Please forgive the personal references here, but they are the sources of my information.  My grandmother and Henry Luce’s (Time Inc.) were closest cousins.  Both my father and Luce were members of the Yale class of 1920.  I met Luce once when I was working at one of their reunions of which my most vivid memory was a member who asked me to bring him a highball glass of bourbon each half hour — without ice.  Had worked for Time Inc. one summer and was turned off that as a career and Luce as I met him.

My subject here is my window on the Yale of the 20s and 30s which occurred under weird circumstances.  I had been exhausted by the end my sophomore year and had sought an easy summer job which would allow me to catch up on my reading.  Someone had steered me to a retired Yale English professor who said that all I would be asked to do would be to drive him and his wife around to do some shopping on the Cape and a few chores in return for which he would tutor me in his field, Shakespear.  It sounded great.

What I discovered, however, was the social atmosphere of their era in which they were still immersed.  Their ‘servants’ that summer were Peggy, from Ireland, vastly overworked and underpaid and me.

My first day they asked me to clean their bedroom — mop and dust — not mentioned as part of my job.  I did so and Mrs. X came to check with white gloves which she ran over all surfaces.  She found some dust on a ledge on a wall which she told me should be properly cleaned in the future.

My life was scarcely as bad as Peg’s, however. She really worked six and one half days a week cooking and cleaning for innumerable parties — she had to prepare the meals for her half day off the night before. Many courses were required of her each evening.  She would spit in the soup just before she delivered it.

So far as my learning of Shakespear was concerned, X, the son of New Haven Banker, asked me to count Shakespeare’s use of some irrelevant terms in a play — he was then quite senile and so ended my studies.

I did do one favor to the animal world.  Their ‘baby’ was a vicious dachshund that would bite anyone with impunity until he made the mistake of jumping up and grabbing the hand of the wife of the ex-president of Yale at a dinner party and not letting go until shaken loose.  They said they would put him away.  I offered to train him not to bite which I did — at the risk of a few bites.

And so I learned what the master servant relationship had been back then — WOW!

My most exciting event was when they sent me to get their mail in the middle of a hurricane.  Figured it might be exciting dodging the falling trees.  Had to report back that the windows of the post office had blown in, so it was closed.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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