23 August 1956
Our 15th wedding anniversary. The highlight of the evening. We had dinner after Kurt’s presenting me with a beautifully packaged gift of underpants (by my desire for an anniversary gift instead of flowers).
Kurt, Nancy, Billy and I were sitting at the Log Cabin [restaurant] waiting for the main course. Billy, as usual when the occasion presented itself, was playing with the candle set on the yellow and white checkered tablecloth-covered table. We accused him of being a firebug and arsonist. He agreed and went on to inform us his hero was Mrs. O’Leary’s cow.
Taking a ride on the way home the long way, Nancy and Billy went over their own futures – Nancy announcing she was going to be a farmer’s wife. Billy pronounced he was not contemplating marriage – too expensive! He was going to have a bachelor’s home and Nancy and Billy discussed the size and furnishings of Bill’s future abode.
Remarks I remember:
Nancy: What do you need a library for if you are not married and won’t have any noisy children? All you need then is a card table and chair in the corner. A bed? – You can have that.
(After a discussion about a rather fancy bachelor’s quarters)
Nancy: Now that you have had your luxury – let’s cut off two rooms . . . etc. etc.
Finale: Bill read until 1 AM. I fell asleep. Kurt chafed. Marriage has its moments of frustration. Your life is not your own when you have children and you’re bound to feel frustrated if you don’t have a philosophy to cover recognition of the fact you might just as well accept it when the chess play is against you. It really isn’t the end of the game.
16 August 1956
There is a definite difference between “blind submission” and “intelligent cooperation”. The first idea implies a kind of hypnotized state without active thoughtfulness on the part of the individual. By “intelligent cooperation” I mean an effort is made on the part of the individual to understand what is involved, and evaluation as to the part the individual is called upon to play – and once that part is understood and accepted – then a positive acceptance – (not necessarily an aggressive acceptance) of the role, to the best of one’s ability within the framework of the individual personality, [one] is called to play.
This whole process of “intelligent cooperation” could cover anything from the most casual mental acceptance of the thought to the most positive mental exertion and physical action. It actually implies the concentration of all one’s faculties primarily upon the essence of the moment’s and anything that is of consequence at that moment – even if it is consideration of the past, present or future.
This idea of “Let me live in my house by the side of the road and be a friend of man” of Edgar Guest’s is a fine thought. However, for myself, I would prefer to walk among the multitude and be of some value to man.
Acclaim and reward from other human beings is what the worldly man hankers four. He is not sure of any value within himself or does not believe he has any valid reason for existing simply because he exists.
14 August 1956
Words – and sometimes groups of words – gather around themselves often a kind of emotional meaning. These emotional meanings attract certain types of attitudes, after a time, to the word or words. After a time, these attitudes become stereotyped so that as soon as a word or words are spoken – and emotional attitude or emotional habit – response arises. No matter thoughtful examination is given to the word or words – only a habitual response.
Perhaps without our knowing it, we fall in to closed grooves and no longer examine the word or words which create habit responses.
To clarify this idea more, I will try to be more specific as to words. I am thinking of such words as:
- status quo,
- survival of the fittest,
- law of the jungle,
- self-made man.