20 Lennox Place,
Maplewood, N. J.
April 15, 1924
No one realizes, better than I do, the truth of the old adage: "Procrastination is the thief of time." This letter was to have been written for the C. C. C. nearly one year ago and it is not because I have received no "daily reminder" that it has not materialized before this, but my delay may be explained by the familiar excuse, "lack of time," and may also be illustrated by the above saying.
William has told you much about us; and I will add that we are occupied with various interests most of the time. We are both connected with the Methodist Church in our town, which is in reality, -- a Community Church, -- and stands on the corner nearly opposite our home. William sings with the men on special occasions and is a member of the Men's Club and other organizations of the Church. The writer is especially interested in the Missionary work of our Societies and we are, of course, in sympathy with improvement affairs and general betterment. We are members of our local New England Society which holds very interesting meetings, and there is also a very fine Country Club here with tennis, golf and bowling advantages. With home keeping, outside interests and occasional trips to the city for me, we keep quite occupied.
Doris is now speaking for herself in this volume; we miss her presence in the home very greatly; but keep in touch with her all the time. She is a regular and explicit correspondent and this is a joy to her parents and to her grandmother, who is with us.
Last summer, "we three Selphs" boarded our faithful old car one beautiful morning in July and started from Mt. Tabor1, where we summer, for Tioga County. If I were to go into details of the trip, I should occupy much space; but during our two weeks' stay in Pennsylvania, we made very many calls and visits and were dined and treated royally by the Cousins, one and all. We always visit the farm, -- "Uncle Allen's farm," where William was born and spent his early boyhood days, and "Aunt Mary Ann" has become a familiar name to Doris and to me. The beautiful views up the valley and glen, I always delight in feasting my eyes upon, and they are equal to many which are much further distant. In fact, I think I appreciate
picturesque Cowanesque Valley; and do not wonder that your thoughts turn back often to the "old" home.
Once, I visited Aunt Phoebe's farm in the autumn when the foliage was gorgeous and I have never forgotten. And the view from Cousin Ann Owlett's farm is very fine. I might write on indefinitely and describe many more pictures which have painted themselves in my memory.
This past year, we had the opportunity to add largely to this mental
picture gallery, for we have just returned from Washington where we, or
rather I, have been getting acquainted with Cousin
Jennie Bosard, Mary
husband, Florence, and Austin.
We have been travelling [sic] about the
city together for several days, trying to "see everything." Perhaps some
of the Cousins will not object if I tell about a few of the "sights";
for it is very difficult for me to write a letter just now and not talk
Last Thursday, we arrived at the fine Union Station in the late
afternoon and went directly to Cousin Jennie's house. In the evening,
Mary and her husband took us out for our first glimpse of the Capitol,
-- our Capitol It is a
wonderful sight! Standing on an elevation, majestically proportioned,
dignified and commanding, and lighted by many searchlights thrown upon
it, it shines forth out of the darkness like a marble palace. its dome,
towering high, may be seen for miles around. Later, we visited the
interior of the Capitol; here, we saw the historical paintings, and
statutory hall and sat in both Houses of Congress while in session. This
is a most interesting place to visit; here is transacted the affairs of
our nation for weal or woe. There came to us, a new realization of the
great responsibility which rests upon those who represent us there, and
our responsibility in
choosing such representatives wisely.
It is practically impossible to describe the beautiful library of Congress, located opposite the Capitol, and built of New Hampshire and Maryland granite. Here we saw the Copyright Office, a reading room for the blind, wonderful rare books, pictures and statuary. The beautiful Italian marble staircase, the great reading room with its dome encrusted with white and gold flowers, the mural paintings and mosaic picture of Minerva are well worth a journey of many miles. Many quotations are lettered in gold on pillars and walls and like the following illustration are well worth remembering:
"They are never alone that are accompanied by noble thoughts."
* * * *
"Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know, are a substantial world, both pure and good."
* * * *
A few weeks ago the original writings of the Declaration of
Independence and the Constitution of the United States were placed in
the Library in beautiful cases; and were glad to view these important
documents of our country, now located permanently and fittingly.
Of course, we made a pilgrimage to Mount Vernon where we could picture
our first President, returned from the turmoil of war and public life,
standing on the piazza looking across the peaceful Potomac. This is a
beautiful home and you would enjoy seeing the many relics. The key to
the Bastille, presented by Lafayette; Washington's dress sword, the
harpsichord of Nellie Custis and many other things. It is here that
Washington died; and we looked into his room and into that of Martha
Washington, -- away upstairs, -- chosen by her because from the little
window she could see her husband's burial place. We stood before their
tomb where were the wreaths reverently laid by General Joffre and King
Albert of Belgium; and we wished that all Americans might have the
opportunity to visit our American shrines. In Alexandria, we sat in
Washington's pew in Christ Church.
More than sixty thousand soldiers have been laid to rest in Arlington
Cemetery2, and an impressive sight is the row after row of
simple, white stones which mark their graves. Here lie many of our boys
brought from France and here also is the tomb of the Unknown Soldier,
just outside the beautiful, dignified, marble Amphitheater which seats
five thousand people out-of-doors. From this point, there is a fine view
of the Washington Monument, which towers more than five hundred feet
above the city and may be seen from every point in Washington. One never
loses sight of it.
The Bureau of Printing and Engraving turns out our Liberty Bonds3,
postage stamps and paper currency and we saw several of the processes.
Then we visited the Green, Blue and East rooms of the White House and
looked also at the new painting of Mrs. Coolidge, which is very lovely.
In the gardens, hyacinths, daffodils and tulips were blooming, robins
were gaily hopping about, indifferent to their notable surroundings, and
as we looked upon the green lawns at the rear of the house, we could
see, -- in imagination, -- the children in Washington following the
time-honored custom of egg-rolling on Easter Monday.
The National Museums are interesting; and the men Cousins would hie at
once to see the exhibit of African animals collected by Roosevelt4
and the models of steam engines, boats, and relics of the World War;
while their wives would look interestedly at the gowns worn by the
Presidential wives and at the collections of samplers, old laces and
I almost forgot the Pan-American Building. You would all be delighted
could you step into the entrance which is a facsimile of the one found
in a South American home,- with its fountain in the centre, surrounded
by palms and other Southern trees, and birds fluttering around. The Hall
of the Americas is most beautiful; and the adjoining smaller room, with
its long table surrounded by chairs significantly united with red, white
and blue rope, is the monthly meeting place of representatives of
The Lincoln Memorial is beautifully situated in Potomac Park. The
enormous seated figure of Lincoln there is said to be one of the best
statues of him ever made. The simple beauty of this memorial cannot fail
to leave an indelible impression on all who see it.
On Sunday afternoon, our Cousins took us to see the National Soldier's
Home, Rock Creek Park which Roosevelt loved and enjoyed so well, and the
last resting place of Woodrow Wilson; from this high point, there is a
wonderful bird's eye view of the City.
Now, I am going to give a recipe to the Cousins who have said at
various times that they are tired of winter and want to see spring come.
On Sunday, -- the Springtime came to Washington in all its glory!. Buds
burst open, flowers bloomed and most gorgeous of all, -- hundreds of
cherry trees from Japan which surround the Potomac basin
burst into pink and white bloom all at once, -- great bouquets of flowers. Never have we seen such a wonderful floral sight; it was difficult to turn away from its beauty; but we gazed and gazed until a picture was indelibly painted on our minds and we shall never forget beautiful "Cherry Blossom Time in Washington" Now, don't you all want to visit our "National Capital City in Springtime?
And, -- we saw our President, -- Calvin Coolidge. And, we hope when we
again visit Washington, -- perhaps next year, -- we will still find him
in the same capacity, Chief Executive of our Nation.
Well, we finally awoke to the fact that our visit to Washington was
over for this year, and we boarded the train for our homeward trip.
The next morning, when I looked out of my window, I discovered that
spring was on its way to Maplewood too; for I beheld my long row of
golden daffodils all blooming in our garden; -- my wealth of gold, -- I
call them. We are now "settling down" to daily tasks with many new
scenes and pleasures to think of.
You are undoubtedly saying that I have taken more than my share of
space in this book, but you see, I am making up for lost time and this
letter is a year in length.
It comes to you with best wishes for "Health, Hope, and Happiness" to
you all from an "in-law."
(See Following Page)
P.S. You know a letter is always more valuable when it adds a postscript. I brought a copy of "The American's Creed" home with me from Washington. There may be some of us who have not read it in just this form and if our Secretary [her husband --- wbt] will permit, I am going to request that it may be added to my letter, and I am also going to request my daughter to learn it by heart.
E. L. S.
* * * * *
THE AMERICAN'S CREED
I BELIEVE in the United States
of America as a government of
the people, by the people, for the
people, whose just powers are derived
from the consent of the gov-
erned; a democracy in a republic;
a sovereign Nation of many sovereign
States; a perfect Union, one and insepar-
able, established upon those principles of
freedom, equality, justice, and humanity
for which American patriots sacri-
ficed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty
to my country to love it, to sup-
port its Constitution; to obey
its laws; to respect its flag,
and to defend it against
- Wm. Tyler Page
Copyright © 2001, 2013, 2015 Wm. B. Thompson. Commercial use prohibited.