Wednesday, December 22, 2010


So many charities write to me lately.  It is sensible to make donations now, if you  are ever going to, because you can take it off your income tax.  It's tough to decide which worthy institutions to support.  The Salvation Army is a no-brainer.  So are the Delaware Symphony and the Delaware Art Museum.  WRTI, which I listen to all the time.  Second Harvest.  Doctors without Borders.  All of these can be sure of a check.

Then there are those which set off alarms.  Boys'Town?  I don't think they need me.  Likewise the American Red Cross.

Today I got a solicitation  which caused me no hesitation at all.  Last Summer I visited the Edna St Vincent Millay Society, which has taken over and is preserving the home of, guess who?  Not to keep you in suspense, it is Edna St Vincent Millay, she of the candle that burns at both ends and other soppy poetry.  As a general rule,  the poetry of authors who use three names is seldom first-rate.  But I digress.

We took the tour, which certainly revealed some insight into the lady.  Edna was an interesting woman, a beauty who married a rich man but did not let this stand in the way of  taking many lovers. If the husband could live with this, it didn't bother me.  She wanted things her own way, and more or less got them.  No-one could disturb  the order of the books in her study, for instance.

The most interesting thing I took away from the tour, however, was that she instructed the servants not to speak to her (or her husband) without being spoken to first.   I wonder whether they had to tug their forelocks when responding to her, or whether a dignified bow would do?

Somehow I don't quite feel like donating to the upkeep of her home.  I'll stick to the Salvation Army.


Anonymous said...

ha! her conduct with the servants reminds me of one former boss/owner of the small arch. Co I worked for this Fall.

He was absolutely shocked when I said something he ordered me to do can not be done in the set amount of time, that I needed 2more hours to do it properly.

he took me aside, red in the face, and whispered, in chocked rage: "Nobody says NO to Brad!"

miriam said...

First rule of bureaucrats: Nothing is impossible for someone else to do.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mind that -after all, he was paying me for doing something he couldn't do (drafting on CAD, among other things)

But his absolute sincere shock that someone in his employ dared to contradict something he uttered!

There was more to the story: I then asked what is the approved way to tell him something can not be done. And he said: the correct way is to say "Will do, Brad". And when, inevitably, there is no time to finish the task? Say "I am very sorry, Brad", stay overnight and finish it on your own time!