Sunday, March 18, 2012

from Rosa Morgan to her mother, 25 January 1942

New York City
25 January 1942, 9:15 am

Dearest Mom, et al

Again at CBS, just finishing the night’s work. This seems to be the only place where I can light long enough to write a letter still, but Friday begins my life of leisure and all will be different then. At least it will be a little different. Murray plans to use me as a “leg man,” covering the campus for his Herald-Tribune job, and I plan to take shorthand and typing in the evening, plus a course in all branches of photography which is offered to journalism students as part of the Columbia course. The photography is expensive but might prove useful. I look forward with the greatest pleasure to the end of my proofreading duties. ...

I think I left you last week at the point of beginning Christmas Eve with us. To begin with, it turns out that I am married to Santa Claus himself. Murray gave me everything a girl could want for Christmas including atmosphere. 

When I got home from Howard and Judith’s, Murray was beaming proudly over an apartment that practically glittered, it was so clean and orderly. It was a matter of bringing order out of chaos too, because I had been too busy with Christmas shopping and wrapping packages after work to do any housecleaning. I just settled myself in a chair, at his bidding, while he piled up packages around me, all wrapped by his own pretty hands. He got most of my things in the same little shop that your bed jacket came from, and he bought all the things I insisted were impractical when I gazed at them in the window. And they were impractical too, but so pretty: ice blue satin lounging pajamas with a house coat to match (for Rosa who barely has time during an evening to wash her socks and cream her face) and a huge, bright red wool purse with monogram in gold, mittens of red leather and white fur (my greatest joy in this city of icy winds), a red suede jacket with a knitted beige back and sleeves, with a plaid skirt to match. Also two albums of phonograph records, Rumanian Gypsy music and Yugoslav folk songs, and a book. And a wonderful Christmas card with tickets to see the U. of Washington basketball team play NYU in Madison Square Garden… along with tickets to a very good play on Broadway, “Angel Street,” a mystery, very English with little action but lots of atmosphere. It was our first, and only, play since the one Clare Boothe [Luce] gave us tickets for when we were here two years ago, on my birthday. …

Having disposed of Christmas we are still a long way from being up to date, but I had better mail this now and begin again. … 

I told you that I leave Prentice-Hall only to go to work 7 days a week for Murray, in the field I mean, not in the house. Besides wearing my legs down to the knees, and having a lot of fun, getting interviews and material for his Herald-Tribune stories around the campus, I attend his lecture classes and take notes for him, with the professors’ permission, while he is working at CBS. Needless to tell you that is the purest pleasure. The Monday class is in small-town journalism and although that group is made up exclusively of smart cookies, I feel about as competent on that subject as any of them, having had close contact and a vital interest in an example of it for over a year.

Did I tell you that Murray had an article on Heinrich Heydrich [Nazi general nicknamed "The Blond Beast." He was killed by a Czech partisan in June 1942] in the magazine “Who,” last issue? They pay very little, but it has a large circulation. The story is under Howard’s [Howard Daniel] name for practical reasons. At work on his news broadcast at CBS the other day, Murray had a chance to work in some quotes from the article, giving full credit to the source, which will give it publicity to a few million listeners and may help to sell it to Readers Digest which does pay well. A couple days earlier my love arrived at the studio just in time to see one of the stories he had written the night before at the newspaper office coming in on the AP wire, so he put it in the broadcast program. Nothing like booming your own stuff, we say.

Murray and Rosa