49. The story unravels

During what would become their final months in Carmel, Jigg was becoming increasingly desperate at his inability to fnd work and support his family. Depending on Paula’s relatives was onerous Jigg sought the wisdom and assistance of trusted friends, including Lewis Gannet, an American writer who had known Evelyn for years and had become a friend of Jigg’s. These letters are a heartbreaking insight into the desperation Jigg must have been feeling at the result of years of his mother’s interference.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

January 7, 1961

Dear Jigg,

Margaret [DeSilver] sent me your letter of December 30, possibly thinking I might help about a job, with a footnote “Do at least write to Jigg… No word of this, of course, to Evelyn.”

Well, I’m not in communication with Evelyn any more, although we did politely exchange Christmas cards. Your letter sent me to my files, including a fat lot of letters from Evelyn, some dating back to 1923: Bermuda, Banyuls, Bou Saada, London, Canada, etc, but not the last letters for which I was looking. I keep letters sporadically, and I may have thrown away the last ones in a mood of hopelessness. (Back in the 1920s I thought her potentially the greatest writer in America, and I still remember her books of those days.)

Glancing through the fat file my eye caught an odd phrase in February 1934: “I have had a mild persecution complex for a long time” (it goes on, “on the subject of my abstractions.”) The last letter, October 28, 1956, remarks “I have been ill a good part of the time. . . ‘psychosomatic’ heart, it is said, for my heart is intact, and though I will not accept ‘psychosomatic’ as it is a cover-all for quacks, but prefer to leave strain as reliably old-fashioned.”

I may have replied to that that I too had a heart condition, and the only way to live was to forget it, and I think I received a round condemnation in reply. And then–I would think also in 1956 or thereabouts, I returned to her a stout manuscript, every paragraph of which was carefully moulded into a single sentence, as was the 100-odd page autobiographical introduction, which I had kept for her, at her request, some eight years. She had always referred to it as being in a “safe” in my office, and, after returning it, I think I replied that I had kept it safe but felt I ought to tell here that I had never had a safe–the word was hers–and that the Mss had sat on a shelf all that time. Whereupon I received another round condemnation as a liar and a deceiver of helpless women, and that’s the letter for which I sought and didn’t find, for, as I recall it, it could conceivably have been evidence of derangement.

Perhaps it is better so, for I’d hate to be involved in a court controversy over a person for whom I once had both affection and respect, and it wouldn’t do any good anyway. I can understand your total exasperation, for you have been deeply and constantly involved with her since birth, and everyone who has been even slightly involved with her has in the end been exasperated and come to feel that any attempt to help was hopeless, and things have only become worse year after year. (You must know that, although I have never done anything of any consequence to help her myself, I have been variously involved in various attempts to help her, dating back to her introduction to the Garland-Hales in, I’d think, 1921, and even back of that, and again and again since.) I’ve also watched at close quarters a couple of other attempts to get what seemed to me obviously insane persons put away, seen them come up with something like triumphant serenity in court and fool the judge or judges, and seen the aftermath of futility and increased bitterness. Don’t do it, Jigg; don’t try that desperate route. As your friend (?) Dr Mayers, whom I don’t know, seems to have told you, it just wouldn’t work. I feel sure of that. I’ve seen Evelyn, I think, just once in the last ten years, and that–it was at Margaret’s–amazed me. After I’d read years of hysterical letters, she preserved an outer appearance of charm and calm; she’d do it again in court, and confound you, and I have no faith whatever in court-appointed psychiatrists.

Anyway, here’s old-time affection for you, whatever that may mean.
As ever,
Lewis Gannet

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

Carmel, California
January 9, 1961

Dear Margaret

Your answer to my letter, which was written in desperation after being out of touch with everyone for more than a year, came as a relief. I have never known where I stood with my mother’s friends, and for about twenty-five years I have wondered how you or anyone else could put up with her. It is a consolation to know that you don’t have much more patience with her than I do. I still don’t understand why you did so much for her, unless it was regard for Jack; but that is your business. Jack is a decent fellow, but as far as I can see his life has been absolutely ruined by my mother, and how he stands the present state of things I don’t know.

It’s all very wll to say that my mother is mad, but her present outlook is merely a caricature of the point of view she has had ever since I first remember, which is simply the mystical conviction that her preferences and opinions are of cosmic importance, and what the rest of mankind thinks is too trivial to consider. Somewhere along the line, when she was about twenty, the Lord God Jehovah Himself bestowed upon her the right to superintend the lives of others, especially myself and my late father.

My mother is not only ruthless about wanting her way, but loathsomely unfastidious. What she has been doing for more than fifteen years, is writing to men whose names she didn’t even know but who she thought could put some kind of economic squeeze on me, and playing the forsaken mother act with numerous allusions to the sinister influences—sometimes “alien influences”—that are supposed to have me in thrall. If she had gone on and added a few words about the brainwashing machine, it wouldn’t have been too bad. But in her letters to strangers she omits that part. I have a splendid collection of her letters, with details of this device, but it isn’t often that I get to use them. While Helen Prior was chief of personnel in ICA I got a fair shake and all the letters—except the ones that filtered down from big-shots like Dulles—were quietly destroyed.

It’s a relief to get this off my chest. So far you are the only person I have known who didn’t seem to consider my mother’s literary accomplishments made her sacred.

For most of my life I have tried to keep the eccentricities of my parents decently hushed up, but it’s no good. It never paid off, and the result has been absolute disaster. My mother seems to have estranged me from everyone I knew, including my father, who was no mean egotist himself; and lately she has shown every sign of being possessive about, and wanting to get her hooks into, my children; if we don’t all starve to death first.

If you really think Lewis could help, please, please pitch it strong to him on my behalf. I can also send a complete curriculum vitae at any time. I have no literary or artistic ambitions, and am just a working stiff—at present with no work. Thanks and please let me hear from someone soon, if you can arrange it. I’m at my wit’s end.

C Scott

* * * * *

To Lewis Gannett

January 13, 1961

Dear Lewis

It was nice to hear from you. I have never known exactly where I stood vis-a-vis friends of E Scott, and it is consoling to know that one as old as you shares my opinion that she is not responsible. Her early books, as you say, may have been full of promise. I am no judge because I could never bring myself to read any of them.

You mention Bou-Saada, and apropos that particular and somewhat Godforsaken spot, I can remember an unholy tantrum she had because it snowed one winter and she had not foreseen that it might snow in Africa. There was ranting, and there were tears and great gobs of self-pity because of the discomforts not only she but all the rest of us had to endure. If there is anything I hold against her more than the rest it’s the way she has been sitting around lamenting how ill-used she has been by the world, every time something happened that did not suit her taste or convenience. Her whole attitude, from the start, has been summed up by the phrase, “Oh, isn’t if awful that this should happen to me!”

As for the exasperation, you can only imagine how complete it is in my case. For as long as I can remember she has assumed, without any doubts or hesitations, that my thoughts and opinions would be cast in a mould identical with her own. I not only never had any education to speak of, I was never intended to have any. I was dragged out of school twice that I remember because I liked it there. I have the best reasons for thinking that about four-fifths of the letters she has been writing to strangers for the last fifteen years contain lengthy explanations of what I feel and what I think or wish to do. She has never considered it necessary to consult me about such things. One letter I have, in which she announces her decision that I must leave Indo-China at once, has a date corresponding very closely with the time I was summoned by the US Ambassador to Vietnam, who told me she had asked for my immediate transfer, because I was embarrassed to do so myself. He wanted to know why I hadn’t gone to my ordinary superiors and why I felt I had to be so devious about the whole thing. He also read me a lecture on my patriotic obligations, which suggested that she had included the usual drivel about sinister alien influences.

I very much appreciate your good will, Lewis, but I was disappointed that you could suggest no line of enquiry I could follow that might lead to a job. Isn’t there someone to whom I could write, who might give me a line on something: I realize you don’t know much about what I have done in the last twenty years, but my record is a good one, and I would undertake to try and do my own persuading. All I need is a foot inside the door, not a sweeping endorsement.

Anyway, if there is any angle you can think of I will be grateful indeed. There are seven of us, including the children, and we are more nearly desperate than I would have thought possible. I am estranged from nearly everyone I ever knew, and it gets worse all the time. Thanks for the reassurances though. It’s nice to know that my mother’s aberrations aren’t considered sacrosanct. Good luck to you,

C Scott

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

January 13, 1961

Dear Margaret,

I got a very nice letter from Lewis Gannet today, from which I gather that some of his correspondence with my mother rivals the specimen letters I keep in case I ever need desperately to prove she isn’t rational. Anyway, it cheered me up to know there is one more person besides myself (and now you) who has doubts about how responsible E Scott is, and Lewis’ feelings are very generous. Like Dr Mayers he also advised against trying to get my mother committed, citing a very illuminating case he knew of, on which the courts didn’t back up the psychiatrist who studied the case. At least he didn’t, like Mayers, suggest that the best course would be to keep the old, filial tie intact, and what he says makes more sense than what the doctor said. With Jack opposing the move, I suppose it would be hopeless.

As I told you, I wrote to my mother and Jack telling them I was through, and that since I had no boss there was nobody my mother could get me in trouble with. Jack’s reply sounds to me as though he is slipping, too. Just why she should write letters to John Foster Dulles because, as he says, she didn’t get answers from my father is beyond me.  Except for short periods when I was in transit she always had an address, but she never approved of it; and in fact she raised hell with the postmaster here, and then complained about him to the postmaster general of the US, because I have a rural route address. Jack knows these things as well as I, and although he is a nice guy, I think her influence has destroyed his sense of proportion.

We haven’t heard directly from her so far–my letter didn’t leave her much to say–but you can bet she’ll start writing to somebody again, God only knows who. Maybe Kennedy.

Lewis’ reply was very kind, but I was awfully disappointed he had no suggestions, because we are at the stage where we are grasping at straws–ineligible for any kind of relief, which we need, and absolutely at the end of our resources. The brunt falls mainly on my wife and kids, and I have ransacked the state of California as thoroughly as my finances allow, for anything and everything–even a milk route, or example, without any luck for more than a year.  One of the things that has been brought up, for example, is that since she was such a staunch anti-Communist, then I must be on the other side if I don’t get along with her. But I haven’t gotten along with her since I was a kid and she used to drive me wild with her fits of tragic despair whenever something happened in the world that didn’t fit with her ideals.

The only thing I ask is an introduction to someone who will listen to the story of my plight without dismissing it as pure invention, intending to cover up something sinister, and then pass me on to whoever has a job I might fill.  I’m not asking for a blanket endorsement, but a foot in the door. My own record will stand on its own merits, I think; and I can be investigated until the cows come home.

C Scott

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

70 East 10th Street, NYC
January 17, 1961

Dear Jigg,

I’m returning herewith [missing] your mother’s and Jack’s letters. Your mother’s letter is pretty smooth, + Jack’s rather pathetic. Of course he now has to stand by Evelyn, having made that commitment many years ago—not without considerable struggle in his soul, I imagine! PLEASE, JIGG, do not mention to either Jack or Evelyn anything I have said or suggested, or even that you have been in touch with me, ever, in any way. I have a hard enough time as it is being berated by Evelyn for not writing the Herald Tribune, the Attny Genl, + goodness knows who all.

It would be disastrous if Jack ever found out that I let on that he was worried about Evelyn’s sanity, because Jack is an OK guy, + trusted my discretion.

Yours,
Margaret

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

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

January 19, 1961

Dear Jig:

I waited until I could see your mother before answering your last letter. Despite your recent letters to her, she seemed to me exactly the same as at any other of my visits. My relations with her, however, are on a very superficial basis. I call on her once in several months; take her out to a long chatty lunch, and sometimes get a few minutes with Jack when he returns from work carrying the food he has picked up on the way home, from which Evelyn will prepare dinner in the communal kitchen of their hotel. Evelyn does not tell me—not really—what she is doing or thinking, and I ask no questions. Our conversation is on current events and other impersonal matters, but I do get to give her morale a lift, and to help her medically. So, if there was no apparent difference in her general status, when I saw her, it does not necessarily mean that your letters have had no effect. I doubt very much that she has any serious intention of going to California. I doubt that Jack would supply the funds for such an expedition.

So, we come back to the children. I still think it should be possible for you to completely conceal their whereabouts, when they begin leaving home. I am glad you, yourself, are now free from injury.

If I have gone beyond proper bounds in writing the above, please forgive me. I do not ordinarily give advice, unasked. But your frank and friendly letters have made me feel that I would not be intruding. In any event, I want you to know that if I can be of assistance to your or Paula at any time, please do not hesitate to call on me. On the other hand, I do not wish to be reporting on Evelyn to you, behind her back; and I certainly do not wish to have her learn of any correspondence between us purely by accident. So, I shall consider this my last letter unless you write to me again. I was glad to learn, when I saw her that she had no inkling of our correspondence. For her to learn of it—however accidentally would eliminate my usefulness to her, which would be too bad.

Best of good luck to you both.
Sincerely
May

* * * * *

To Margaret DeSilver

January 21, 1961

Dear Margaret

I have just finished reassuring Dr Mayers (again) to the effect that I will not mention her advising me to my mother, and once again I promise you that I will endeavor to surpass myself in discretion where you are concerned. I don’t intend ever to write E Scott gain.

I don’t feel any special rancour against either my mother or Jack, I just want to be out from under. Jack is, as you say, a decent fellow, and deserves every consideration for making Job seem half-hearted.

The very best
Jigg

* * * * *

To Robert Welker1

August 25, 1961

Dear Bob,

Just a hurried line to tell you that Evelyn had a cerebral attack (slight but alarming) a few days ago. She has partially lost the power of speech and can say only short sentences. I feared she wd have to be hospitalized but her doctor has decided she wd be better just to stay where she is. The condition will, we hope, improve slowly with time, as the clot is absorbed. Meanwhile she has to have complete rest, and not try to force the pace by trying to talk, read or write. “Be a vegetable” is the doctor’s order.

I write this to let you know why she will not be able to write to you for an indefinite time.

Naturally I was, and am, v worried, but, as the doctor says, it might have been v much worse, – and there is hope of eventual recovery.

Forgive more just now. Hope all is well with you, – and that Mrs Gower is better.

Love from us both,
Yrs ever,
Jack

PS If you write, don’t refer to the specific character of the attack, – of which she is only partially aware.

1 Robert Welker was an academic who had written his PhD on the subject of Evelyn’s novels. He was an admirer Evelyn and became a fast friend of both Evelyn and Jack.

 

* * * * *

The Scott family left Carmel in August 1961 for a rented farmhouse in the tiny historic (founded 1776) village of Peacham in Vermont. It had always been a dream of Jigg’s one day to settle down on a farm in Vermont, and it is likely that this dream influenced the decision to move to Vermont.  Denise had started university and the other children settled into their new life and Jigg was desperately trying to find work in spite of  the effects his mother’s letter writing had had on his  life.  And, true to form, Evelyn continued to try and trace them to their new address and new life, in spite of her poor health.

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

11 March 1962:  Wrote (i.e. finished writing) letter to Jigg, to which  E added some more.
12 March 1962:  Went Grand Central PO and sent letter, registered, return-receipt, to Jigg.
17 March 1962:  Our wedding anniversary–bless us.
19 March 1962:  Came home and found that my letter to Jigg had been returned, marked “Moved–left no address” . . . Composed draft of letter from E to Principal of High School Carmel.
28 March 1962:  Came home.  Letter from Principal of Carmel  High School giving Jigg’s address as “General Delivery, St Johnsbury, Vermont”.  E wrote letter to him (Jigg).

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

March 28th, 1962

Darling Jig and Paula,

We both hope for better things already! You will see that Jack wrote to you on 11th Mch for me but the letter was returned here. But Mr W W Edwards, the high School principal, has kindly informed to me to your present address and the five children. He mentioned three of the kids, but I had named the five.

We love you, seven of you, grown and young! How is Paula able to us? Jig (I like Jig as I wrote it) I will be well only if we know of you all. To whom, shall I, too, wrote to you?

Lovingly to you both! So much affection to you, Paul, and to Jig before my life always of you!
Mother

[This letter was returned with the envelope stamped “Unclaimed” by post office.]

  • * * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

29 March 1962:  Mailed letter to Jigg (St Johnsbury Vt) Registered, return receipt, on way to school. . .  Came home.  Marketed and mailed letter from E, thanking Principal of Carmel High School. . .  Letter to Jigg included previous letter + envelope as well as fresh note from E.
13 April 1962:  Came home + found E had had our letter to Jigg returned “Unclaimed”.

* * * * *

To Love Lyle1

April 13, 1962

Dear Love,

Your letter has, again, revived my memories, with the spring flowers and the Cumberland, the flood having been a dramatic phase.

I wish Jig and Paula and our five young could have been with Jack and I in Clarksville for a holiday. Soon, after I wrote you, I received a mail receipt from Carmel with the return of a letter just sent by me to Jig and Paula. I did not know to do, but decided to write again to Carmel’s High School to ask where my grandchildren were, as Paula wrote of the school about two years of them. The school’s authority replied to me (I rewritten, too, having been answered the Scott grandmother) that three Scotts were originally in the school, but that Mr and Mrs Creighton Scott could be their now address in St Johnsbury3, Vermont, General Delivery. The fact that my grandchildrens are five instead of just three, I found uneasy.

However, Jack mailed both my unreceived letters (one within of Jack for me), and I awaited replied!—to St Johnsbury.

A horrid interval, a week ago in the hotel, I discover that, when I was in a bathroom, a spy snook into my room, where my letters of Carmel’s school and a telegram of years ago that I had preserved of Scotts’ address for Rt Road and 410 Box. These two things had been there open, as I consulted of the school letter for the number of the street. Well, anyhow, I wanted to hear about St Johnsbury’s PO. And now today, April 13, I received the returned registered Jack mailed to Jig and Paula—my own letter and Jack’s own scratched against Jig’s and Paula’s address.

I dont know what to do—again! I didn’t think St Johnsbury, Vermont was adequately the Scotts’ residence!

I wish I knew more about US Army views of mails! Does Renee’s major knows about mails? We never strange makes in NY before the war or none! Now strange ordinary letters didn’t interfere in London.

Will you write Renee’s husband’s name, who has no responsibility [illeg] is, but I might someday answer of any of them of him about mails of California. love, Evelyn.

Rt 2 Road, 410 Box, I remember of Carmel—though Rt 2 Road may be error. Do any of Clarksville friends know Carmel? And please the Major’s name, he too knew London.

Gratefully, Evelyn.

1 Love Lyle, a Clarksville cousin

Peacham is a tiny village; St Johnsbury was the nearest large town.

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

18 April 1962:  School.  On there posted E’s letter to Department of State.  On my return Gladys was having tea with E.
10 May 1962:  School.  Letter from Dept of State to Evelyn.
17 May 1962:  E wrote to Principal Carmel High School some 8 or 9 days ago.
18 May 1962:  Came home and found letter from Mr Edwards, Principal of Carmel High School giving Frerick’s address as Peacham Academy, Peacham, Vermont.
31 May 1962:  Letter to E from Dept of State saying they will write later after looking up file.
2 June 1962:  Letter from Dept of State.  Quite unsatisfactory. . . Telegram came announcing Maggie (DeSilver’s] death and giving time + place of memorial service on Monday.

 

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

[June 30, 1962]

Dear Mother and jack,

This is to let you know we are all right. I haven’t found a job yet and we are hard up, but our health is pretty good; there have been no serious illnesses, and I don’t want you to worry about it.

We manage to get along and hope you do, too. The job problem is serious. A man of my age, with not even a grade school diploma and a record he can’t refer to has a hard time, but by pulling together we manage. We hope you are better, mother, and that you are okay, too, jack. Take care of yourselves.

There is no point in trying to answer this. We are constantly on the move, and mother’s habit of writing to anybody she might know of who might know me is too dangerous to encourage. Registered letters with receipts I have to sign to show you where I am won’t work, and neither will writing to postmasters. For the moment we have no address.

However, we don’t want you to wear yourselves out fretting about us. We wonder about you, but as there is nothing we can do, we don’t ask how you are. But we hope for the best.

Affectionately,
Jigg

I was in Montreal for a while last winter and looked at Dorchester Street West. It hasn’t changed much. It was very cold. We are now back on the West Coast.

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

2 July 1962:  Heard from Jigg,–envelope post-marked “San Jose” California
1 August 1962: Cataract removed.
10 August 1962:  Gladys ‘phoned at about 1.45 and said she would be here in about an hour.  Which did.
16 August 1962:  E’s foot bad.
17 August 1962.  E’s foot still bad.  E’s foot was too painful for her to go out, so I did marketing alone, bying new Pyrex dish to serve as ash-tray . . .Evelyn kept awake with retching cough.
18 August 1962:  E’s chest pains etc bad, + I marketed (2 trips. . .  Mr Seavy carried in supper for E, who couldn’t manage it.
19 August 1962:  E still poorly.
31 August 1962:  Eye still troublesome. . .Gladys rang up, – and came here about 3.30.  She and E had tea while I had “lunch”.  G left about 5.30.
2 December 1962:  Breakfast about ten.  E poorly still.
25 December 1962.  Worked as normal.  Lunch.  Nap.  Gave $10 tip to Sam.  Work.  Supper of beek, onions and plum-putting.  Bed.

* * * * *

To Louise Morgan1

January 19, 1963

Dear Louise,

Thank you for your sweet letter which warmed my heart. Yes, if the worst happened I suppose I should still come to England, and the first people I should see there would be you and Otto.

But, at least momentarily, the news of Evelyn seems better. They took a needle biopsy of the mass, and it proves to consist of a type of cell amenable to radiotherapy. Dr Cohen (her own “family” doctor) even anticipates that after a course of treatment (a month or so) at the hospital, she may be able to return here, – and then just go on having less frequent treatment as an out-patient.

That would be wonderful, and I pray for it. We should then continue to plan for England in early 1964.

I visited E early this morning, – she looking so terribly ethereal, and in pain. I signed the sanction for the radio treatment. The previous evening, yesterday. Bernice was there too, with me.

Love,
John

We should hope to carry our US pension with us, and buy some little place just out of London. Lew Mayers (an ex professor-of-law, and husband of an old friend Dr May Mayers) looked up everything for me, and assures me we could do this. Anyhow, of course, I have, in my English bank the proceeds of the sale of No 26 Belsize Crescent.

Louise Morgan was the wife of Otto Theis,; both good friends of Evelyns during the period before she met and married Jack.

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

27 January 1963:  Went out to chemists to buy E cough lozenges and roll of cotton.
26 February 1963.  Evelyn poorly.  Mrs Seavy recommended her Doctor Cohen.  I ‘phoned him and he will come tomorrow afternoon.
27 Februrary 1963:  Obtained permission to leave school at 11.50.  Came home.  Dr Cohen arrived soon after 2 o’clock, examined E, +prescribed Diuril [diuretetic  to treat hypertension].
7 March 1963:  Came home and ‘phoned Dr Cohen.  E to take only one diuril tablet a day, – and I to phone Dr Cohen next Monday.
13 March 1963.  Last day at school for a while . . . got home after three to find Dr Cohen already with Evelyn. He had given her an injection + said I should not go to school for several days.

* * * * *

To John Gawsworth1

March 18, 1963

Dear John,

For God’s sake write. If ever I needed a friend it is now, to save me from final despair. Write, for pete’s sake, but do not refer to this letter. I have bad medical news of Evelyn, and am near to a breakdown myself. It is a dreadful situation. My heart is breaking,–yet how can I tell her, fully, the reason, though she must guess it. I am seeing a psychiatrist Wednesday, + may he be a miracle-worker, since miracles are needed. I cannot sleep or anything. I have had to give up my teaching job “temporarily” as don’t know if I could ever hold it again. But my only ray of hope is tht we should lay our bones in England,—and you are my only real understanding friend there If, somehow, I can pluck courage out of a hat, I could stay over here perhaps another year, saving money (if I can hold job again) + then come over, with her She agreed to this this morning. It is the one hope I cling to. To know that you are there, would be there whenever we came, wd be a comfort.

If the psychiatrist recommends a spell in a sanatorium,–what can I do? There’s no money, + anyhow what would poor E do? She can’t look after herself + now when I should help her I am collapsing.

My only hope is to come with her I hope to England.

No more now. I am writing this on the sly in a “pub”. I must hear from you. Forgive selfishness, but I’m v unwell trying for the last 15 days, to bear an insupportable strain.

Do write, just an ordinary letter,–(I may find, later, an accommodation-address to which you could write me without restraint).

Love, Jack.

1 John Gawsworth was a friend of Jack’s from university days, and one of the few friends he kept up with.

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

19 March 1963:  Dr Cohen came.
27 March 1963:  Dr Cohen had not arrived as arranged at 3, soran him also.  Will come this evening at 8.30. . . Dr Cohen arrived at 8.30 and prescribed sleeping-tablets for E.  Paid him $7.  I went out + got prescription filled.
8 April 1963:  Letter from Gladys with $50, which I  deposited in bnk at about 2.30.  Light lunch + nap. . .  Rang Gladys to thank her.

* * * * *

In the autumn of 1962, after 15 months in Vermont, the decision was made to leave the United States for Canada:  as the possibility of conflict in Vietnam loomed and Frederick and Matthew were of an age to be drafted, it was thought they would be safe in Canada. And perhaps more significantly, Jigg hoped that by becoming, with Jack’s help, a Canadian citizen he would have more opportunities for employment than during the previous three yours.  The aging Volkswagen bus that had brought the family from California broke down shortly after crossing the Canadian border and the family found themselves in the sleepy town of Chester, Nova Scotia, about 40 miles from Halifax, where they spent the first winter in a caravan on the grounds of the drive-in theatre before they were able to move more permanent accommodation in the town.

The three Scott sons still live in the Halifax area.  Jigg died of a heart attack in the summer of 1965 and Paula died of a stroke in 2016.  Both are buried in Chester cemetery.

* * * * *

To Jack Metcalfe

May 3, 1963

Dear Jack,

This is for you personally, with regards to Mother. I am settling in Canada and have mentioned that you were the first to bring me here. If you hear from the Canadian Immigration I hope you will answer them for us.

Life in the States got to be just too much and I ended up with a coronary that almost did for me last July in Vermont. Here the pressures are relived. We’ve been here all winter, and a rugged one it was.

I’ll write from time to time hereafter, but for Pete’s sake please stem the flow and don’t let anyone start writing to postmasters and officials, except you, if they ask.

Affectionately,
Jigg

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary: 

8 May 1963: I returned from [eye] hospital and was astonished to find letter from Jigg awaiting me.  The family are now in Nova Scotia!  Upper denture finally broke and I went to Dr Foster.
14 May 1963:  I ‘phoned Dr Cohen but could get no reply.  Phoned an hour later, still to no avail.  But a third attempt was fruitful, – + he is to be here tomorrow at 2 o’clock.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

May 19, 1963

My Dear Jigg,

I found your welcome letter awaiting me on my recent return from hospital, and this is to wish all of you the greatest possible success and happiness in the new country. We were distressed to hear of your coronary trouble. May it speedily be relieved and health be completely restored!

Yes, I well remember our sojourn in Montreal,–the Hollywood Apartments, and Mr Britten’s school,–and snow, snow, snow. . . I imagine that the Nova Scotian winter must be at least as severe, though reassured by you saying pressures are relieved. If the Canadian Immigration write about you I will answer any questions they may ask.

Our own healths have been nothing to boast of latterly. I, as I say, have been in hospital and Evelyn’s cardiac condition been very worrying. I am at present convalescing at “home” but expect to be back at my school job shortly.

We do hope that Paula and the rest of the family are thriving and the children doing well at school and college. Their careers are a matter of deep concern to us.

Evelyn sends her love.
Affectionately,
Jack

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

21 May 1963:  Rang Dr Cohen who will come this afternoon at 3. . . Dr Cohen came aat three.  I went out to chemists again for Taractan [an antipsychotic] and Buta Perinide [betaperimide, for chronic diarrhea] capsules.  The latter will not be ready till tomorrow.

* * * * *

To Jack Metcalfe

May 24, 1963

Dear Jack,

I’m very distressed to hear that you’ve been ill. I hope it wasn’t anything very serious. Your courage and steadfastness where others wouldn’t hold out has always awed me a little. I hope Mother is all right. Perhaps it will help a little bit if you give her my love, good wishes, and tell her that we are all well though somewhat ragged after almost three and a half years without a job, plus my coronary. That’s healed by now and if I take care of myself it will be OK from now on.

I certainly wish you the best, as we all do. I hope you will both forgive my past evil tempber. I’ll write from time to time and tell you how we are.

Affectionately,
Jigg

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

25 May 1963:  E sick all night and through the day in consequence of too much diruil.
27 May 1963:  Returned to school.  Came home to find letter from Jigg.  Marketed.  Rang Dr Cohen, – who will visit E at 3 tomorrow.
28 May 1963:  Dr Cohen had visited 3 at 3 and prescribed Coroas Tymcaps, twice daily.
30 May 1963:  E had pain in right side.
1 June 1963:  Rang Dr Cohen at 8.40 and made appointment for 3 today. . . Dr Cohen came at 2.50 and left new prescription.
3 June 1963:  ‘Phoned Dr Cohen.  E’s side painful + we had a very disturbed night.
4 June 1963:  Dr Cohen visited E + then E + I went to DR Schechtz for E’s X-raying.  Home again about 5.
5 June 1963.  DID NOT GO TO SCHOOL.  ‘Phoned Cohen at 12.30 and got worrying report.  He visited E at 3 and said we shouldn’t worry too much.  He will contact specialist and I am to ring him tomorrow at 6.
6 June 1963:  DID NOT GO TO SCHOOL.  Dr Cohen rang at 5 and asked me to  come to his office, which I did.  He gave me the X-ray plates.  E to be at Francis Delafield Hospital at 9 am tomorrow.  Came home.  Went out again and bought nightgowns for E.  Also marketed.
7 June 1963:  DID NOT GO TO SCHOOL.  E + I arrived much too early at the hospital + waited what seemed like an interminable time.  The business of her registering + of my being interviewed by the “investigator” re finance took till after twelve.  I then said goodbye to her.  Floor 2.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

June 9, 1963

Dear Jigg,

Thanks for your last letter, and Evelyn greatly appreciated your message to her. I grieve to say that she is now in hospital with a tumor on the lung. The doctors hold out hope that it may respond to radiation. The hospital is “Frances Delafield Hospital 99 Fort Washington Avenue, New York 32”. I am trying perforce to hold on to my job, but of course it is very difficult. I shall know more of the prospects in a week or so’s time when further tests have been made.

We do hope you are all fairly well, and that circumstances are improving.

Evelyn sends love to all.
Affectionately,
Jack

* * * * *

To John Gawsworth

June 9, 1963

Dear John,

Evelyn is in hospital with a tumour of the lung. Surgery is to avoided if possible because of her cardiac condition, so radiation will be tried.

And we had, actually, been planning to resettle in England next spring!

If the worst happens I do not see myself surviving her, because, with all its ups and downs, this has been such a deep + permeating affection.

At the moment, from minute to minute, I hardly know what to do do, or how to go through the ordinary motions of living.

Love from both to both
Jack

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

June 15, 1963

Dear Jigg,

I am grateful for your letter, and it should buck Evelyn up, when I visit her today and give her its messages.

I have just spoken to her “old” doctor—Cohen—that is, the one who has just been visiting her here for the last few months, and who got her into the hospital where she is. He tells me that he has been in contact with the doctors at the Delafield who have Evelyn in their care, – that they are top-specialists in this line and that, anyhow, she could not be in better hands. They are going, Cohen says, to try radiation, which, they hope, will arrest and localise the tumor and, perhaps, render an ultimate extirpation feasible.

I myself am of course most unhappy and the carrying-on, so far, with my job is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I have that hellish endowment of imagination and pessimistic anticipation that squeezes each ounce of misery from any situation. I can only trust that, if the worst should happen, this will prove, in some degree, a sort of pre-digestion of agony.

But Cohen was not too pessimistic himself, – and, as you say, we’ll all hope, and pull for her.

I could not contemplate being without her.

I am so happy (and so will she be) to hear your own health has improved.

I wish to God you were all here because, like you, I have no friends. This hotel room at night is hell.

All the few friends we have are out of town or on the point of leaving. May Mayers, whom I have never needed so much, has gone, – and there’s no one.

Love to Paula and children, – and Evelyn of course sends love to all.

Affectionately,
Jack

* * * * *

From Jack  Metcalfe’s diary: 

21 June 1963:  Gave E letter to her from Jigg.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

 June 22, 1963

My Dear Jigg,

This is no more than a hurried line to thank you very much for your last letter,–enclose the letter to Evelyn,–which I handed to her yesterday when I visited her, and with which she was rejoiced.

She has started the early radiation treatments, and, since the biopsy was encouraging, the doctors are hopeful.

Evelyn sends much love to all,–and same from me.
Affectionately
Jack

Best of good luck to you all. So glad your health is improving.  Chins up!  Am keeping, of course, your whereabouts most strictly to myself.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

June 23,1963

Darling Jigg,

I am glad to know you have written to me. Your letter is helped top me, but we most wish that you will be against coronaries. You need friends who will prove your health again. I think of you, Paula, Denise, Fredrick, Mathew, Julia and Robert, and your strength shall be now.

Friends, I hope! We should have seen many friends long ago about your health.

I can’t yet express natural intentions. Bless you. Jack will give your letter when I am better, too I will write myself and to friends.

Mother

I am accepted to Radio Therapy and it does help. Our Jewish doctor helps

* * * * *

To Paula Scott

June 23, 1963

Dear Paula

Thank you very much indeed for your sympathetic letter. I did not show it to E, but, of course, passed on to her, when I visited her yesterday, the letters to her from you and from Frederick, both of which delighted her. And I should like you now, from me, particularly to thank Frederick for having written to her. I was a gesture that I very greatly appreciate.

When I reached her bedside she had already written the note to Jigg which I herewith enclose in answer to his recent letter to her. Please pass it on to him,–and do not fear a deluge of such missives. And I again assure you that your whereabouts will be kept strictly to myself.

The radio-therapy was begun three days ago. As I think I told Jigg, the biopsy was fairly encouraging showing the mass to consist of a type of a cell responsive to radiation. So we hope for good results.

Love,
Jack

Love also to the children and my affectionate wishes of course to Jigg. I do pray that your own problems will be solved, and matters mend for you!

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

July 1, 1963

Dear Jigg and Paula,

A very brief bulletin, – and thanks for your letter.

Evelyn is responding very slowly to the X-ray. I spoke this evening to Dr Cohen, the very best of eggs, who had been on the wire to here physicians, up there at 14 Delafield, and they said, despite her complaints of constant pain, that they thought it was beginning to ease-up just a little. It is going slowly, – and she may have to stay there several weeks yet before becoming an out-patient.

Don’t worry, Jigg and Paula, about any disclosure of your whereabouts. Whatever the necessity, I agree to it, – and you can tell me the story whenever you care, if we’re alone.

From now on, if she comes back and writes silly letters (actually, I don’t think she will) I shan’t mail them. Very, very sorrowfully, at this point I have to relinquish her as an equal. I have tried, these years, to consider her, humanly, and equal, but things have got past it now.

I still love her, – she is still the marrow of all my being,–but that’s the only way to treat her now.

Much love,
Jack

I am all right up a point with TERACTAN anti-depressant, but Cohen is worried about my loss of weight. Now only 131 lbs – a loss of nearly 20 lbs in 1 month or of 30 lbs in 2 months.

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

6 July 1063:  Visited E around 3 and was astonished to hear from her that she had had her last X-raying + would be home next week.  Could get no explanation on this.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

July 9, 1963

Dear Jigg,

Thank you + Paula so much for letters,–and most especially for the letters from Matthew + from Julia, which Evelyn was delighted to have.

She has completed her first “curse” of radiation now, having taken as much as she can stand for the moment (there comes a point where it has to be intermitted or do actual harm),–and I expect her home here in a few days now.

I am looking forward to that, as you may imagine. I think the treatments, so far, have done her good. She will renew them later in the summer or in the fall, they say.

No more now, as I am past tired out.
Love to all,
Jack

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary: 

11 July 1963: Taxi’d to hospital where found E with right side of her back painted red + strapped + plastered.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

July 14, 1963

Dear Jigg,

Just a hasty bulletin.  The pain has now ceased, and apparently her first “course” of X-ray has done good.

She will be returning here in about a week or 10 days from now,–so you cannot write quite as freely to me as you have been doing. I appreciate your concern for her,–while I do indeed understand your side of the matter. All list to later if you + I ever get together. At the moment, she is just coming home + you can’t write freely.

She will go up to the hospital about every 3 weeks for check up, and then, probably undergo a further “course” of radio-therapy in later summer or fall.

Alas, Dr Cohen is away on vacation, but will be back before too long, I hope.

She will just come back here in 10 days or less,–and I suppose one shall try to mimic “life as usual”. She does not fully appreciate what is the matter with her, which is all to the good.

If the X-ray doesn’t work she will have to face an operation,–but of course I do hoe the X-ray does work. The operation chances are 4 to 1 against.

Love to you all, and I wish I knew you better, because I may be a very lonely man.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

July 16, 1963

Dear Jigg,

Thanks for letters, – which Evelyn was cheered to have. I do hope you’re better now.

I myself am none too well, – Evelyn is better, and comes home again in about a week, – and that is the main, great thing, but the continued strain has pretty well worn me out, and I sort of fainted at school, – and had to be put in a cab. I got home OK, – and say nothing of it to E.

Her pain, thank heaven, has almost gone, so don’t worry about that. She is greatly looking forward to returning here to the hotel. She will then visit the hospital’s clinic periodically (about once every month or 3 weeks) till treatment is renewed in late summer or fall.

Forgive more now,
Love to you all,
Jack

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

July 20, 1963

Dear Jigg,

Yours just received, – and I will write anything you want in support of your application. Let me know in greater detail as the occasion arises, – and good luck in to Frederick in the Canadian Black Watch!

The great news is that the hospital is sending Evelyn home here again.

She will be here the day-after-tomorrow, – Monday the 22nd, – so bear this in mind in anything you write.

It need not at all interfere with your going on speaking w/ wishing to become Canadian citizens.—She would welcome that.

As to the “desperate odds”, – I may have made myself insufficiently plain. The 5-1 against odds referred to an operation, – if X-raying failed. We hope that mayn’t be necessary.

There is a possibility, according to the last thing Cohen said, that X-raying may cure this thing entirely. At least, he said, it could prolong her life 5-6 years. Then, if the worst came to the worst, I suppose she wd have to be operated on, – but I, naturally, cling to the hope that X-rays will do the trick. They can do things now, with malignancies, that they couldn’t do even only 10 yrs ago.

Today, I have been getting in groceries etc in anticipation. I myself, since she’s been away, have eaten little, – no breakfast or lunch and only a bite for supper.

Dear Jigg and Paula, I do so appreciate your concern, – and the concern of you all. Let us all hope and pray that there will be light, somehow, at the end of this dark tunnel.

Love
Jack

* * * * *

From Jack Metcalfe’s diary:

27 July 1963:  E Returned Home ‘Phoned Gladys  after much difficulty + exasperation + loss of money.  Bought tobacco, coffee and liquor. . .  Visited E. Was leaving + then decided to return, – + Dr Bell rang up the ward + said E might leave right away!  Waited while her clothers wre procured, – + then went home with her in cab.  Reached hotel about 8.45.
29 July 1963:  E + I taxied to + from hospital & got her property back.  Home by about10.30.
31 July 1963:  E collapses + fell to floor at breakfast. . . Confirmed that Dr  Cohen was still on vacation, and filled May’s second prescription.  E depressed.
3 August 1963.  Evelyn died.  Gladys + May here.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

August 4, 1963

Dear Jigg,

This carries the saddest news for us all. Evelyn passed away yesterday, Saturday, in her sleep. it was in the morning, some time, I can’t be sure, – any time between 8 and 12, – because I thought she was just still sleeping. Then at 12 I became apprehensive and found her cold. She will be buried, probably on Tuesday.

I cannot write more now.

Love to all,
Jack

* * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

Nov 4, 1961

Dear Mother and Jack,

I finally got Jack’s last letter after many delays, and I am glad to hear you will be able to get along without too much grief, because I am in no position to be of help. I keep looking, but the prospects grow slimmer all the time, and I don’t seem to have any friends in the world. However, we have managed to survive so far, and we will continue to make out in one way or another.

I hope mother feels better—heave knows I’m sorry to hear of all these disasters. I can appreciate the burden is on you, Jack, to keep going; and I am more than a little surprised both of you don’t head back for England.

This country doesn’t seem to have any fortitude in the face of uncertainty, and all I see everywhere is the decay of civil order. It’s hard to find anyone with even the most rudimentary principles, and the very mediocre standard of conduct one used to take for granted is now something rare and unexpected. I shouldn’t think things would have gone quite that far in England yet—anyway, if I had my choice I’d rather take my chances abroad than here, unless the whole nation pulls up its socks in a hurry.

It seems preposterously unlikely that there should ever be an atomic war and we’ll all live to be a hundred unless we starve to death or something of the sort. Paula sends her best and the kids are all well. Don’t worry about us—things are difficult but we’ll make out somehow.

If it’s any use, I mention you both in my prayers, which is about all I can do. It’s been a funny existence, and the funniest part is the waste of all our energies. All the sturm and drang and the frenzies and exertions of the last fifty years have accomplished exactly nothing, and all our time would have been better spent planting cabbages. I’d like nothing better than to be a competent plumber, or something of the sort.

Anyway, best wishes, and I’ll write again now and then. let me know how you are faring.

Affectionately,

Jigg

 

 

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. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

* * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

37. Two Red Hooks, false teeth and birth control

There are two places bearing the name Red Hook in New York state.  One is a small rural community in Dutchess County in the Hudson River valley, about 100 miles north of New York City.  The other is a district in Brooklyn, one of New York’s five boroughs.

In June 1951 Jigg and his family moved to a house on Pitcher Lane in Red Hook in Dutchess County. Cyril (who had now resumed his original name of Frederick Creighton Wellman) had been living in a retirement colony in Red Hook for some time, and it is possible that the family moved to be near him. Jigg was now working for the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and commuting, a long and expensive journey. A month after moving to Red Hook Jigg and Paula’s fourth child, Julia, was born in the neighbouring town of Rhinebeck.

As in previous chapters, most of these letters, which demonstrate the increasingly illogical nature of Evelyn’s thought processes, are carbon copies and therefore not signed.  

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

26 Belsize Crescent
[July, 1951]

My dear Glad

I appreciate your longer letter which arrived this morning, though I wish its length were more informative as to facts and more cheerful as to yourselves and ourselves.  I just know you gave time to it and that time is precious, and the impulse good, although I go on disagreeing as unshakably as ever with what you say about people who have congenialities among you as we have among some old.  I don’t consider generations have anything to do with obstacles to rapprochements.  They are imposed mostly by conditions in which age is made to seem to figure, and doesn’t.

Yes, you have written me Jig is “recovering”.  You weren’t specific however.  And though you said he was back to normal weight and I hope he is and stays there I think 168 is normal for him and I would like to know if he is near that, and whether or not—and this is most important—he has lost football effect in front.  I decided he had some temporary swelling and this also showed in his hands and I have been very anxious ever since.  You see he had a slight murmur—not just during war but almost all his life—and that is what he was forbidden rough games.  And during the war his heart got jumpy partly by nervous anxiety having over-stimulated his pulse.  And he was told to drink beer to induce lethargy.  Well, I think beer is as bad as a too high blood count or as a quick pulse.   I consider it is a quack racket.

So do whenever you can let me know that he has lost football and lost puffy hands.  He was I think you will agree outwardly very nearly the perfect physical specimen when the war began.  He did not play games, but he fenced and even boxed.  He has still very healthy skin and always has had.

However, again, I don’t agree that I should just take it Jig and Pavla stopped writing because they didn’t want to write.  They were placed in such an unfair position that it seemed, for the moment, useless.  It is wicked the persistence with which dirty libellers  insist that we are merely disliked by our family of which they know nothing since before the war, and never knew much anyhow.  Again I say, why did Jig come to London?—because he cares for us.  Was Jig a hypocrite in being affectionate and good here?—NO!  And I’d like to smash whoever implies such a falsehood.

Yes, there may be congenial people here, but when you cannot leave the house because of lack of first dress, then stockings, and now teeth—to be fixed—you don’t meet anybody.  Beside the British are cold in some regards and you have to know them well, and Jack and I have been libelled here as well as there.

This country is church-run religious dilemma and the author of Escapade has not been published here since 1934.

DON’T DON’T DON’T please PLEASE send ham!  What good is damn belly-stuffing to us when we are deprived of every human reason for being.  Our appetites are good, but it is worse than wicked that so many Americans are incited to think Britain needs nothing but groceries, and culture going to put doesn’t matter.  It is a criminal misapprehension deliberately disseminated in the States.  At least six or seven friends appealed to for books and typewriter paper, have ignored appeal and sent grub.  NO.

Love  to yourself and Edgerton

  • * * * * *

To Evelyn Scott and Jack Metcalfe

Pitcher Lane
Red Hook, New York
July 7, 1951

Dear Evelyn and Jack—

Yesterday—July 6—a daughter was born to us, named Julia Swinburne Scott.  Vital statistics:  weight 7 lbs 12 oz, 19 inches long and perfectly formed.

We are all well though weary after a hectic time getting moved before the baby came.

Please stop worrying about mail—it all reaches us and registry is unnecessary and only harasses me with trips to the PO to sign, when I have plenty to do as is.  I’m just a lousy correspondent and that’s all.

Excuse horrid ink color and the scrawl—it’s hard to write in bed.

Love, Paula.

* * * * *

From John Metcalfe’s diary:

July 12, 1951: Heard from Pavla that she and Jig have another, – Julia. Born July 6th.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

July 25, 1951

Darlings

I go on being so grateful to Pavla for her letter telling me of Julia’s birth. She is, however, now nineteen days old and I will again be happier when somebody we know in the States has seen her mother and her father and herself and Denise Fredrick and Mathew and writes to me specific details as to them and their health and fortunes.

I consulted the map we have and located both Red Hook in Greater New York and Rhinebeck, which was the postmark on Pavla’s letter, and I do hope I am correct in supposing the Red Hook on the map is where Pavla is–though I couldn’t find Pitcher Lane, and just take it for granted she didn’t mean a hospital but the present family residence.

I think it was splendid to Pavla to write so soon, but I am naturally imaginatively sensitive to everything connected with Julia and her and Jig and the children, and I am also just hoping that Denise or perhaps Denise Fredrick and Mathew are visiting at Rhinebeck or somewhere in the country until Pavla can recuperate and Julia and her mother and father are settled comfortably in whatever home will be the family’s for the present.

I know New York summers and I hope the proximity of Red Hook to the water1 means at least some whiffs of sea air and some space outdoors for the children. I also do so hope my correspondence with you both will soon cease to be so one-sided. I’m not really a droning gran’mar, who goes over and over the same questions a million times! It is just that it is difficult to write natural letters until I am assured of natural and explicit replies that arrive here and are delivered to ourselves. If I had a letter once a month that really kept me aware of important happenings and was sometimes specific like this one of Pavla’s I would be much improved myself as a letter-writer. So I hope and hope you will see some mutual friends beside Gladys, who, as she invariably does, didn’t mention Julia, but bloody damn “advised” me not to inquire into the lives of the bloody damn “younger generation”.

Whenever our letter welcoming Julia is commented on, we will be very grateful to have the comment specific enough to leave no doubt that it went to the right address and that the address is not temporary.

Love again–I never want to pester with too many letters but I don’t really know what anybody there thinks about anything and I must assure myself that the non-Scotish Scotts–Jig’s Dad always included–know we are not indifferent but go toward them in spirit with whatever we have continually.

1This letter and several of those following is based on Evelyn’s assumption that Red Hook is somewhere in the greater New York area. Her 1920 edition of the Baedeker guide to New York showed a Red Hook in Brooklyn but not on the Hudson River.

Red Hook map

Modern map showing location of Red Hook [snazzzymaps.com]

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

[August 1951]

It would be best to know where Jig’s job and other normal information and stop fools gossip—please tell me

Darling Jig and Paula

The letters sent to Pitcher Lane may have reached you but I had been able to find on our old maps just one Red Hook, near Buttermilk Channel, Brooklyn, and thought you must be there, and Margaret De Silver wrote to Greater New York hoping to locate you and relieve your anxiety, and had no reply.  So I send this to Red Hook just discovered on another map as up near Rhinebeck and on the Rhinebeck, Philadelphia and Reading RR of 1910.  There is Red Hook and Upper Red Hook on this map, which is marked

I thought some friend going north in a car had mailed Pavla’s letter about Julia, and Gladys must be prompted by diabolists, because after I had carefully explained to her that Pitcher Lane was I thought in Brooklyn, she writes me “I have talked to Pavla on the phone and she has invited me to be Julia’s godmother”.  And not a word does Gladys say about my possibly erroneous conjecture, it was the most normal supposition to make as the map marked Catskills was not even noticed by me, so far from jobs did that locality seem.

It was so completely natural for Pavla writing in bed and not yet recovered from her confinement to have not thought of such a confusion as possible.  I love her and I love my son and I love her letter.  She may not have known—neither she nor Jig—that there were two goddam places—really three is the hell of it—Upper Red Hook, Red Hook, Dutchess County, and Red Hook Long Island.

But we are all sane so please do something at your end.

I won’t call Pavla “Paula” until there are no further complications about names changed.  I don’t see any real reason for it—none was ever given me—and endless torments must be ended and Pavla is the best name for writing.  Paula is a nothing name—female Paul I—nothing doing!  I’m sure Pavla can see this is the truth.

* * * * *

To May Mayers

[August 1951]

[Initial page[s] missing] And as I conclude those aspects of things which are not pleasant, I really must defend Jig and Pavla regarding birth-control, of which they know practically nothing.  It isn’t exactly a crime to have four children, as one set of extremists appear to suppose.  But on the other hand Pavla’s health and Jig’s are both strained at times by their responsibilities and their very love of the children for whom they would like to do their best.  They have immolated themselves for their children financially and have lived like monks and nuns at times—it is no exaggeration.  We know what they have endured.  They do not say this but I say it as spectator they have no guile.  And though you yourself—please not my dear May—say “I can’t believe Jig and Pavla do not know all there is to know about birth-control”, I wish to add that I very much doubt they do, little though it is.

When I was as young and younger than they “birth-control” was being advocated as you yourself know by conscientious and really “advanced thinkers”—though we don’t like the cliche label.  And as I had been ill in Brazil during most of five years and had a very painful childbirth and an operation afterward which was not entirely successful, I felt on returning to the States that I had a right to forestall any possibility of having further children who would be bound to suffer from my deteriorated health and the fact that we were again in the arts and poor.  But I never got any information that really could be called “birth-control”.  It should be medically backed as civilized sense public and legal and whatever doctors don’t know they should be allowed to learn.  As you know I had further sewings-up in the States and these may have resulted in what was tantamount to “birth-control”.  But I never got any candid advice anywhere, except once here in England when I was ill and discussed these things with Mr Norman Haire1 who believes as I do but had not any really guaranteed dependable “birth-control” knowledge, just conjecture based on experiments in Holland.   I asked every doctor I know—and though I did not know you when I first came to New York—I doubt you could or would have been any more informative as New York did regard birth-control information as illegal and its dissemination punishable—and this to me proved that New York was as barbaric as the Brazilian sertac.  I said so in 1921 and I say so again in 1951 in defence of mothers and fathers.

To me, the sort of pious vermin who sit about deploring normal sex lives and condemning families to starvation unless both parents are either monks or nuns or profligate, ought to be shot.  That is the essence of anti-birth control and it is crime.  I would not send people to jail for distributing birth-control but jail any doctor who withheld birth-control information were I the legal arbiter of my country.

Jack’s best and mine to the Mayers and especially May—especially all of you is how I feel.

1Evelyn’s gynaecologist

* * * * *

To May Mayers

August 6, 1951

Dear May

I think we have just had an orgy of rotten cross-purpose mail.

I was obliged to allow my teeth to get in bad condition because I lacked clothes shoes stockings—one summer it was one thing, on another,—and because it is humiliating in an atmosphere of rah-bottom-ing all the time admit to the lack of such necessities as Jack and I have had to, every so often.  The teeth were loose and I often shifted most of them with my finger.  But when it came to pulling, there was more difficulty.  They were hard to pull, and at moments no amount of whatever they use in the gums effected the normal deadening.  And when finally this was really achieved—and May will remember the codeine that wouldn’t work, though it was many years since I sometimes had to take syrup of codeine in Brazil when I was ill–when the essential deadening of pain was accomplished, I was given a temporary plate that as a fit is the cat’s pyjamas.

It was cast from the teeth that were all loose and out of their natural position.  I originally had regular teeth.  The plate first made in Santa Fe for two front that abscessed fell and broke and always dangled a little.  The second plate made because it broke didn’t fit and I never wore it if I could help it.  But the effect was approximately that of my originally nice teeth which were often remarked as I grew up as like those of my father the late Seely Dunn, whose teeth were really noted as perfection—as anybody who knew him thirty years ago and they will confirm this.

This bloody plate makes me nearly vomit—not aesthetically but literally—it is such a bad fit.  But is it probably a job-lot “type” of plate and I am now determined that the dentist make the permanent plate disregarding the teeth he pulled—of which he showed me the marks on the misfit, as if that proved anything.  It certainly explains the misfit.

So now I am as shut up as ever, because, damn it, I have no teeth except a few underpinnings below.

I tell you because of your public health position and your real interest in some means of improving public services without kow-towing to damn job-lotters.

The other issue I have in mind is birth-control which just must be made legally available and guaranteed as authentic in the States.  You know the love one has for one’s family insists on it, and not that maligning reverse dirty opponents try to put forward as argument—decent normal humans should not be asked to “choose” between trappist sanctums1, like Tom Merton’s, and normal sex life conjugal or not.  Has anybody recently resumed agitation for voluntary birth-control—voluntary birth-control to save the parents.  Parents have some rights in the world, or would if criminals didn’t butt in.  Jig and Pavla love Julia and so do we.  We don’t butt in, like crooks.  We would like to see them all more than just surviving.  It may sound nice to be a bloody “family tree” but individuals mean most and adult individuals must be first in decisions.  After all I love Jig and Pavla as well as Denise Fredrick Mathew and Julia and Jig is in the situation of one who must perform Herculean labours—he is not a “Hercules” and doesn’t wish to appear one.  This is for the doctor to do something about we think and there were some disinterested enough to really care at one time.  Here’s hoping.  Accidental sterilization I know of, and no harm results for women.  Voluntary however and not tote imposed.

Pavla is not a cow her health is the first consideration and her decision but the public issue is for everyone.  [Remainder of letter missing]

This must be a reference to the fact that Thomas Merton had entered a Trappist monastery

 

* * * * *

To Bernice Elliott

August 6, 1951

Dear Bernice

This is just a note to ask you to please try again to contact Creighton and Pavla and the four children.  You do not know whether Pavla received your letter or not, and we are almost certain she did not.

She and Jig were in a flat too small for three children and they moved soon before the birth of their second daughter and fourth child, Julia Swinburne Scott.

They are now in Pitcher Lane Red Hook New York which I think as I have consulted an old map we have, is in Brooklyn near Buttermilk Channel as there is a locality there so named and I can find no other in New York or in New York State.  I am almost sure I am correct and to have you see them and tell me precisely everything as to how they are and what the baby and the three older children are like and how all are as to health and this very especially—Jig normal weight and Pavla strong we hope—would be the most blessed gift you could bring—even more blessed than typewriter paper which we need and I would have asked you to bring but for baggage space.

Do do see them once for me please as an act of genuine friendship.

The best of good voyages on the best of good ships

Affectionately

* * * * *

To Bernice Elliott

August 6, 1951

Dear Bernice,

To say it is upsetting you sailed for Britain just at this time and made no further effort to contact Pavla and Jig when you knew you were to see me is disturbing even though you have written me you think libel at the bottom of rotten interferences with my communications.

Well, I hope you realize the family is, also, victimized financially, to some extent, by the fact that legal full information on birth-control guaranteed to be safe and certain is not yet available in the States as it should be, so that our bloody government leaves normal humans no choice between trappist sanctuaries and families beyond their means, I regard it as criminal that birth-control has yet to be legally accepted—it MUST BE.

I have no teeth whatever at present.  They were all pulled out but a few “pins” last month and the temporary plate is just partly ready and doesn’t fit at that, and I just hope you will not have a toothless hostess added to the shock of a white-haired transformation I mind less when you arrive here.

Would you like to stay in the “spare” room?  We would be pleased and the two pounds ten a week we have to charge for it not to get in a worse jam financially is probably about what rooms cost here.  The “festival”1 has not pursued us, but may you when looking for a hospice and you can be moderately comfortable here until you sail if you like and perhaps write some—can have the use of the kitchen and sometimes “chip” in for dinner which Jack likes to cook in recent years.

I am having precisely the same difficulties in getting anybody to show any human interest in my family at Pitcher Lane Red Hook New York, as in Rutherford, from which they moved because the flat was too small.  But it is possible when you yourself return to the States you can do something to SMASH SILENCE which imposes false aspects on natural human situations.  I hate people who are silent.  And I assure you Pavla and Jig are as opposed to silence as I am.  “Religion”—so-called—c’est de la merde!  Ca PU!  It is probably, in part, a consequence of my misguided attempt to become a Catholic, that this whole bloody mystery about nothing was started.  It reeks.  It is rotten.

This is my comment on poor Tom Merton and that ghoul’s hole he must be in.  I think most double entrendre unjustified, but I must say “trappist” sounds to me like short for “trapped”.  Jig probably agrees.  We saw the outskirts of that resort of tourists where they “commune with God”, and I can’t express how sleazy such a habit is.  And yet we are both convinced that Tom himself is good and genuine in consistence with his character when a child.

We like lovingness and goodness that is not contingent on politics and is the natural disposition of the most genuine of the writers and painters known to us—down and out is damn brutes.  We won’t be associated with brutes.

Evelyn

1The 1951 Festival of Britain was drawing large numbers to London, many of whom found accommodation in private rooms.

* * * * *

To Paula and Creighton Scott

August 6, 1951

I send the carbon of this to Greater New York so there will be no excuse for anything save straight delivery to the addresses.  Love Mother

Darling Jig and Pavla

We think continually of both of you and of the now four children dear to us, too, and of the lightening of your financial burdens and the best means of attaining this solution of your personal problems.

We would so like to know specifically which of my letters you have received.  One or two had gone to Rutherford shortly before you moved.  And I have already written twice in answer to Pavla’s letter announcing Julia’s birth and well-being and complete normality—which with the non-Scotish Scotts means bright too, young though she still is.

I was obliged to postpone pulling or filling teeth until now because of the need to restore my mangled book, and this past month has been spent in pulling teeth that, though hard to pull, had been so loose I moved them with my finger.  Most are now gone and I have been given a horrible temporary plate which is gummy doesn’t fit and makes me almost vomit whenever I try to wear it.  I can’t see why the dentist took an impression of teeth that were all out of natural place in order to have this cast.  It seems that is State procedure1 and it is rotten.  Every summer, since 1944, has been wasted indoors to some extent because of lack of clothes, lack of shoes etc, and now I have enough of these to appear publically I have no teeth whatever for the time—just a few under-pinnings in the lower jaw.  The casting should be made again and disregard these displaced pulled teeth—what temporary is based on.  It is inanity.  I had the teeth of Seely Dunn my late father and these were noted as even and pretty.  So I hope this evidence of London’s myopia in dentistry will soon be controverted by some good sense respecting dentures.

Now I know August is the month2 Pavla has her birthday—the birthday I have hoped with Jack to celebrate ever since 1944—preferably there with you both and the four children.  But as we aren’t there yet—damn it!—I am going to ask Pavla to celebrate with us here bye in the most unique sense by doing her best to supply us personally with copies of Jig’s best poems and with any poetry of her own she has been writing.

We love you and so hope the move is from conformity to small towns, and that there will soon be an end of anxieties.

It appears Evelyn’s dentistry was done under the auspices of the newly-created National Health Service.
Paula’s birthday was in September.

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

August 28, 1951

Dear Gladys:

I cannot  see what makes everybody who writes to us behave if there were a “skeleton” in our family when the one “skeleton” I know of is that until the war we were all recognized and established in the arts.

Are you bitten by this dead-eye-dick misinterpretation of every ordinary thing?—that’s the effect you give and that’s why we so often seem to disagree my dear Glad.

In the letter you were answering when you wrote on August the 8th, I mentioned Pitcher Lane Red Hook as the address of Jig and Pavla and said that I conjectured it to be on Long Island, as the one Red Hook I had then discovered on the maps of our old Atlas—it’s a Baedeker but we so use it and it is of 1910—the only one I had then discovered is on Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn.  As I took this to be the case, I also construed the postmark Rhinebeck, on Pavla’s letter about Julia as indicative of the fact that she must have given it to a friend with a car who lived up state where it was mailed.  And that she was not more explicit was normal of course, as she and Jig had just moved before her confinement and she was still in bed, and Jig had his job and three children as well as Julia to look after.

But I do wonder my dear Glad that you didn’t correct me if I am wrong, as I may be, because I have not found, on a map labelled “Catskills”—at which I had not glanced because I had already found Rhinebeck on the other map and it is not in the Catskills, which are far from jobs,—I have now found both a Red Hook and an Upper Red Hook on a railway that was once the Rhinebeck Reading Philadelphia and New England.  I have written six letters to Red Hook under the impression that it was in Brooklyn and one and maybe two were sent to “Greater New York”, and now I don’t know which were received, if any.  And I would not have looked through the maps again, had not Charlotte written me a terse postcard—her single acknowledgement of several letters sent to Sullivan Street NY which were about Julia and the family—just these words:  “Red Hook (Duchess County) congratulations”.

Is Red Hook in Duchess County?—second Red Hook, I mean.  Do you know anything in detail about them or their surroundings now?  Has Jig a job—we hope so.  We and most of all I here, have been in a hell of anxiety about Jig and Pavla their health and money for the four.

Why can’t people with common sense see that by falling for rot of which rumours that isolate us and my family are a part, they virtually hand us all over to criminal “police protection” which should be shot.  I know Jig is “nominally” free to write to me and so is Pavla, but actually every detail that has happened in their move to Red Hook is a repetition of the happenings of 1946 when Mathew was born, and they were broke and had no house.  And among the many things I don’t forget, is the fact that kuklux terrorists were active in North Carolina when they were there with Cyril.  And that even in the north Jig has had two experiences of intimidation and been rescued by his boss.

Churchiness has become antipathies to me so I am rather sorry to hear you will be a “godmother” but if Julia and her parents get any comfort out of it—tant millieur, though I doubt it.

Love to them and yourself.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

August 29, 1951

Darling Darling Darling Darlings

Please for humanity’s sake and ours relieve my anxiety about you as much as you can NOW.

I have sent six letters to Red Hook Greater NY—Buttermilk Channel Brooklyn—told several people I thought you had moved there—Margaret De Silver among them—and now have a letter from Charlotte—or rather just a postcard—in which she says merely

Red Hook Duchess County NY

I think this is wrong and my distress is acute.  I think bilgey and wicked rackets in America spread false rumours and attempt to divide families in this criminal way.

Please reply and explain please we love you so I think there are factions there to indite and impeach.

This post office thing has got too much to endure.

* * * * *

To Paula and Creighton Scott

August 29, 1951

Darling Darling Pavla and Jig

Are you at Red Hook Brooklyn or Red Hook Duchess County.  I have already mailed six letters to Red Hook NY one of them with the addition of “Greater” to New York and two relative to Pavla’s birthday and all to Jig’s health and Julia.

Please please please please elucidate the address.  That Pavla’s letter was postmarked Rhinebeck1 has added to confusion, because we cannot find any Red Hook near there on the maps we have—and if there are two in New York we should know which and how to distinguish them.

Charlotte Wilder sent Duchess County and I am now worried more than ever as she doesn’t explain why she thinks so—just your address with Duchess County added.

Lovingly, oh we do love you

1Rhinebeck is about 7 miles from Red Hook.  Julia was born in Rhinebeck and the letter Evelyn is referring to was posted from there.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

September 9, 1951

Darling darlings

Please do something about assuring me there is no more confusion of addresses.  Is your Red Hook in Duchess County?  You say you receive my mail and I don’t receive all yours, but how the hell do you know whether you receive all mine or not—I don’t know because your replies are not yet SPECIFIC ENOUGH.

I am worrying every minute about the health of all six, and though it may be said I don’t help by worrying, there is a limit to the applicableness of that comment.

You know the history of thefts that began with than damn medical article and pictures and paintings by Jig and by Cyril and Merton and others, and the theft of the mss of my French Revolution novel in Canada.  I think hanging and electrocution and guillotining would serve them right.

I don’t yet know specifically where to lay the blame, but you also know if you have all my letters about the extent to which clothes, stockings, shoes etc have kept me housebound year after year; and though Diana Winslow’s gift of a suit and coat this years coincided with shoes and enough stockings to go out in, the tooth-pulling and the plates that don’t fit have had the same effect as last-year’s lack of apparel.  So there is no time when anything could have been stolen except during those seven weeks of tooth-pulling and plate-fitting.  I had to go out then, and Jack had an extra lock put on the front door.  But one day I forgot the extra one and left just one on, so perhaps that is when it was.  The other was secure, however, and it is atrocious.  I wish the Governments would fall wherever thieving is tolerated, as it undoubtedly was in New York and in Canada during the war.

 

Have you any garden in the new place?  I have written Paula of the really lovely spring bloom in front of this house, prettier this year than ever before; and now one of the trees which never bore anything before—the small trees are cherry—has suddenly changed its sex and begun to bear plums profusely.  It was without any fruit last year, whereas last year the roses and hydrangeas and privet were really beautify, and this year not any flowers worthy of mention on anything.

Love and hope to six adult and young non-Scotish Scotts.

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

September 11, 1951

Dear Glad,

Your gift of paper arrived and we are very pleased and grateful, and that I do not use it here is really a compliment as the quality of it and the parcel Charlotte sent at the same time are so nice I would like to have Jack complete his book on them should it be possible.

Won’t you please tell me whether Jig and Pavla are near Rhinebeck or not?  Is it the Red Hook with the Pitcher Lane, and is there an Upper Red Hook and a Red Hook such as shows on my map of the Catskills?

If people are “mysterious” about mail or about their location, it is just the proof of everything I say about Jig and Pavla’s victimization by those who have libelled me and Cyril and Jack and probably Joe and Margué.  I should think anybody would see this was the case.  It is the sort of senseless hushiness which accompanied intimidation in my own experience of it in Grove Street in 1939.  I was definitely intimidated, and when I complained was at once inundated by “mystification”.  I thought it was the war, but after all, the war can’t go on forever and should never have done so in that guise.

Jig and Pavla and Cyril are the most candid people I know and Manly Wellman in that respect is like them.  I have never met anybody less given to dissembling unless it be Jack and myself and I must have normal straight-forward information for their good.

Dont say I “blame” you when I reiterate these protests.  I don’t, I just think if there is any more suggested hushiness it must must MUST be defied.

* * * * *

To Julia Scott

September 11, 1951

Dear Julia1

When Denise was just born I went to New York to see her and thought she was the nicest baby I’d held in my arms since Jig was her age and size.  And though I wasn’t in Nyack or the States, but in Canada, when Fredrick and Mathew were born–and I don’t remember for certain whether Fredrick was born in Nyack like Mathew or in New York–I soon went from Canada to see Fredrick and though he was the nicest little boy I’d ever carried in my arms since Jig, also, was one year and ten months old–about.  When Mathew was born, although myself and step-Gran’pa Jack were already stuck here in England and couldn’t go home to see him as Grandfather Scott probably did, Mrs Grant wrote me that Mathew was the nicest baby she had seen for a long time and that he looks very like Jig when his age, and this, you may be sure, pleased me greatly.  And now you are born, and the last of the four non-Scotish Scotts, I can’t think of little nicer than to be able to pick you up and kiss you on the brow and then kiss your sister and both your brothers on the brow as well.

Perhaps Mother and Father will preserve this until you are old enough to write the letter we have always hoped Denise and Fredrick and Mathew would send us.  And that they will send it, we continue to hope.  But when I think of you and the long lives and happy lives we trust all four will have, I feel I am gazing into the furthest future we personally can envisage, because you, being the youngest, though you won’t have a longer life than the rest, will probably outlive everyone and outlive all the silliness most people regard, today, as “very new”.  So your letter, when it comes, should be the wisest letter I ever had.

Ask Mother to tell me the sort of eyes and nose you have, the sort of hair and chin, and how fast you grow.  And don’t forget, as you begin to acquire teeth, that your Grandmother Evelyn and yourself were toothless at precisely the same time.

Your teeth will be the prettiest of us two, but all the family’s teeth are pretty I hear, and even mine will do very nicely for telling you again “we love you”.

Julia was 2 months old

* * * * *

It was clear that there was no way Jack and Evelyn would be able to find the money to return to the United States.  Next week we learn about the financial burden that was the house at No 26 and the effect it had on their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

36. Isolation

Evelyn and Jack were enduring a life of bleak poverty in post-war London, and her letters convey their difficulties. These letters are lengthy and sometimes incoherent, possibly because Evelyn, alone all day and unable to go out due to her proclaimed lack of suitable clothing, filled the time by doing what she knew best, writing.

A search of the various collections yielded only two letters dating from 1950.. Judging by the very large number of surviving letters from 1951 and 1952, it is fair to assume that she wrote a similar number in 1950.  After Evelyn’s death, Jack destroyed a large quantity of her documents because he could not bear to see her writing on anything:  it is likely that this included many of the letters she wrote in 1950.

The following sequence is a very small selection of the letters written during the first half of 1951.  These letters are lengthy, repetitive and sometimes incoherent, and have been heavily edited to reduce repetition.  Evelyn’s language becomes increasingly bizarre, reflecting her growing conviction that her letters were being intercepted by political forces, with the specific aim of keeping her from her family. In his unpublished memoir, Confessions of an American Boy, Jigg refers to his mother’s overweening self-obsession, to the extent that she was incapable of understanding or responding to another’s needs or point of view. It appears she could not comprehend that someone to whom she wrote would choose not to respond to her letters: ergo unanswered letters were being intercepted for vague political reasons based, partly, on the fact that she and Jack remain in London even though she is an American citizen.

The first letter picks up from shortly after Jig’s visit to London in 1950.  The family had been living  in Rutherford, New Jersey since November 1949:  it just happened that a former lover of Evelyn’s, William Carlos Williams,  a well-regarded poet and a  paediatrician who had looked after Jigg when he was a small child, also lived in Rutherford.  It is not clear whether Jigg knew this when the family moved, but Evelyn took the opportunity to ask her former lover to visit the family:  Williams never responded to her pleas. 

Evelyn kept carbon copies of most of her correspondence, including the letters in the collection.  As a result, very few of them were signed by her.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

For Pavla to forward to Creighton Scott–ask Pavla to smile at the length I could never write short letters. It’s because there is so much to say

26 Belsize Crescent
March 19, 1950

Darling Jig

Jack and myself do so hope and hope and hope your return to London promised on November 26th will be soon.

Your visit of November was, as I have written to Pavla, the brightest spot of the last bloody five years, since the damn war was supposed to end. And to find you so like your original self in your interests and outgoingness filled us with an optimism of which we were becoming almost incapable.  You revived up and the good job you made of things when you were here can’t be undone.  However, even if that hadn’t happened, we will never change toward yourself and Pavla and the children and your art and her talent.

We love you Jig darling we love Pavla-Paula1 (I am really anxious for her to write as Pavla because of Paula Snelling, Pavla is more completely her name to us).  We think politicians scum but there are the exceptions there too so we hope the Conservatives will get their majority and tell the truth about this and bloody that in a world which has got so rotten it could hardly be more so.

Have you been able to see any of the France you knew when you were a child?  We think of what a really good and delightful and unique child you were Creighton-Jig darling when we were at Banyuls and Collioure, yourself and myself and Merton, and when you were with myself and Jack at Cassis-sur-mer and in Algeria with us.

English spring is pleasant.  Do try it please.

1Paula was born in a Spanish-speaking part of New Mexico and was named Pavli, the Spanish form of Paula. She was known as Pavli Scott until it became too burdensome to have to explain the origin of her name.

* * * * *

To Creighton Scott

26 Belsize Crescent
January 1, 1951

Please please send me your address should you move as I need and must really have it for the Consulate here whenever I do there.  Please don’t throw me back on Gladys1 I don’t like asking favours and Jack and I are with Jig as Cyril is–our address in the States is Jig’s

Darling Jig

This is for Pavla too and I send with this in one envelope the birthday letter for Mathew2 which you will see is one of the jingles from the juvenile by me of which I still have one copy.  I hope Mathew will like both the jingle that goes with the book and the illustrations for the impromptu jingles not to be included.

We don’t yet know whether at least three-quarters of our mail to the States has ever been received by anybody.  And though during the visit of 1949 here, Jig said he “thought” “most” of the letters we had sent there to yourselves were received there was no way of checking on it and we had no real opportunity to discuss particular letters and identify them by content–especially as this sort of thing has been going on continuously since 1944.

I continue to think people we all used to know have been monsters–whatever their reason–in none of them so far having made so much as one gesture toward seeing Jig and Pavla and the children–all five of you–personally and giving me some first-hand information, as there are a few whose mail apparently is not stopped or obstructed–something that leads me to wonder if I have not–ever since I complained about the results of phoney–I think–“inquiries” into “subversiveness” in 1939–been on some kind of damn libellous “list”.  That is the single explanation that occurs to me of mail that apparently does get here in a few selected instances and not others.

We were given just a sketchy idea of events between 1944 and 1949, and when on top of that no word came from France after Jig promised he would be here again in two weeks, the impact has been a disaster to everything but love.  We love him and I love every one of you and we both really love Cyril as the best friend we ever had yet, and just discount whatever appears to have resulted in a breech we can’t yet elucidate.

I know we are every one sane and good individuals, and until dirty war politics impinged on our lives our lives were full of interest and achievement.  Please help to lift and remove the bann on both plain speaking and art, for we have every proof that there must be one.

We love you and our love is really indestructible but common humanity insists we know how rotten silence was imposed on our free human interchanges. We are not politicians but artists who think–and until thinking is re-encouraged in the States Civil

1Evelyn had been using Gladys Grant’s New Jersey address as her “permanent” US address. This request may have been another ploy to persuade Jigg to answer her letters.

2Matthew’s birthday was 26th January, when he would be 6 years old.

 

* * * * *

To May Mayers1

January 8, 1951

My dear May

This is to thank you and Lew for your Christmas gift.  This and my hope that you would see Jig and Pavla in person and relieve my mind respecting them are of great importance to me.

This you will grasp is to me very significant.   When Jig was here in November 1949 his physical aspect was so altered I would hardly have known my own son, though just five years had elapsed since I was in Tappan with him and Pavla.  And though the atmosphere during his five days in this house was affectionate and genial, he was plainly somewhat constrained in his allusions to the injustices and humiliations he and Pavla, who are just innocents, have had to endure since their marriage.

He is good and we love him and I know he is not changed actually.  But as I have said to many people, there is everything in my own experience to indicate that the books of Evelyn Scott were “listed”—perhaps by the Government—as not conducive to that bovine frame of mind unscrupulous commerce encourages2, and although the utmost quibbling could never discover anything “suspect” he and Pavla have actually suffered something on my behalf.

You, May, are the medico, and an advocate of the normal and perhaps you will tell me why you think Jig, who when I saw him in 1944, was muscular and in good condition as to weight should suddenly have gotten stout, and why even his nose didn’t look like Cyril’s as it always has, and why his very expression of the eyes was changed.  The very colour of his eyes has changed and their very shape—they were unusually large for a man, blue in which grey predominated and were deep set and very pretty and they are now blue—pure blue—or were in 1949—and do not give an impression of being deep-set or large, just average.  Could any medical monkeying in the Army have done this?  If so they are criminal fools.

Please tell me whatever you can you and Lew May my dear.
Our love

1May Mayers was introduced to Evelyn by Gladys Grant and was a long-term and loyal friend. She was a physician,working at Mt Sinai Hospital in New York and was often the recipient of Evelyn’s theories about medical issues.

 

2Evelyn was highly contemptuous of books which she perceived as having been written for financial return, not as “art”.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

214 East 18th Street, NYC
January 12, 1951

Evelyn dear

Your letter of Dec 11th has just been forwarded to me from Mt Sinai Hospital.  I regret to say that I received your previous letter, but I was travelling thru the State and so busy I did not get to answer it.  I

It seems too bad that somehow your contacts and correspondence with Jig has been so intermittent and unsatisfactory.  At such long distance I am inclined to think this is almost inevitable.  But it makes me sad.  I see no way to intrude into this situation, however.  I wish that Jig would keep you in equally close touch with his affairs. But you know how it is Evelyn, some people are better at that sort of thing than others.  I am sure he thinks of you a lot even when he doesn’t get down to the business of writing.

I hope the new year will somehow get you and Jack in the clear.  I wish you were not so far away.

Our best to you both
Love
May

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

Scotch Plains, NJ
January 15, 1951

My dear Gladys

Jack and myself were really glad to have your letter, and we think of you as we do of Dudley on every occasion likely to revive affectionate associations.

But we continue to be troubled by a constraint in your correspondence which we do not blame you yourself for, but which we must construe as a commentary on rotten conditions in the States.

I haven’t asked you to do anything for us since spring 1950–almost a year, now.  But notwithstanding your saying “I can’t do any of the things you want me to”, I am now asking you something again, because I think as my requests are every one sane normal human and reasonable, if you “can’t” execute them, it’s time you, too, did something to assist to make it possible for normal Americans to carry on normally with their lives and careers.

We have not yet ceased to have egregious criminal interferences with mail.  I think there has to be a check on it and this probably to take the form of more “police” trial.

I cannot even conjecture any reason why it is we yet have been unable to account for so many of our letters and have had no acknowledgement that they were received.  It is either the fault of supposed authorities here or there, but that phoney “probing” in the States, of which I had that sample so often sanctioned, leads us to infer the fault is more there than here.

Pavla has written me many letters I have never received though I did receive a single note sent here in October 1950, which advised me of Jig’s being home.  And as I have had very few specific acknowledgements of any letters sent to them and to other friends during the year, I am still in the predicament of not knowing whether to condemn the mishandling of mail by postal authorities as the cause of all this, or whether in some instances, people have not replied because they were otherwise badgered.

Can you see Pavla and Jig now?  I hope so.  I can’t see any sane sensible reason why an old friend of the family living just a short journey from Rutherford should find it difficult,, or even if it is, why that friend–who all her life has been humane and generous, should not be willing to make the effort to again relieve our minds completely.

In 1944, in bloody damn Tappan, he was, it was obvious to me, already being made alarming respecting myself and Cyril and Jack and our friends, and what I gather to have been intimations that we were blacklisted for Government inquiry as “subversive” because we do not write sheep-fold “literature” for low-level commerce and nincompoop “labour”.  And as the impression I had then was even more pronouncedly my own in 1949, and I also know he and Pavla must have been “pushed around” to some extent–perhaps in connection with us and Jack’s being British–it was a very severe strain on my poise when, on his leaving here for France, he did not return when he said.  And it has become still more a strain to not be allowed any correspondence with him and Pavla save those two notes, she of an entire year, neither informative save as to Jig’s re-appearance.

He is restored to radio announcing and there can certainly be no damn mystery respecting this.  But on every occasion of my writing to ask anybody we know who knows him to please go to Rutherford to see them, there has been no responsive move and ninety-nine-and-a-half-percent of the times no allusion to the request, afterward.  We must begin to be humans again NOW–we shouldn’t permit American to become a country of “psychological dog-trainers”–like these tote countries are!  Will you please try to see Jig Pavla and the children and tell me your impressions of them genuinely.

Please be our old Gladys and don’t be afraid to speak out against the stupidities inane fools aspiring to dictate must have attempted to impose on Americans–results prove it [remainder of letter missing]

1Evelyn was concerned always to have a “permanent” US address to give to the US Consulate in London.

 

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

January 15, 1951

My dear Jig and Pavla

It is preposterous we decent people with distinctions in achievement to our credit should be shoved, here by finances, preponderantly, into analogous and ambiguous positions.  It is rotten and intolerable.

We are so tired of political tyranny.  We hope for the change to Republicans but are without illusions and know the cultured men of intellect must go on pressing the rattybottom or peruna dregs of very party until tyranny ceases.

We think Jig should paint and write and Pavla write and every one of us should be revived and restored and we know even mentions in print will assist revivals.  It is black rot that during these three years since 1937 we have been treated as ghouls treat authors, who will not be forgotten or ignored an should be restored to the normal means of living and their normal careers and contacts now.

We would be so grateful for specific acknowledgements of specific letters.  I am now trying to think of something to enliven the mail for Denise in February.

Love is not all-powerful–damn hokey-pokey fake religiosity.  But it is high value in the world given over to hatred, and we do stand by our affections these cannot be shaken nor can our confidence in ourselves and yourselves creatively.

Our affectionate for yourselves we hope helps

Mother-to-Jig Evelyn-to-Pavla Jack-to-both and-anything-they-like-as-to-name-to-Denise Fredrick and Mathew

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

February 16, 1951

Evelyn dear

I have never answered a letter so promptly before—your letter arrived yesterday am!

What is important is what you say about Jig, Pavla and the kids.  As a mother, you can be very sure the situation you have been telling me about has troubled me greatly—far more than I was willing to admit to you, since I saw no way of doing anything about it.  But since you are really putting me on the spot, tho’ ever so gently, I will pick up the challenge and tell you a little bit more about it as it looks from where I sit.

Since you left for England, I have lost all contact with the mutual friends we had.  The one exception is Gladys—I have seen her once in 2 years perhaps for a brief visit and lunch, or something like that.

After receiving your previous letter however, I took the liberty of inquiring again about Jig and his family from one of your friends, explaining frankly that you were worried and that I wanted to give you some information.  I was informed that Jig and his family are all well, that he has had some difficulty in supporting his family, that the change in his appearance which you observed when he was in England, was probably the result of all those stresses and strains.  But I was informed that they are in no different situation from most families having several growing children to raise in these troublesome times of high prices etc.  Apparently Jig had hoped to improve his situation when he went to Europe, but things did not work out as anticipated.  Pavla makes a wonderful mother, the kids adorable and well brought up and cared for.

There it is in a nutshell.  Whatever block there is between you and Jig—as regards communication—is not, I am convinced, the result of any conspiracy.  Your politics, your writing, the British Labor Govt etc etc have nothing to do with it.  And mail in this country is never intercepted.  I am sure that whatever letters you write are delivered.

Otherwise, no special news.  I am glad you are well again and I hope you and Jack do keep well.  We are all find at present—but facing this troublesome world, with crisis after crisis, it takes courage to try to maintain a balanced and objective outlook.

Our very best to you both
Love
May

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

March 10, 1951

Dear Evelyn:

I don’t know what to write as you disbelieve what I say and accuse me of hiding things when I try to be absolutely frank.  That naturally leads to constraint and makes me put off writing–Perhaps the same is true of others and is the reason they don’t write either.

Now about Jig and his family.  Of course I see them!  I wrote you in detail when they were here about a year ago, i.e. Paula and kids, Jig was in Europe, and have kept in touch ever since.  The were over for Denise’s birthday celebration–all fine.  I haven’t seen them since but have talked on telephone.  The kids had the flu like almost everybody here, but not bad and were fine two days ago when I talked to Paula on phone.

Jig was pretty sick in Europe but is better now.  I can’t give details because they don’t want to talk about it and so I don’t know–He lost a bit of weight which I think was good.  So far as I know they are settled in Rutherford.  Like lots of the younger generation  they don’t like questions and withdraw from those who ask them.

I want to remain friends to you and Jack.

Gladys

 * * * * *

To May Mayers

March 11, 1951

May my dear

I am pleased that you thought my letter was “more relaxed”, my dear May, but I am sorry to say it wasn’t.  I am compelled by the incredible cold-blooded obtuseness of most of those dominant in Britain and America today to protest the conditions here and in the States which have been imposed on Jack and myself and Jig and Cyril and their families—I am compelled by my natural human feelings and by the sort of literary and financial impasses we have yet to surmount, to protest over and over.  If you were here or we could meet otherwise than in correspondence, you would have ample proof that I am NOT “tense” as a matter of “temperament” which can be put aside, but because we are still fighting for our lives every moment of every day.

What the hell am I supposed to think?  Talk about totalitarian oppression, it could hardly be beat in the sort of things that have happened during my seven years and Jack’s of attempting to preserve normal contacts and communications with our family in the United States of America.  I have never seen anything so rottenly evasive and whoever or whatever it is that has interfered.  And as for being “tense”, if I starting breaking up the china and hurling the bric a brac it would still be just the normal human reaction to such senseless atrocity respecti9ng decent normal human connections there.

So don’t ask me to just accept such a situation because I won’t.  We all know what low caliber minds have figured in American politics from the start.  I think these have been at work.  And I think they must have become for more brazen as a result of dumping foreigners in the States adlib.

So you see I disagree with your interpretation of these extraordinary silences about my family as not being connected with external aspects of things, I am damn sure they must be and criminally so.

Love to Dan and Lew us both

* * * * *

 

To Creighton and Paula Scott

March 25, 1951

Any news of you whatever does Jack and myself good, but Gladys recent note about you mentioned that Jig, when in France, was ill, I am distressed to think that happened when he was so comparatively near here and could have been so well taken care of by me in the room he was in here those five days.

I had asked May Mayers to go see you and find out how Jig is and think it would be good should she do so, but she won’t go unless asked specifically as a doctor, and so I just hope you’ll decide to ask her and relieve my mind and perhaps get some valuable help.

Jack has had to borrow again to get even a beginning on the [garden] wall that fell down.  Ninety pounds estimate for repairs, so I could have kicked that damn fund.  They are all alike—a lot of political fifth-rate hoaxers.  But I think a waterloo for the funds that are merely that is due.  They have spent billions literally on just stereotyping voters—what it amounts to.

Our love to yourselves and the children.  I am going to be a real grandmother to be proud of yet or but, tell them.  We just WON’T be licked nor will you I know and certainly Cyril won’t.

Jack’s love and mine

* * * * *

To May Mayers

March 28, 1951

May darling

Don’t throw up your hands when I appeal to you again.

Now May darling please know I really am imaginative toward you yourself and if I were the sort who can see people suffer and not turn a hair I would not protest these things to you.  But I have no one else in any sense associated with medicine to whom I can appeal.  Your brochures on industrial disease have now arrived and I am going to read them as soon as I complete this eleventh-millioneth typing of my novel mss—which will NOT be typed again honestly this time, as it is now clear.

And now Gladys, when I implore her to see the family—writes me in a letter of March 10th, as vaguely as ever.  She says “I don’t know what to write to you as you disbelieve what I say and accuse me of hiding things when I try to be absolutely frank”.  Well I HAVE JUST ACCUSED HER OF NOT ANSWERING my questions—that’s all.  I never at any time ever said I “disbelieved” her.  I don’t know where she gets such misconceptions unless she has neighbours who pump her full of guff.

I was glad to hear you were in touch with Gladys, I think she is very unfortunately situated in isolation such as has been “wished” on her by the isolation of her house.  I am not angry with her herself and have never been, but I don’t think she is using her imagination as she can when conditions are normal–that is to say when she is not heckled or harried, as she must be periodically to say such really stupid things when she isn’t really stupid.  And I think she has too much pseudo “legal” advice from a lawyer who has become antagonistic and unfriendly to ourselves–to myself and Creighton, at any rate.

She never writes except on these damn via air, self-contained envelope-cum-note-paper things–just one page and almost always handwriting so there is no room to say much.  And here is the rest of what she has to say this time in the letter that must have crossed yours to me or mine to you:

Jig and Pavla I know despise “youth guff”–it is for utter driveling fools.  Pavla has written me and I know she has, and her letters were not allowed to reach me and this is the truth as to Jig when in France also.

If I had the power to indite official mystifiers at any point I’d have ‘em hanged or electrocuted or shot.

There I stand myself and I think it probable that if the genuine opinions of the people I know best were obtainable now most of them would agree with me and my family would completely.

Affectionately

I have been twice x-rayed as a “TB suspect”1 and once was pronounced a “case” but the opinion was later revoked as a “mis-diagnosis”—and I am still alive and KICKING and my lungs are normal.

1Evelyn died of lung cancer in 1964. This is one of several references to possible problems with her lungs.

* * * * *

To Creighton and Paula Scott

April 1951

Darling Jig and Pavla

Darling Jig and Pavla when will I have your letters?  When?  We do love you so and Jig as artist has proven he is so completely worth saving for the fine arts and Pavla also, though she has just begun and he has accomplished considerable–to use an old-fashioned American phrase.

But as we all get well and we everyone have I hope there will soon be an end and an end of hushiness about whatever goes on that fuddles doctors as it evidently does.  You will remember Ingermann’s twice “diagnosing” me as a “cancer” patient, disproved by the Rockefeller Cancer Hospital’s real tests and no recurrences.  So what I might add is that they all seem to be  swallowing bee-bee, to all intents and purposes.  TS Eliot and Bevin had anal operations, which has included myself and Jack and Hall Bynner

It may be a “wonderful world”, but I think it is a helluva one just the same, and hope you will agree optimistically that it is.

Love and love and love

* * * * *

To May Mayers

Personal
April 29, 1951

May my dear

There is no “impasse” with Jig and his family my dear May.  I disagree with you about a “block within the family”.  I know how comprehending and good our relations with own family have been for every year of our lives until the war and there were no quarrels in the war.  But remember that Cyril’s autobiography which publically disclosed the identity of my father was virtually suppressed.  It was egregiously edited and distorted as regards our personal relations; and that he ever endured such editing can reasonably be attributed by those who know his character completely to the fact that he was financially pinched to the point we have been or worse at the time it was published—a pinching consequent not on him or ourselves but on political manoeuvrings in the book world and the art world.

This is guffy of course.  But I can see the pattern of libel in such a happening; and the fact that Jack is well-born1 and not scum probably figured.  I remember at “Yaddo” when the “dialectical” Jews among the guests jumped down my throat because I was a “Southern aristocrat”!  Well I was actually born in the South in a genuine ante-bellum mansion, but if they’d ever lived in Clarksville they might—if they ever grasped anything—have seen how ironically ludicrous it was as an “accusation”.

We my darling May don’t “gloss” anything unless you are bent on stirring my ire because when anything is “glossed” I feel like a fourth-of-July firecracker ready to explode.

1Jack Metcalfe’s family included minor gentry.

* * * * *

To Evelyn Scott

May 2, 1951

Dear Evelyn:

Sorry if you don’t approve of this paper1. I won’t inflict it on you after the present supply is used up. I use it because of its convenience and the saving in time and money–time because I have to stop and get each letter weighed and often have to make a special trip to the PO. Money because this is considerably less than the same amount of air mail stationery plus stamp.

I did not mean to say you accused me of lying in so many words. But time after time you have asked questions about Jig or his family. I have reassured you when I knew and you have immediately written or asked me to contact others to find out the very things I have told you. Or I have told you I did not know certain things, such as Jig’s whereabouts when in Europe, and you accuse me of reticence or lack of frankness. I realize you do not mean it as it sounds, but it shows a lack of trust which is hard to bear by an old friend. If you have shown the same to others who are less understanding, it is no wonder you receive no answers.

It’s no use talking about conditions so far away. I think they are very different here from what you think them. Things have changed a lot since even Jack was here, both for better and worse. But certainly there is no censorship on the mails that I have ever heard of. Sometimes everyone expresses their views too freely! We are all confused and I think the English are too, though I don’t feel competent to judge from across the ocean.

Love to you and Jack both–I’ll write again. Glads

1Gladys had been using pre-stamped air letters, commonly used at that time and until the 1970s

* * * * *

To Gladys Grant

Personal
May 20, 1951

My dear Glad

If I went into the chronology of our correspondence and you yourself read over my file of letters and questions and your replies and these dates of these indicating the time between my writing and your answers you would not say I was unreasonable. I am not. However, I don’t see why you should have interpreted this as “mistrust” of yourself. It is mistrust of a policy of evasiveness regarding most specific facts which seems to have become pervasive in America, like a sort of contagion. But I have never blamed you yourself, nor do I specifically blame the many others who have followed a policy of never replying to me or whose letters–so I know in a few instances, were either lost in the PO, confiscated thee under some pretext of “censoring”–wrong I think in communications to Britain–or were not delivered here because of factionalism in the PO either in the States or Britain.

Our finances here are as dire as ever. Jack has never been as discouraged as recently. He just hasn’t had the heart to write. And that is criminal. We do not want to be reduced to “turning on the gas”, but we would rather than be shoved from pillar to post by such conditions as the government here–probably dominated by uno’s extremists–have imposed on us. We will not be paupers. And that is that. But we can’t merely “exist”, and in order to live at all require both cash at once and the restoration of our raison d’etre in specific terms of art.

I have re-registered at the American Consulate and the preservation of my citizenship is prized by me and I am honestly very grateful that it is now grasped there that I am not indifferent to it nor is Jack but that we have been too broke to go home—home for me and home for Jack too should our lives become normal again and he be enabled to resume his quota residence. But we have been “economically” exiled. You cannot call it anything else. The furthest thing from our thoughts when Jack was re-patriated during his war service, was to be stuck here as we have been and not allowed any “choice” whatever as to how long we remained.

We can easily be saved and if and when we are well and good–anything else is murder.

You are our good friend Glad or I would not confide. I am very clear in distinguishing you and your character from surroundings and such changes in the States as have been for the worst. The competence of generals in military spheres is one thing and important no doubt, but there are problems at home there as there are here which require the first attention and get very little.

Our very real love to you and everything good and genuine to yourself. I appreciate every one of your helpful moves.

* * * * *

To May Mayers

Personal
May 27th 1951

My dear May

Jack and myself grow increasingly desperate about getting home to the States—we will just die here as a result of “economy” unless something is done for our books there.  I call it murder.  We have been economically exiled and it is preposterous to say we were ever allowed any choice about it.  We may move before long to cheaper quarters and sublet this flat—once it is repaired—but we are still having to mend the garden wall that collapsed last summer, and the law about taking out money should we sell it would have to be abolished for any sort of sale to be worthwhile—it couldn’t be very profitable in any case unless the mortgage were paid off.  I’ll let you know if and when we move.

So you see again when you say we “isolate ourselves” in England you are not as accurate about me as you are about medicine, I here quote your own words May darling.

Well you will see that the financial pressures that have compelled us to remain in a veritable slough of despond, unable to buy more than postage stamps and certainly not boat fares, are scarcely to be classified as our “choice”.  Don’t forget that when Jack went over in 1947 to maintain his quota and tried to get a job to bring me over there—me born there—he didn’t succeed and had one substantial offer after he was on en route home.  Jack is qualified to teach as very few of those who “thrive” in our robot system of “education” are, but it cut no ice.  He is honours in philosophy University of London and has also much experience in teaching higher mathematics and every sort.

We just go on fighting and hoping so please you do too.  I know Jig and myself and Jack and Cyril and Pavla and the children will meet you and Lew and Dan on the old footing eventually, and just hope before long.

Affectionately

Please don’t forget—regarding legalities—how unjust every repercussion of libel about me and Cyril has been on Jack and on the Jig of Escapade.  They were even less responsible for any result whatever of our elopement of 1913.  Cyril’s divorce from me as his Common Law wife secured in Chichuaua County Mexico is legal and was witnessed by the US Consul there.  We are not renegades who ignore responsibilities.  And if you were Jack and had been as good as he has to both myself and Jig as Cyril’s con and my son and had lived in the States as he and I were in 1930—well, May my dear you too would find some of the things we now know have been said about us very embittering.  America ain’t perfect, and you know it isn’t!  I speak as an old old American—so old I can claim Bunker Hill and early Virginia.  I dont because it also has been made a guffy cause, but I know my America.

* * * * *

To Frederick Scott

Personal
May 27, 1951

Dear Freddy1

As your father when little Jiggie–or Jiggeroo–was very much interested in collecting stamps I take the liberty of supposing you probably are also interested and I send herewith a few stamps from old letters I have received here for which I hope you have an album. Or if it chances Denise is the collector, you can hand them on to her please.

I hope my letters reach you and Papa and Mama and Denise and Mathew because I write to every one of you and very seldom have any reply, though I know Mama and Papa have complained there that some letters sent me here were not received.

“Gladys”–Mrs Grant–has written me of having seen you three children and Mama and Papa recently and she says Denise is sweet and pretty and Fredrick is as pretty as little boys have a right to be and Mathew is very pretty as–being the last and youngest–he should be, whether girl or boy. And she also says you are three bright and good children–and Fredrick is the most interesting little–but no longer very little–boy she knows. I am sure you are growing up at such a rate that I and Stepgrandpappy Jack are the more eager to get back to the States before you are grown completely so we can be acquainted with you as children too.

Give Mama and Papa and Denise and Mathew and your own Grandfather Scott our affectionate thoughts of them.

And please please do write to us one of you NOW.

1Frederick, Jigg and Paula’s second child, was 8 years old when this letter was written

* * * * *

In the summer of 1951 the family moved to a house in Red Hook, a small town in the Hudson River valley about 100 miles north of New York city.  Next week, Evelyn attempts to locate the family.