disease (so do I, with cholesterol deposits around my eyes and electrocardiograms that I have to hush up to keep my jobs) and she says she will drop dead from the shock if my wife discontinues writing or withholds various information I don’t think she should be trusted with.

Is this true? I personally doubt it. What I propose to do is not merely cut off all communication, but apply through the courts eventually, when I can afford it, to have her locked up.

As you are a doctor, and very wise besides, I would be grateful for any light you can cast on the subject. I apologise for bothering you.

Sincerely,
Jigg Scott

I’d prefer for the time being that Jack be kept out of this.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

May R Mayers MD
214 East 18th Street
New York 3, NY

December 12, 1960

Dear Jig:

Your letter arrived this morning together with a great blizzard here in NY and that was a proper setting for it. Yours is the most distressing news I have heard in I don’t know how long. So I am answering at once.

I have been in close touch with your mother ever since she and Jack arrived in New York. She has lost most of her friends, as I understand, and succeeds in antagonizing everyone. Because of my intimate knowledge of her medical state, and for old times sake, I have refused to be offended with anything she says, and I have been able to keep her heart more or less stabilized with appropriate medication. As far as her heart is concerned, I advise you not to worry about it. Her attacks of hypertension and angina come on as a response to emotional stress, primarily–tho she cannot, of course, go in for any amount of physical exertion either.

I have given a lot of serious thought to your letter since it arrived, and to the highly complex problems which you raise. I have only one possible suggestion as to how I might possibly be of any assistance to you in the matter–and, in all probability, this suggestion may be quite futile. If you have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to tell me. If there is anything whatever that I can do, I would want to do it.

My thought is to write you a letter on my medical stationery, telling of my long years of friendship with your mother; of the fact that I have been taking care of her medical problems since she has been in New York, and that I understand her mental condition very well indeed; that no one should be influenced by anything she writes–something along those lines.  A medical letter along those general lines might be of no use to you. On the other hand, it might be worth a try.

My best to you and your family.
As ever May

PS: I want to add that I remember Paula very well indeed, and that I was so impressed with her, I have often held her up as an example of an unusually charming, and capable, person.

* * * * *

To May Mayers

December 15, 1960

Dear May Mayers,

I realize I must have distressed you unnecessarily by being abrupt, for which I apologize, all the more so because I have been reading about the blizzard, one of the few things that has reconciled me to California, a mad place as you may have heard.

I gratefully accept your offer to write a letter that would make it easier to explain my predicament, but I prefer to leave its composition to you, for I would not know how to begin it. If you will just state the medical facts as you see them, and address it to me, I can have it photostated if necessary.

I don’t think, however, that such a document can do much to retrieve my affairs after the seventeen or eighteen years of my mother’s letter writing now past and all the confusion, suspicion and misunderstanding she has brought about; and what I am trying to think of, is some way of preventing her from doing any more. One difficulty is that I don’t know how many she has written, or to whom. I have given the local postmaster a letter of my own, explaining the case, because he has to be able to defend himself and she complained very strongly about his dilatoriness in answering her to the Postmaster General of the United States. It almost got the poor man fired, when all he said was that the letters she had written probably had reached their destination. She was sure that he, too, was the subject of malign influences, because he wouldn’t do anything to make me write, or move from California.

I only get occasional clues, like the ones I mentioned. One was a letter from George West, the City Editor of the New York “Herald Tribune”, to whom she had written saying that the Associated Press obituary of my father wrongly gave my name as Wellman instead of Scott, and that I complained. West was very civil and offered to publish a correction, and I had to write him and say that in my opinion she was out of her head and that I did not require any correction. The relevant fact here is that she said nothing about her own objections, it was I on whose behalf she was writing.

Another clue I have is a letter I never saw, written to the Hon Elbridge Durbrow, the US Ambassador to Vietnam, in which she appears to have said that I was very unhappy in Saigon but did not dare to say so, and that she was therefore interceding to have me transferred to a suitable climate. Apart from the fact that I was anything but unhappy and had not written her for years, we all enjoyed being there and my wife told her so repeatedly. As I say, I never saw the letter, but Durbrow asked me why I felt I had to be so devious when I wanted a transfer, and obviously didn’t believe me which I said I didn’t. He also read me a little lecture on (a) my filial duty and (b) my patriotic obligations, from which I infer that the letter cast doubts on my sincerity in both.

I know that the material in the ones read by my Washington superior to the congressional sub-committee I mentioned had such an effect the chairman ordered them eliminated from the printed record, which notes this fact. However, I still don’t know what the letters contain.

The truth of the matter is that I don’t know where I stand–it’s like one of those bomb scares they have in New York, you never know where or when the next one will go off.

The few friends I have mentioned my problems to all say she obviously doesn’t know how much harm she is doing, but I wonder. The letters must be very plausible, or they would not make such a bad impression. She started writing them long ago, when she was obviously much more herself than she is now. And though I used to protest, she has always taken the position that my opinions in the matter need not be considered. At first this was because I didn’t really mean what I said–it wasn’t the “real me” speaking–and later it was because of these intangible malevolent influences she thinks are abroad.

What it boils down to is that she will not concede anybody’s right to live his own life, and never has. Psychiatrists must have a word for it. If somebody were to tell me they wanted no more to do with me, that would be the end of that, and it has happened. But apparently nobody can keep my mother from meddling. I don’t know just why or how God bestowed on her this special authority over fellow humans, or some of them, but it seems to amount to a sort of divine right and always has.

One of the puzzles to me is Jack, whose predicament must have been a nightmare for years, and who has been compelled, one after the other, to give up his friends, his ambitions, his hopes and his peace of mind. When I last saw him in London he was hopelessly dejected and more pessimistic that I had ever expected to find him, and I can only guess what he feels like now.

I don’t suppose all this is relevant to anything, but it’s a relief to get it off my chest. As far as practical matters go, my mother has overplayed her hand. Up to the present she has been able to blackmail me–or rather, Paula–into keeping up some kind of correspondence, by the implied threat of even more fluent letter writing than usual, with more fascinating innuendo in each letter, for all that I know. Now that I am subsisting more or less from day to day, thanks to the charity of a few and the beneficence of a paternal government, there is absolutely nothing she can do she hasn’t done already, and so I planned to end the correspondence once and for all. If it drives her over the edge, it will be regrettable, but better than driving one of my children over the edge. She already has the name of my daughter’s college, and I suppose she could find out who my son’s commanding officer was if she tried hard enough, but maybe it won’t go that far.

I apologize very humbly for burdening you with all this, May; and I must say we admire your forbearance and good sense more than we can say. I hope I shall have friends as faithful and disinterested as you have been to my mother, without many thanks that I remember hearing about. If it’s any consolation we think you are a trump and Paula thinks so too.

If the costs and complications are not huge, I might be able to borrow the money sooner than I could earn it–it would be worth going into debt to breathe more easily. I may sound heartless, but I feel desperate.

Please accept my thanks and Paula’s, which are sincere. The kids would be grateful too, if they knew what was at stake; but we try to keep them from being troubled by such matters.

Sincerely,
C Scott

* * * * *

To Paula and Creighton Scott

December 26, 1960

Dear Jig and Paula:

I will try to answer both your letters together. I agree that the matter which is most urgent, at the moment, is to protect your children. You certainly must be proud of the wonderful record being made by Denise. Actually, Evelyn has told me with great pride about Denise, her scholarship etc. She is–at least outwardly–as far as I can see, most anxious to keep the flimsy thread of communication open between you. I believe that it would be a strategic error to discontinue writing to her. That would in all probability, in my opinion, upset her so much more than at present, that one would merely increase the unpleasant things she might do. I do not think anyone can stop her letter writing, not even I. But I believe that it should be possible to write her without disclosing in any way where the children are of what they are doing. It is too bad that she knows where Denise is at college. She had better not learn anything more.

As to your proposal to try to commit Evelyn, I can assure you that she is far too lucid in conversation to make such a thing possible–quite regardless of expense. I have seen people try to commit persons many times, and I can assure you that it would never work in Evelyn’s case. It takes two psychiatrists to form an opinion in such a matter, and I have seen persons far less lucid than Evelyn, and actually incoherent, fail to meet with psychiatrists’ concepts of grounds for commitment. As you must realize, every precaution surrounds a matter such as this. Otherwise all kinds of people would find themselves committed, with lack of personal liberty, just because someone with money or influence wants to get rid of them. There is no use your borrowing money or using your own to this end. You will not succeed.

I have tried to formulate a letter, such as I suggested, which you can show, indicating that one must not believe everything Evelyn writes. But beyond saying this to you her, there is nothing I can write on my medical stationery which would not be disclosing what is regarded as confidential medical information between doctor and patient. And, anyway, as you say such a letter would not be of much use to you. So I have decided to do nothing more on that score.

I believe that the best of many unsatisfactory alternatives, is for Paula to continue writing–providing no information whatever about the whereabouts of any of the children–and perhaps, threatening to discontinue writing if any more letters are written by Evelyn that come to your attention. I know she does not want Paula to discontinue her letters. So this is something of a handle. I wish there was something further that I could suggest.

My best to you both
May

Incidentally, Jack and Evelyn seem to be getting on very well these days. He has a tutoring job which keeps him very busy, and they have social security.

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

December 30, 1960

Dear Margaret

The accompanying carbon of my letter to Dr Mayers will explain itself and help clarify what I write below, but before I go on, I request most urgently that you refuse any request from my mother for money to travel out here. If she were to turn up in California, I would have no choice but to petition the State Lunacy Commission to lock her up, which Dr Mayers says is not legally feasible. I would have to try, anyway, using as evidence letters I have in which my mother tells of a powerful electronic device that is being used to brainwash me; and the mess would be calamitous.

As will see from the carbon, I was in bad company in Saigon, which was crammed with the kind of men the State Department preferred after Dulles and McCarthy put their stamp on it. Nobody who has not lived in the atmosphere these men created can imagine what it was like, and the fact is that the Americans in Indo-China were so busy suspecting each other of something nameless they had no time for their work.

Ever since I left the foreign aid organization Winfield (the man my mother wrote to in Washington—see carbon) has had all requests from my prospective employers for information on my background referred to him; and the result has been that my name has become mud. Time and again I have been on the verge of going to work only to have the job fall through at the last moment, and in several cases I know it to be because of a bad reference from Winfield.

Believe me, my testimony to the congressmen had nothing to do with my being fired. All I complained abut was four years of delay that put us in the ill graces of the Vietnamese, but the other witnesses—and the damned newspapers—put so much stress on the waste of money you would have thought that was the only consideration. I was fired before I came home, and my mother’s letters were the reason, plus the fact that my opinions are on the liberal side. I was not even allowed to stay in Saigon an extra week to help my family pack, and they came home after me.

The result is that my wife, my children and I are as close to starvation as we are ever likely to be, and getting closer daily, despite the affluence of the society we live in. Since I have no boss my mother can write to, I am taking advantage of my temporary immunity from her attentions to cut the tie with her for once and for all. In her answer to my letter, Dr Mayer said that my mother’s heart ailment is not serious; and this has so far been the only thing holding me back from a final break.

Although I do not have a college degree or even a high school diploma, I am literate and published one (bad) novel. I am bilingual in French and English, and have a smattering of Spanish and Portuguese.

You must know someone who could give me a hand., All the jobs I have had in the past I got without any influence or intercession of anyone, on the basis of my own record—not an easy matter for a man with no education. I am as near to being desperate as I will ever be, and even the rather meagre bounty of the social workers will be running out one of these days.

I can come to New York by ‘bus if necessary; which will mean selling my typewriter and a few other things. But the job need be neither lavish nor important. Just so long as it keeps us all alive.

Please, if you know of anyone who might help me, give me an introduction. Above all, don’t mention this to my mother or give her the money to come out here.

Sincerely

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

December 31, 1960

Dear Mother,

I have your last letter, suggesting I send you my working address, so that you can write to me there.

I have no such address, I have no job, and if I did I would not tell you anything about it, because the experience of the past fifteen years has taught me that sooner or later you would write to my employer with the object of having me fired, as you have done hundreds of times in the past.

I remember vividly the promise you made to me in Tappan, during the war, that you would do everything you could to make sure my marriage and my family would founder economically, so that I could come back to you, like a pet poodle dangling on the end of an umbilical cord instead of a leash. A good many of those to whom you wrote believed, as you presumably intended, that they had been warned by a patriotic mother about the treasonable tendencies of a wayward son; and this sort of innuendo has cost me job after job, year after year. Thanks mainly to you, I find myself in middle age without work, without prospects, and an object of suspicion to everyone who might hire me.

Because of your perseverance in blackening my name, we are poor. The education I might have given my children is beyond my reach, and I have no doubt whatever that you would do whatever you could to revenge yourself on them as the opportunity arose. But then I remember very well how–during that same wartime visit to Tappan–you spat into my baby son Frederick’s mouth because, you said, you had the ‘flu and you hoped he would get it and die.

The one bright spot in the situation, as I see it, is that you have overplayed your hand. Hitherto we have been at the mercy of whatever slander about us you thought fit to spread, and Paula has kept up with a correspondence she finds nauseating solely in the hope of preventing you from writing worse things about us to even greater numbers of strangers. It never worked; and now that you have done your worst, there is nobody left to whom you can malign me, no method of coercion you can use, nothing whatever you can do to force either one of us to write or do anything you ask.

The only namely sinister influence in our lives has been you, and you know it. I have gone to the bestially unfilial extreme of refusing to abandon a wife and five children, not because I am being brainwashed by some mysterious electronic device, as you insist, but simply because I see no reason to make six people wretched merely to please your diseased vanity. There is no such device, as you know perfectly well, and my troubles arise mainly from your refusal to admit that I have a right to live my own life without placing your engorged ego before all other considerations.

This is the last time any of us will write, except to notify you of a death in the family.

Good-bye.
Your son

* * * * *

To Jack Metcalfe

December 31, 1960

Dear Jack

I have written to my mother terminating the correspondence once and for all. I appreciate that this makes things difficult for you, and that the brunt of whatever hysterics I bring about will fall on you. I am sorry, but I have had enough.

What you probably do not realize, although she undoubtedly does, is that the letters she has been writing to my superiors and employers for the last 15 years or so inevitably have cost me my jobs, and that the cumulative effect is now such that nobody will hire me. I know there have been hundreds of such letters, and the ones I have been permitted to see all said I was the helpless tool of nameless, sinister influences–a sort of zombie who could not be trusted with any responsible job.

The result at present is that I am without a job, on the brink of starvation, and that my family must undergo severe hardships–all because of my mother’s letter writing. Nobody will hire me because her letters are still in the personnel files of every company I have ever worked for.

I used to think she was merely irresponsible, but having thought it over I have decided this is not correct. I believe her motives are nothing more than vengeful jealousy toward my wife and my children, which she took no trouble to conceal when she visited us in Tappan, during the war, and demanded that I abandon them altogether and at once as unworthy of me.

I have now fallen so low there is absolutely nothing whatever she can do to me, and so I am taking full advantage of my (at least temporary) invulnerability to coercion to break things off once and for all.

I have written her the most brutally forthright letter I was able to compose, in the hope that it will penetrate the thick layers of complacency, and absolute contempt for the opinions and welfare of everybody else in the world, that protect her from her own conscience and my reproaches.

As far as I can see her present frame of mind is the result of a life-long belief that nothing whatever matters excepting the means of gratifying her own ego. Her attitude toward my wife and my family is absolutely ruthless and what she has done would not be tolerated at the hands of any stranger. Not only will Paula not write again, but neither will I; and these two letters, one to you and one to her, are the last communications to be expected from any of us.

If she will not listen to any explanations, you might point out to her that things might not have gone this far if she had been willing to abstain from slandering me to my employers, in the hope of depriving me and mine of our bread and butter–as she obviously intended. However, the thing has gone too far, a point of no return has been reached; and there is no appeal.

If she were to have the bad taste to come here, to expostulate with me in person, I would have her locked up in the State Insane Asylum at Napa; I would have no other choice, and some of her letters (saved with the possible need in mind) would, I think, convince even the most sceptical she is dangerous. Paula and I would be prepared to testify that she showed herself to be violent and malevolent toward the children.

Sorry. Good luck to you.
Your stepson,

* * * * *

To May Mayers

December 31, 1960

Dear May Mayers,

I have your letter of the 26th December, and we see the force of your arguments up to a point. What you advise, however, means submitting indefinitely to the same kind of misery, as long as my mother feels inclined to hound us.

Your letter did one thing to clear up my own ideas, however; and after reading it carefully I realize that any woman who is not sick enough to be restrained must also be in good enough health to stop meddling in other people’s lives. If she can write such plausible letters and converse—as you point out—so coherently, then she is obviously of sufficiently sound mind to face the facts of the case. I realize that this is not what you said, but it is what I infer from the facts as a whole: please don’t think I am trying to give your words an interpretation you did not mean.

As I interpret your statement of the case, there is no help to be expected from any quarter, and the sole prospect of obtaining any peace lies in precipitating the worst crisis I can devise. I most certainly decline to go on this way for the rest of her life, and my children should not be asked to sacrifice their own interests to please the vanity of an egomaniac—as she is certain to require of them, sooner or later.

Accordingly I have written her the most brutally candid letter I could phrase, in the hope that it will penetrate the veneer that protects her from her own conscience and any other consideration except having things her own way. Now that I know that her heart condition is not serious, she can threaten to drop dead as much as she likes without my being disturbed., Apart from being unwilling to be the cause of heart failure I have no feelings about her except dislike; and I am convinced that vengeful jealousy toward Paula and my children underlies all she does, in spite of what she says in her letters to Paula.

I am sorry I got you into this, May, even to this slight extent. I realize that your position as an old friend of my mother’s must tie your hands in many ways, and Paula and I are grateful for your good will. My mother’s most recent letter, in reply to one from Paula saying the correspondence was over, mentions that she may write to my daughter’s college and wants my business address. As I told you, I am out of work and in straits; and I propose to take advantage of the fact that no more harm can be done to me, to start the crisis straight away. I have taken precautions to warn the college.

Many thanks for your interest in the matter, and good luck to you.
Sincerely

 

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

January 6, 1961

Dear Paula,

You will see the letter1 I have written Jigg. Do know that whenever you both feel like writing again we would be delighted.

We hope you will all think better of the situation. With us, you two and the children mean much. I have never seen you, or them, and hoped to do so some time.

The idea of Evelyn as an intentional destroyer of what does mean so much to her is ludicrous. What nightmare has afflicted you?

My interest in you-all is natural and unborrowed. I would quite spit on any profession of amiability that didn’t spring of itself.

So here’s hoping
Jack

1 This letter has not survived.

* * * * *

Sadly for Jigg, the story does not end here. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

46. The search moves to Saigon

The Scott family remained in the Hotel Chelsea for a year, during which time Jigg found a new job, this time in the newsroom of the Mutual Broadcasting Corporation.  In the summer of 1953 the family moved to Spring Valley, New York, whence Jigg commuted to New York City.  After some three years iin this position, he secured a politically important post with the United States State Department: he was to go to Vietnam (this was not long after the French colonial administration was ousted in 1953) and support the new Vietnamese authorities in establishing the newsroom for the newly-created Radio Vietnam. The family left to join Jigg, who had been in Saigon for a few months, in October 1955.

There is absolutely no evidence that Evelyn ceased her prolific letter-writing after 1953, in spite of the fact that only nine letters written in 1954 have survived and none at all from 1955 have been found.  The likeliest explanation is that Jack, severely grief-stricken after her death in 1963, destroyed many of her papers as he could not bear to see anything she had written, and that letters from these years were among his first targets.

* * * * *

The correspondence from 1956 opens with a fat 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. The envelope contained the following letter.

To Creighton Scott

Benjamin Franklin Hotel
April 2, 1956

Letter to Creighton Seely Scott, to be preserved with the Will of his mother, Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe, author Evelyn Scott and 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.

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 Robert1, 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 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. 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.

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.

[The second page and all subsequent pages are signed] Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalf Evelyn Scott Mother Grandmother

This fact will emerge publicly with time, even though we have been helpless to bring suits for libel, or to counteract wrong impressions. But I am sure the wrong impressions will be counteracted whether liars wish it to be or not; and how tired of the entire theme you both must be. That is why Escapade should be re-published as the barest justice to us all. It was written and published in a far more human world than that of today; and should long since, after three re-issues already, have been taken for granted as an autobiographical classic; on of the several possible antidotes to the prevalence of mob dictation. Life Is Too Short should be revised by Cyril, and re-issued with other serious books by him.

I may seem to be taking “too much” on myself, but I know full well, having a good memory, that I am articulating your own inner longings. What your present views on religion [are], I do not know, but I do know that people—individuals—with unusual real minds can never be satisfied with what goes for “religious” in a world politicized as this one is. Religion as a herd movement merits merely contempt, and surely the time will come when sincere and thoughtful humans like yourselves can say so and offend no one whose opinion is worthy of respect.

Mother

[The envelope also contained a 15-page, single-spaced, account of Evelyn’s life from her childhood to her “elopement” with Cyril to Brazil and through the war to the (then) present day.]

1Robert, Jigg and Paula’s fifth child, was born in 1953.

* * * * *

To Employee Relations Officer, ICA

[June, 1956]

Personal
Miss Betty L Roth,
Employee Relations Officer
Office of Personnel
International Cooperation Administration
Washington, 25, To DC

Dear Miss Roth,

Can you, perhaps, give me any present information on the health and well-being of my son, Creighton Seely Scott?, his wife, and their five children, in Saigon?

Of course I am always hoping to have letters, but on March 15th I received a second cable from my daughter-in-law, Paula Pearson Scott, fro Saigon, in which she said “illness prevented letter”; and, although the cable gave me some measure of reassurance in that somebody in the family was able to send it, no letter has come since, either, and, naturally I am anxious.

On January 18th, 1956, I mailed you a letter respecting my need to know the permanent address of my son and his wife and their children, in the USA. You did not send it to me; and having, therefore, gathered that you did not know it, I—because I really require it for placing in the safety-deposit with the Will I have recently made that more formally affirms the content of a letter I gave my son in 1944 before I went to England to be near my second husband John Metcalfe Metcalfe with an E—a double has appeared without a reviewer!, during his service in the RAF, and which appoints him and his stepfather as my literary executors—I had already asked Mr Francis Knight, the Director of the Passport Office of the Department of State, whether my daughter-in-law, on departing for travel abroad, had filed her permanent address with him.

I don’t know what else I could have done in the total absence of anyone from whom I could obtain the address here at home. But I especially would like to have you aware of this, for Mr Knight replied to my letter in a manner indicating that he must have gone to some trouble for me, belated though his answer seemed to me after several months. It came to me a few days ago, and he says he himself wrote to Foreign Operations I did not mention to Mr Knight what service my son was in, not having been told whether I should or notevidently on the mistaken assumption that I did not even know where Creighton Seely Scott was abroad; a natural error I suppose, as I complained of the apparent impossibility of receiving answers to my letters.

I am sorry I feel obliged to bring this up, again; and am as obliged as ever both to you and to Mr Knight for having done as much as you have toward relieving my mind.

I don’t know what to do, and have been rather ill lately, again, in consequence, perhaps, of my distress; and though I have now sent 31 letters to my son—for his wife and the five children, too—to Saigon, illness, here, too, has “prevented” the writing of some things. The quotation marks are corroboration let me add. There has been not a word said of my five grandchildren since before my daughter-in-law sailed—long before—as in the two letters I received just before her departure, after a lengthy gap between, she did not mention them. Nor does Mr Knight—though I judge they were included with their mother on her Passport.

In a few years it will be seven years since that five day glimpse of my son in London, of which I have written you already. We have always been—I cannot say it too often—an affectionate congenially-minded family, yet, since 1945, over and over, whenever we attempt either renewed contact or improved communication, “something happens”.

Are any of my family ill I? Perhaps only you can answer that. I am not blind to my long letters as not in the official scheme of life. But, again, what am I do do? Not even my legal friend and advisor has been able to suggest anything to re-establish normal interchanges between us all.

Three months is a long time to a mother who has been anxious for fourteen years at frequent intervals—the London visit the only respite.

I hope I have not troubled you too much, but do please know that I am not being prolix, merely.

Sincerely, with reiterated thanks for your every kindness. Should Creighton Seely Scott and his family leave Saigon, I do indeed trust your goodness to let me be advised.

Evelyn Dunn Scott Metcalfe

* * * * *

To Personnel Officer, Radio Free Europe

January 7, 1957

Personal
Miss Betty Allen
care Personnel Department
Free Europe
110 West 57th Street
NY, NY

Dear Miss Allen,

Again, Creighton Seely Scott’s mother, is turning up “like the bad penny”, though the same grateful sentiments that have persisted since I first talked to you on the telephone about my son’s address and his family’s in March 1953. May I, also, again, be forgiven for asking your advice?

I am writing, today, to Mr Thomas E Myers, who was the Director of Free Europe Personnel in 1955, August, hoping he is still with you, for he was then kind indeed in letting me know my son had been posted to Saigon, Viet-nam; and though Creighton, actually, was posted there in July, 1955, it was due to Mr Myers that I learned which Department in Washington to write to to obtain his mailing address, and that of my daughter-in-law, Paula Scott, who accompanied him there shortly, with the grandchildren of myself and Mr Cyril Kay Scott, Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert Scott.

I have just written to Mr Myers asking whether it is possible to obtain, also, now any idea as to how lengthy such postings are, and what the probabilities as to guarantees of jobs at home with salaries adequate for the support of a wife and five children; and have reminded him, in making my request, that Creighton Scott is now forty-two; that conditions here, as we see them, make it essential that he continue with Paula Scott and the children, but that the three older children will soon be of an age to choose occupations that may serve as their future means of livelihood and should be orientated to their futures in their own country in the practical sense pertinent to the completion of their educations, good though the schools for American children abroad are said to be.

Mr Myers, quite naturally, cannot be expected to know all about the job question; but I have asked him whether there is anyone in the US Government to whom I might write about this, as the ICA Personnel Officers—I wrote First to Miss Roth, and recently to Miss Hermann—are very genuinely kind, but are non-committal. And it is just in case that Mr Myers has been promoted that I am taking the further liberty of advising you of my letter to him.

I wrote to you and him of the factor of probable libel of myself and my present husband, although I have written letters to both Creighton Scott and Paula Scott, at the rate of two a week, one each, during the entire year and a half since I obtained their addresses, not one letter to Creighton has ever been acknowledged by him, and Paula’s several sweet letters throw no light on whether he has ever had any of mine.

Were she and Creighton, with the children, enabled to return to the USA under normal conditions in which we could all meet, we might assist one another in the predicament of the arts by which we are confronted.  [remainder of letter missing]

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

 

Two Park Avenue
New York 16, New York

January 14, 1957

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

Your recent letter to Mr Myers has been referred to me. I regret that I can give you no advice as to the possibility of Creighton Scott’s return home. I can only suggest that you continue to contact the heads of ICA in Washington.

If you think we may be of any other help to you, please contact us again.

Sincerely yours,
Keith E Kenyon
Assistant to Personnel Director

570719
Entry in Jack’s diary dated July 19, 1957. Note Jack’s neat handwriting on upper left corner.

* * * * *

To Employee Relations Officer, ICA

July 20, 1957

Employee Relations Officer
(in charge of Employee Relations for USOM1, Program Support, Saigon
Office of Personnel
International Cooperation Administration
Washington, 25, DC

PS: Please note that the letters held at Spring Valley PO for over a year and a half had on them return to Evelyn Scott, my name as author, in which much mail still reaches me.

Dear Madame,

In connection with a letter I addressed to Miss Betty Roth over a year ago, which was, in part, about the difficulty I have had ever since the war began, in maintaining correspondence with my son, Mr Creighton Seeley Scott, his wife, Paula Pearson Scott, and his five children and hers (Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert Scott), who have been with USOM, Program Support in Saigon, Viet-nam for the past two years: I have come upon a bit of information which I wish to give you here with, as Miss Jean Hermann, when replying for Miss Roth, kindly supplied me with an address for my son which has, so far, proved useful only for letters written us by my very sweet daughter-in-law.

I received yesterday, July 19th, the 19th 1957, from Spring Valley, NY, four letters which, apparently, have not been tampered with in any overt way, which I had addressed to Mrs Creighton Seeley Scott, at 46 Hampstead Road, Spring Valley, Rockland County, NY, in November and December 1955!!!!

The address is the same to which, prior to Mrs Scott’s departure for Saigon, I had sent letters which she acknowledged in hasty notes, by her herself. The return address above was on the back of each of the four envelopes, which one must suppose have not been much handled, as they are all clean and in good condition. The NY Post Office stamps at the time of mailing are clearly legible, dates etc, but the date of return was legible in its entirety on one letter only, which, however, revealed it as probably the same on all as the time of day of the Spring Valley stamping could be read on the others.

The dates of the original mailings as stamped on the four envelopes—of which I have opened one to be sure the content is intact, and it is—are, respectively, Nov 4th 1955, Nov 25th, 1955, Dec 5th, 1955, Dec 9th, 1955. The NY stamping contains the numeral one or seven by the Post Office station—not blurred but printed with a tail on the one that makes it like a seven or the reverse.

I think this may be significant, not because I did not realize, on obtaining the address of my family in Saigon and receiving a cable from my daughter-in-law, but it may have been the natural thing to notify me of their Saigon address only after they were there, but because of a combination of the one year seven and a half months time period between the mailing of the letters and their return, and the fact that I have not had any letter written or signed by my son himself since Dec 1955, the very month that I fell ill for the first time in my life of a very painful ailment2 first attributed to “heart disease” but later otherwise diagnosed, though not yet cured,

I still write both to him and to my daughter-in-law, sometimes as one and sometimes in a letter each, once a week, USOM, Navy 150, to which my daughter-in-law has added, Program Support, Box 32.

I now realize positively that a Christmas 1955 parcel of a largish illustrated book of Christmas carols and songs must have arrived at Spring Valley NY long after Mrs Scott had left for Viet-nam is unlikely ever to have been sent on, and it was not returned with the letters.

On July 12th, 1957, I addressed, to the “Commander, USOM”—after having written to several people in vain to know whom I should address in connection with possible postings or help toward home jobs—to ask whether there seemed any likelihood of the return of my son and his family to some location where it would be possible for us to see him and them all in person sometimes, as—with the exception of my son’s five days with us in London, 1949—we have not seen any of them since 1944. This was a fairly recent letter, and could have been I conjecture turned over to you. But I am advising you that I wrote because it would seem we are literally pursued by interferers with our mail; something that began when I leaned of the death of my father, the late Seely Dunn of Lynchburg, Va, and at one time of Washington, DC: his death in 1944, and my advice as to this of 1947.

I have never obtained a reply, since we came to NY, 1954, from California, to any letter written to my daughter-in-law’s mother Mrs Joseph Foster at Ranchos de Taos.

Faithfully Yours,

USOM was the acronym for United States Operations Mission, the umbrella for the various aid programs operating in Vietnam.

This may well have been a combination of a heart condtition and the early stages of the lung cancer from which she died in 1963.

3 Although many letters to her older grandchildren have survived, they were never seen by the children: Paula did not pass them on.

* * * * *

570723
Entry in Jack’s diary page for July 23, 1957

To Evelyn Scott

Department of State
Washington
Aug 13, 1957

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

Your letter of July 30, 1957 addressed to Miss Knight and marked for her personal attention has been referred to me for reply.

In the application upon which a passport was issued to your son, Creighton Seeley Scott, on July 19, 1955 he gave as his permanent address in the United States, 46 Hempstead Road, Spring Valley, New York and stated that his wife was residing at that address. This office has no more recent information concerning your son and therefore is not in a position to inform you whether he still considers this address to be his permanent address in the United States.

Sincerely,
Willis H Young
Deputy Director, Passport Office

* * * * *

To Willis  Young

August 14, 1957

Mr Willis H Young
Deputy Director, Passport Office
Department of State, Washington, 25, DC

Dear Mr Young:

Thank you for your letter of July 30th, 1957. I would, of course, have first asked my son’s opinion of the incident of mail held in Spring Valley from 1955 to 1957, as per my letter of July 30th, 1957, but I must remind you that I have not had any letter written and signed by my son, Mr Creighton Seeley Scott since Dec 53, when myself and my husband were Fellows at The Huntington Hartford Foundation, 2000 Rustic Canyon Road, California, and I had just fallen very ill. When my husband and I passed through New York on returning from our eight and a half years in England, I did not have the addresses of my son and my daughter-in-law; and my letters to them announcing our arrival had been returned to us in London, by Free Europe, and on the day before we sailed were received by us there.

A parallel thing happened soon after my sailing for England in 1944; when my son, painter-author for all his adult life, but then a radio news-editor and announcer, also, was conscripted for infantry training, form which he should have been exempted as he had a heart-murmur repeatedly diagnosed since he was ten. My daughter-in-law had to move from Tappan, whence I had proceeded on my own journey; her letters to me about their move were not delivered to me, and not one of my own letters care the Post Office for forwarding were received, bar one; and my own inquiry about this of the Postmaster was never acknowledged by him or her—a Postmistress when I was in Tappan.

On July 20th, i157, I wrote of the mail retained in Spring Valley to the Personnel Officer, ICA Washington. I have had no acknowledgement of my letter. And meanwhile having examined my own personal files very carefully guarded here, I have found there has been taken from them the letters my daughter-in-law wrote me from Spring Valley just before she left there to join her husband in which she enclosed a clipping of an account of a “probe” of some sort—of this more on the back of this page—and said I had been libelled to them as a person who could be summoned to testify about “subversive” activities, and as this was brought up with her husband already 15,000 miles away she was seriously distressed. She was about to travel with 5 children, these my grandchildren, none seen since 1944

The records of every member of the Scott-Metcalfe family are and always were available at the New York Public Library at 42nd St. My son reported an act of intimidation in Radio City when he went there, as radio news editor, to have his news censored during the war; and this report, corroborated by his employers, was written up in the New York Sun by the columnist, and my son’s, name given publicity. [Letter appears to end]

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

August 18, 1957

Darling Son Jigg,

Paula’s sweet note about the continued good health of the family was very good for our health. We hope sometimes my letters are reciprocal in effect, though I have just so much “cheer” to dispense until we have direct contact with you as well as darling Paula, and have some positive hope of seeing all of you once more in the flesh.

I won’t go on repeating about the mail except as something further may come up. We tried both the Long Island Postmaster and the more explicit Spring Valley Postmaster about the mail retained for nineteen months—some may have been yours as well as Paula’s—and no one has yet been willing to write us the name of the man who held it for a time actually illegal, unless Paula had specified he was to keep it for that time, which I think she never did. I consider the withholding of his name the opposite of good faith. Paula was very very upset just before she left on her long journey with the five children, and her letters received by us—all notes but one—showed she was upset and to some extent why. Who took advantage of her to pour libels about us into her ear? Any woman under such conditions would be harried.

I am persistent in trying to get the full and correct explanation because Paula as good as said not to put Evelyn Scott on my letters because of libels of me.

As we are NOT “under a cloud” and have more to say for ourselves as victims of post-war conditions than in any other way, I began then AT ONCE ADDRESSING MY LETTERS on the BACKS TO EVELYN SCOTT, as my name is both yours in part in every legal sense and EVELYN SCOTT is the name I have always signed book contracts and copyrights with during twenty-five years as a published author. My copyrights remember are Jack’s yours and hers for the minor children, in that order with yours and Jack’s first.

I mistakenly supposed I was correcting a misunderstanding as to Hempsted being Hamstead when a casual stranger here, just when I should not have asked lest I be misinformed, told me there was a Hampstead Road in Spring Valley and not a Hempstead. I thereafter wrote to Hampstead, but Paula replied twice to such letters without mentioning my mistake, so I went on in 1955 during Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, when I ceased to write to Spring Valley, as I guessed Paula and the children were already in Saigon—Saigon verified by latter letters.

But the return addresses were clear all along, Evelyn Scott on the letters and Mr and Mrs John Metcalfe and Mrs W J Metcalfe on the parcels. It is fine Paula is now dating her letters. I gather Mirabelle to be the name of the man who kept her mail but the Post Office hasn’t yet admitted it. I wish to find out what because of letters sent without returns on back. This business of threatening people about their jobs is what I suspect. I think it can be proved criminal. That is why I wished specific acknowledgment of meeting Kay Boyle who was unjustly queried about politics of which she knows little, and was exonerated.

Is that what “Mirabell” had a finger in? It shall not go on. My appeal against these [illeg] is for American Defence holding mail is like a threat. Cold British will [illeg] game against all criminal [illeg]

* * * * *

To Willis Young

September 8, 1957

Dear Mr Young,

Would the Department of State be willing to file for me a copy of my birth certificate? I offered one to the very nice Vice-Consul at the American Consulate in London, during my sojourn of 1944-1953 in London, and she thought it would be superfluous to file it there, as my baptismal name was Elsie Dunn, and the Elsie was dropped by me as inappropriate for an author before I was twenty-one and was never used by me on any Passport or other document since I reached my majority, so that Evelyn long ago became my legal name.

I shall hope this can be done without inconvenience to the Department of State. On September 3rd, 1957, I wrote to Miss Knight that my son, Creighton Seeley Scott, was still abroad, and that my daughter-in-law, Paula Pearson Scott, and their children, Denise, Fredrick Wheeler, Mathew, Julia Swinburne and Robert Scott, were shortly due in Carmel, California; and that their address there, route 2, Box 70, was the only American address they could give, as 46 Hempstead Road, Spring Valley, NY, has been dropped as unsatisfactory by all of them. My son is still with USOM, Program Support, USA, and I have written to him and to my daughter-in-law that they are many times welcome to use our address on the heading of this letter as their own, until they are back here when they may prefer another. Mine is theirs in spirit and practically for as long as I live, and my husband shares my sentiments, though he is British. I have, today, received my first news of the arrival of my daughter-in-law and my grandchildren at Carmel, and I shall write to her at once that I hope she can consult my son at long range and that he will agree that my address is more pertinent to Passport Files than Carmel. Whether we can see them in person, again, for the first time since 1944, and my son, in due course, for the first time since 1949, 1949, will depend on financing and other matters in respect to which none of us has been allowed any choice since these separations began, with the war.

I trust you will hear from my family about the address, or that it will be passed on to your office.

Very Sincerely Yours

* * * * *

In September 1957, after Jigg had completed a two-year contract, Paula and the children returned to the United States on the “home leave” afforded to families of those contracted to overseas postings.  As they had no base in the US, Paula called, again, on relatives on her mother’s side and the family were invited to stay with two maiden aunts in Carmel, California, where they remained until returning to Saigon that November. In one of her occasional short notes to Evelyn, Paula must have mentioned this arrangement, although  no correspondence remains.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

September 8, 1957

Creighton Seeley Scott
care Paula Pearson Scott
Route 2, Box 70
Carmel, California

Darling Son Jigg,

Every day and nearly all day I am now thinking of you and Paula, Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia, Robert, and of where and how you and they are.

Until we know you and they are well that your job has been secured here, and that Paula and the children are SAFE and, at last, at the above address, in good health and spirits, letters about other things must wait.

Bless you darling darling Jigg. Never was anyone more loved by his family and this includes myself and Jack, as well as Dad and some others.

You will know our longing to see you increases, and that the fullest human pleasure we can envisage will be to see you with our lovely courageous Paula and the children that are so inextricably a part of our lives, too and look in their pictures so good, bright, lovable—Denise, Fredrick, and Mathew already companionable to their parents in being more mature, and the two youngest a delight as little children of their personality are.

So our book and painting news waits—but we do hope Julia has her little book, as a sign of importances to you, their mother, and us all

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

September 8, 1957

 Darling darling Paula,

Seven letters last week, two and the book parcel the week before, and now three two addressed to you for Jigg for you to read and one for the three eldest children addressed to Denise in your care.

All this matters only because we so need to know yourselves that you are all SAFELY AGAIN IN THE USA, and that yu and blessed Jigg and every one of you are well well WELL, and Jigg soon to be within real reach with job secure.

Everything that matters in other ways matters as much as ever, but we need to sense the presence on homely terra firma of the finest daughter-in-law anyone ever had—one daughter-in-law who is always considered by Jack and me and Jigg’s Dad exactly the wife for the finest of sons.

We often feel as though both of you with the children and Cyril were here in the room, and that we are “visited” in friendly-wise by Manly and Paul I, and by Fredrick, and Alice.

May our envisagements materialize in restored normal living for us all.

Here is admiration with live—but don’t forget knowing you are all safe will relieve a good day of maybe superfluous anxiety. Bless, bless, bless,

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Department of State
Washington
September 17, 1957

Dear Mrs Metcalfe:

After a review of your letter of September 5, 1957 and your previous correspondence addressed to this Department, it is apparent that the problem confronting you, namely your difficulty in receiving your mail, is one properly within the province of the Post Office Department rather than the Department of State which is concerned mainly with the foreign affairs of our country.

It is suggested that you communicate with the Postmaster General, Post Office Department, Washington, DC and present your problem. We feel sure that they can be of service to you in this matter.

Sincerely,
Robert D Johnson
Chief, Legal Division
Passport Office

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

October 3, 1957

Dear Evelyn and Jack—

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written—we’ve been so busy with the beautiful sea, the beautiful hills, and marsh and lovely fresh sunny weather etc, etc, that I have simply let day after day slide by. I’ll answer your accumulation by mail in my next—for now we’re all fine and enjoying our vacation. There is so much to do here that all the kids and I are always busy. Only the girls are going to school—Denise in 11th grade and Julia in first grade (they both love it)—the boys are excused. They have to catch up in Saigon, but now they are revelling in their freedom and making the most of it.

This is all now—love to you both,
Paula

I’ll make a point of writing again, soon. Don’t worry—we are just happy and busy.

* * * * *

At some point the constant stream of  letters to the personnel department in Washington was recognised for what it was, and a sympathetic personnel officer, Jean Hermann, took it upon herself to deal with this correspondence and, more importantly, not to forward queries up to senior officials in the State Department.  As it turned out, this was crucial in protecting Jigg from the repercussions of his mother’s letters.

* * * * *

To Jean Hermann

October 6, 1957

Miss Jean Hermann
Employee Relations Officer
Office of Personnel
International Cooperation Administration
Washington 25, DC

Dear Miss Hermann,

Are the contacts of ICA, USOM employees with their parents a matter of entire indifference to the ICA?

My letter mailed to you the last week in July, 1957, has yet to be acknowledged. You have had several letters from me about the difficulties we have experienced in maintaining any contact whatsoever, even by mail, with your USOM employee in Saigon, Mr Creighton Seeley Scott, my son, his wife, Paula Scott, and their five children, Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert Scott. Only once, in the summer of 1956, have any of my complaints on this score been given practical attention.

My daughter-in-law and the children are now, I suppose, at route 2, Box 70, Carmel, California, but bar one postcard saying they had arrived in Carmel early in September, I have been able to obtain no news or replies to letters. As for the very serious–both serious–matter of having no address for my son at present, it seems to me atrocious that nothing has yet been done to relieve this situation. I do not know his location today.

I wrote you in July that the return to me of mail held nineteen-months in Spring Valley, where it was sent after my daughter-in-law wrote me from Saigon that the 46 Hempstead Rd. Spring Valley, NY, address, left on file when they left (because the movements of their American families were uncertain and some older addresses had proved unreliable, too) was discarded by them; thus leaving them only route 2, Box 70, Carmel, California, as an American address, and it temporary.

Now, having written to Carmel, I begin to see intimations of a repeated pattern of mail unanswered or answers undelivered such as I referred to as having pursued ourselves and them since 1944, when I went to England and American and returned and American 1952 after eight-and-a-half years, spent there with my British husband for reasons you know, of which I wrote to Miss Roth long ago. NB American I am and always will be

Are the families who appeal to you to be ignored? Strains and anxieties that could be avoided are still ours, year after year. Remember I have had no letter written and signed by my very fine son since December 1953, when my husband and I were just returned from England and were at The Huntington Hartford Foundation (for artists of all the fine arts) in California.

Spring Valley Post Office ignored my query about the insured parcels returned to me unopened, without any stamping except when sent in 1955. That was the last week in July. Now we wish to send birthday gifts of books to my eldest grandson and my son and find ourselves in 1955’s predicament; not knowing for certain whether Paula Scott and the children are still in Carmel, or how long they will e there. The parcels held nineteen-months–outside the Post Office, the Post Master said, and Mrs Scott agreed it could be and named the man who a Mr Mirabell might have done it–were birthday gifts to the same eldest grandson and to the youngest son.

I think I am being very reasonable in asking you to look into the matter of unimpeded correspondence with my son and his family. The apparent circumstances, on each occasion, are almost of a sort to intimidate. It might justly be called a crime to leave it so. Health strains, economic strains often result–all unnecessary!

Very Truly
(Mrs John) Evelyn DS Metcalfe
Evelyn DS Metcalfe

Signed twice because the writer unwittingly used poor ink the first time. Blots are regrettable but conditions for writing today are very poor

[This letter was forwarded to Jigg from the USOM head office in Saigon with the following typed note attached:]

October 8, 1957

The enclosed letter was received today, and while I promise not to bother you with this again, you may be interested. Incidentally, all the other letters were destroyed yesterday.

Jean Hermann

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

American Embassy
Unites States Operations Mission to Vietnam
Saigon, Vietnam
October 14, 1957

Dear Mr Scott

We have received a letter from your Mother dated September 28 and addressed to the American Consul, Saigon.

She has stated in the letter she has not heard from you for sometime and is concerned.

We pass this information on to you and feel you will probably be getting in touch with her very soon.

Happy Holiday,
Sincerely,
Gladys Schwendker
Acting Personnel Officer

* * * * *

To Jean Hermann

October 26, 1957

Dear Madam

This is my fourth attempt, since July, 1957, to obtain information as to where now to address my son, Mr Creighton Seely Scott, who has been with the USOM in Saigon for the last two years.

In July, my daughter-in-law, Paula Scott, wrote me that he was temporarily assigned elsewhere and that she was coming to Carmel, California, for some weeks, and would return in Saigon in all probability.

It may be that the ICA thinks this is enough for me to know, but, if so, it must be because my various letters concerning my difficulties in preserving contact with my son and his family since the beginning of the war, have not been read.

My daughter-in-law did arrive in Carmel in September, when I received a postcard from her.  She speaks of leaving in “November”, but is entirely indefinite. She has not acknowledged three books sent for the birthdays of three of the five children, one—first intended for Saigon—two months ago, and two three weeks ago.

We are convinced that she is not encouraged to be explicit or write oftener. Had their surroundings been conducive to this, she would have done so, we feel certain. We are very sure this must be the fact as to my son, who last wrote to us a letter we received in December 1953, when we were in California, and I was seriously ill.

My daughter-in-law is not so placed at Carmel as to be able to see any member of her or our family. We have naturally long hoped that some position could be given my son in the USA where we could sometimes see them. It will be eight years in November, 1957, since we saw him for a few years in London, England. As I have written to you before, I have not seen my daughter-in-law since 1944, and have never seen but two of my five-grandchildren, who, also, are evidently not encouraged to write letters, for they have

I have repeatedly requested some attention to this cruel, infamously unjust situation. I now do not know whether my letters to you are received, or whether, they are turned over to someone who is actually hostile to us, good native Americans though I and the Scotts are.

Very Truly Yours
Evelyn D S Metcalfe

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

November 10, 1957

The children will all profit by solidarity for culture even with Jack’s English family connection in pure science. Love from Jack

When you read this, you can still only do your best as circumstances permit. But you can think it over again, and pass it on to Jigg. We especially hope he can re-contact Fredrick Wellman1 for their father’s sake

We have your letter of Nov 7th, and, as always, appreciate clarifications. May your re-uniting with Jigg in Saigon be no longer delayed. Perhaps you have already left, and in that case, we ill also appreciate the promised advice as to when, and where to write when you get there. This forwarded safely if you have

The two very satisfying points explained are why Carmel, and the amplified view of the boys. You apparently do not acknowledge postcards. No mention was ever made of various cards in envelopes addressed to the children in your care when in Saigon, and I should like to know whether these trifles are worth sending at all–sometimes rather cute.

Very glad you continue to contact Margué

May I, on my part, clarify a few things on which, it appears, we don’t see quite alike.

I think it is a criminal factor in all our lives that Jigg has no contact with his father or any of his Wellman half-brothers. I am completely certain in myself and so is Jack that Jigg cannot wish it to be as it is with no response, as yet, in Washington to the need of any man for his own family contacts where they are loyal and loving. To prolong all our lives, his, yours, in we think we ourselves should know where Jigg is

It was not as the “whim” of a doddering old lady that I have protested this, with Jack’s complete agreement over and over. My suggestion that Jigg file our address with the US Consul was apart from the fact that the “foreign service” knows where he is. It was intended to stress his American antecedents, which, because of the many foreigners here who know nothing of any of us, have often been under threat, though naturally at present just as rumour. Jack, myself, Cyril, Fredrick and Paul and Manly are all in favour of pressing for restitution for victims of cultural suppressings and ignorings. Then there is my Will filed in NY with my lawyer as a personal favour, and there is my father’s estate, still unaccounted for. Linking our names with Jigg’s in the record may count in the future.

The status quo always implies that we are to be left to grow older–if we can–and die, and never see Jigg or any of you . Robert D Clay’s article was pertinent to straight science His father showed interest in the yellow [illeg]

I will never give up my citizenship USA, but if we are ever forced back to England to a paltry pension; that will be the end of everything unless positive action on our behalf here comes a good deal. I hope you know we are are glad you contact Margué

I don’t discuss Jigg often, but a first hocus-pocus of pseudo “psycho-analysis” has been several times produced by white-washers of abuses of justice in our own country, to pretend to “explain” the frequent helplessness of every old American and old Britisher–old in preference for the type of rule–as, in the instance of Jigg, a “wilful desertion” of his parents. We know this cannot be true

It is very very upsetting. This hotel is full of Germans, mostly Jews, with Irish, Swedes, etc, thrown in. Sometimes, with intervals of months or a year between, I have explained bouts of poor health and low spirits by saying we never see my son and don’t hear enough. The hand of an enemy is at once evident, in exactly the line Marion took in some, though I have never said anything specific about any of you, except once, in an overwhelming by sentiment, show a few Bobby’s cute picture kissing the peacock. “My grandson” with pride

NB We do hope the outdoors is restoring peace in nature. We are sure Denise and Julia will leave good records in school, when “voters’ noses” are counted less often and pedagogic theorizing is dropped and replaced by real teaching there will be a good system I just ask help in doing everything to preserve contacts and records of achievement to include us with Cyril and Jig as the Wellmans Cyril should still be remembered for his medical research too as Fredrick Creighton Wellman

We both think the American Government should show enough good faith to reply to some of the letters of Creighton Seeley Scott’s mother and his father and stepfather by conceding we, too, have a right to some direct contact with Jigg himself. I have written several times asking when Jigg can be seen You should realize, and Jigg does I hope, that Jack and I have now spent four years at home, added to eight-and-a-half in London, protesting our human claim on some attention, as well as our right to careers that were demolished deliberately. It is vile and really treacherous reaction that pretends that people of “our age” have no right to anything except penury and “relief” if we can get it. America does not do one thing for its minds, and England has retrogressed unbearably. We have lost some contacts there, but still have enough to know that bottom-up sheep are a road to dictation. Cyril, Jack and I are parents, and stepparent, too. We and your family should be speaking for one another, with [remainder of letter missing]

1One of Jigg’s half-brothers; the others were Paul and Manly. Jigg had no contact with the Wellman family, nor did he wish it.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

Honolulu
November 28, 1957

 

Dear E—Bobby’s book came in time—we’re on our way back. Sorry I had no time for a letter before going but was awfully busy. I’ll write from Saigon. Jigg will be there waiting for us.

Love,
Paula

* * * * *

Next week, an onslaught of letters from Evelyn . . . .