30 April 1957

30 April 1957 (What I have talked about with people)

1. Gas Co. put in pipe lines – our neighbors cannot wait until the contractor puts in the lawns. They are impatient, cannot stand to let the ground settle – wives (Mrs. Groan forces Mr. Groan to dig up grass.)

a. Women are tyrants?
b. What chance has a man when a woman makes up her mind?
c. Women always get their way.
d. What chance has a man against a determined woman, even though she is wrong! Mr. Groan submits to putting in the lawn – can’t wait for contractor – spend three days putting in lawn (because neighbors did). Rain causes ground to fall into holes.

Moral: Women should learn more patience.

− Women are unreasonable
− You can’t argue with a determined woman; you just don’t have a chance!

Mrs. Groan’s argument will be: “Well, at least it looked better during the time we were waiting for a contractor.”

Women are perfectionists.

22 April 1957

22 April 1957

My children are quite critical of their parents these days – as teenagers I guess it is the breakaway pattern from childhood. Just as leaves force through the hard shell into foliage, my children are pushing toward independent adulthood. Kurt and I are no longer the infallible ones. In fact, we are idols of childhood dependence to be challenged, criticized, and for the time to come discarded as imposters full of error, no redeeming qualities and of doubtless value – as outmoded as paper dolls or the oracles of the Greeks. It is a breakaway pattern into their own separate entity.

My, are we the impossible parents! So full of faults almost anyone has more sense and Kurt and I!


If we never faced the challenges of life – instead attempt to run away from them and hope they will disappear – we become victims of the inevitability inability to accept challenges – to think ourselves through environmental handicaps.

13 April 1957

13 April 1957

Per discussing the “books” given by Boards of Education with Kurt and Blanche yesterday evening.

Blanche: They talk about more money to pay teachers’ salaries: stop the Board of Education from supplying books and the board will have plenty of money to pay teachers. A good bit of graft in book business deals with board. Taking them out of public financing, the public does not know what is going on – If parents see new books their kids bring home that are not better than the books the youngsters is discarding – the parents holler. Under the Board supplied idea of books – parents are removed from the immediacy of the situation and it is difficult to evaluate. Also – when parents who do not buy books – no vested interest – the kids are not proper taught proper respect – and that parent loses touch with his child’s learning, even if interested – the gap widens between child and parent – parent and school.


Responsibility is heavily insulated from the need for responsibility because responsibility is not made a personal concern.


Blanche feels this book giving started during the depression. At that time there was a need for it – now – with most people earning what they do – we are far removed from depression days.

For family is really in need are always given free books very quietly.

From: Profit in the Wilderness (story of Albert Schweitzer):

We have to wrestle with conditions so as to make sure that men were imprisoned and work, and being worn out by it, may nevertheless preserve the possibility of a spiritual existence. We have to wrestle with men, so that, in spite of our being continuously drawn aside to the eternal things which are provided so abundantly for our age, they may find the road to inwardness and keep it. We have to wrestle with ourselves, and with all and everything around us, so that in time of confused ideals, ignoring every claim of humanity, we remain faithful to human ideals, transplanting them into the thought of our own age and attempting to realize them.”


Europe in the busy years following the armistice, when he had first found himself as a lecture and concert artist, capable of restoring his ruined African enterprise. In that world he saw the world driving to fresh disaster all the tendencies toward downfall and the decay which he had noted and deplored 20 and 30 years before.

The flight from rationalism, the flight from thinking, had for a generation been bad enough in all conscience, but never had there been such organized efforts by social, political, and even religious bodies to discredit individual thinking and persuade men to yield their minds to the authority of groups seeking strength not in ideas but in an enforced unanimity. Everything a man saw or read, everyone he encountered, the associations which claim his loyalty, all drove in on the same propaganda of self-distrust and dependence. Men seemed no longer to have any spiritual confidence. Efficient no doubt, they were, in material things, yes, but mentally and spiritually stunted. How incredible that a generation which had achieved so much in discovery and invention could sink so low as to relinquish its right to think for itself. What spiritual bankruptcy! All men must see it and in reference for life reverence for life, find again the desire and ability to think. The mission was definite – and clear: to wake men sleeping souls and make them think.

Schweitzer was saying quietly that there was such a thing as right and wrong, that what advanced life was right and what hindered life was wrong and that, since life was the ultimate factor in any world made up of human beings, the basis of any enduring society was reverence for life. Without ethical standards men were beasts and it should not be surprising to anyone if they acted like beasts.

Lao Tse: Chinese philosopher and sage who had known wars and victories two centuries before Socrates and six centuries before Christ page 205 – profit of wilderness: “At the celebration of any victory the general should act as he would at a funeral” etc.

Reverence for life! And after 2500 years scarcely a handful believe in it. All the more reason to stand and work in the world as one who aims at keeping men’s inner life and making them sounder at heart by making them think!


Let no man judge his neighbor. The one thing that matters is that each (one) shall value what he possesses as something with which he expects to serve. Whether this is accompanied by his keeping and increasing his wealth, or by surrendering it, matters little. In most varied ways wealth must reach the community if the latter is to benefit by the best way. (The idea of welfare for all not in the sense of government allotments [but] by concern and recognition of spiritual needs and humane concern.) Let each decide according to the responsibility determined for him by the circumstances of his life.

(This is the same reasoning permeating through Romance of Commerce). He who saves his own skin and cares for no other is a spiritual bankrupt and can never find any peace.

Reverence for life . . . bids me think of others and asked me to consider whether I may allow myself the inward right to pluck all the fruit that my hand can reach. Open your eyes and look for a human being or some work devoted to human welfare which needs a little time or friendliness, a little compassion, or sociability, or work. There may be a recluse – an invalid – an old woman or a child. Or some good work needs volunteers who can offer a free evening or run errands. Who shall enumerate the many ways in which the costly piece of fixed capital, a human being, may be employed.

NOT OURS TO KEEP could be a novel about materialism, pride, avarice, stupidity, people who want power over others. A sort of combination of Eric Fromm – Schweitzer – Paul Brunton.

Life in the world is not ours to keep. There is only one certainty – Death is the great leveler, we none of us can escape it, for life in this world is not ours to keep – so why try to grab all the food off the tree, forgetting the welfare of others? The we – experience – in our egocentricity.


“Opportunist policy may have temporary six senses to record, but in the long run assuredly it ends in failure.

“. . .Thus, it may happen that in obedience to consideration for the existence of another, I may do what to ordinary opinion seems to be folly. Yes, it may even be revealed as folly by the fact that my renunciation is not been of the slaves benefit to him for whom it was made. And yet I was right. Reverence for life is the ultimate Court of Appeal. What commands has significance even when it seems foolish or futile.”


12 April 1957

12 April 1957

Write an article sometime about this theme:

  1. We are interested in results – but not in what it takes to obtain results.
  2. The youngster who wants to play music but is not interested in exercises and practice.
  3. My father’s methodical patience and exactness in fixing the heel of my shoe.
  4. Golfers – any sport, takes practice and more practice of detailed fundamentals.
  5. Our modern world of citizens (with the come easy, go easy way of life – in with the new out with the old) has lost the pleasure of craftsmanship. They have lost the deep satisfaction of a job thoroughly and well done.
  6. Haste in our modern generation creates unhappy individuals because we are jacks of many floating knowledges, but masters of none. How many modern people know one subject well – in spite of TV quiz shows? We are being cheated of satisfaction when there is nothing we do well.
  7. Generalized education – liberal education is excellent, but we should learn one thing we like to do well, for our own sake, even if it is a hobby.
    1. Some people like to play chess or games of cards (bridge – as an expert).
    2. Some (although this is limited by age) like perfection in sports. Where age makes one passive participation rather than active etc.
  8. Be an expert in some one interest of your own, and you have the key to personal happiness – not for the sake of being an expert (although this lends prestige at times) but because of the deep satisfaction of giving yourself full knowledge or sustaining interest in a subject of interest.

[There are a couple of paragraphs inserted here, copied from “Writing Juvenile Fiction” by Phyllis A. Whitney. The journal entry then continues:]

I must try always, if I must improve technique to study only from books containing such material – not organizational books for organization – techniques alone. Instead, I must remember books which give techniques and practical writing lessons for the reader.

Other exploratory ideas:

Why learn new things (as an adult) the hard way? As a starting point for new adult interests, try children’s books in your main branch Library. Perfectly amazing what you can find to stir you to new trends! When venturing into a new subject – be a child and learn as a child – from the beginning. Your maturity will help you catch up to the learned adult books which only confuse you if you start with them.

Example: Helen Little’s interests in stone carving.

Don’t be insulted – no insult is intended – but a child learns from scratch – it makes it easier for you if you start there,too. Foreigners learn from children (to speak) like Dada.

So, you are a wise adult – much wiser in your grown-upness than a child?

Have you read your child’s school textbooks? Do you know everything in them? Or have you forgotten a bit, grown hazy regarding your child’s subjects.

No time for such nonsense? Too many adult things to do? Then don’t expect your youngsters to admire your ignorance. They will be polite, but your ignorance is apparent to them. Of course, you can beat them if they dare defy your adult know-it-all-ness.

An article about school textbooks bridging the gap between parent and child.

What happened to parent purchased textbooks. Now parents have none; do not see what their children are learning. School supplies the books. Study halls make much of the school homework a school function. Parent only gets a quick glimpse of a book – The child needs it for study.

How I value my college, self-purchased textbooks.

I wish I had my child’s textbooks at home.

A parent remains ignorant when a school supplies the textbooks.

The gap between child and parent is greater, etc.


Parent misses out on a second chance for education. Are you so secure in your adulthood – you don’t care?

10 April 1957

10 April 1957

As I think again of my mother, with Mrs. Gorzyinski’s death – some understandings of her nature are slowly coming to me.

Kurt and I have agreed – Kurt suggested it – my mother had many fine qualities – but she did not know the meaning of love, for whatever the reason. Actually, she could have been a more effective person, accomplish more, and had a happier family, if she had known the meaning of love.

For instance, she took all direction of our lives upon herself. This extended into every phase of our personal lives. With myself – and this I know best – she wanted to handle and control all my money, decide without consulting anyone but herself, how it should be used. She wanted full control over my friends, my actions, my way of life, my love life. My mother’s ideas on marriage or non-marriage. She would have preferred me to stay with her as Ceil Gorzyinski did.

My mother did not recognize me as a separate entity. She did not distinguish between Helen O’Konski and her daughter. She lived as though they were one. Danny Marolt does that with Francine and Geraldine. Geraldine is not permitted to express anger toward her mother’s domination into every phase of her spiritual, physical, or mental life.

This is a vicious, unhealthy kind of living, as I well know. It is an attempt to make the child the mother, and the mother the child, with no allowance for the individual as a separate God created life. It acts as though two lives, or three lives, are only one life, with people like my mother or Danny ruthlessly and without any resemblance of mercy crushing out any semblance of individuality.

When my mother thought during the closing years of her life she was a failure – she was a failure only because she did not, or could not, crush us completely as individuals. Insofar as her ambitions were concerned, and since she all her life wrangled, exploited, and without pity firmly wanted to impose her will, she was a failure because she did not succeed. What she did not know was she could never succeed in the way she wanted us to accept what she decided was best for us. You can take two blossoms growing on a bush or vine; you can twist them together, pound them together, you can destroy one of them, but nothing you can do will make of them a single blossom. Even when the blossom is destroyed you always know you have failed, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself your goal has been reached – they were created to blossom. Nothing can refute the creation of both. Trying to take two created objects, no matter how similar, no matter how you fuse them together, never can you deny the fact of a separate identity which was original. Therefore, in such an attempt, failures for doomed.

By exerting all her efforts toward destroying any singular identity, my mother neglected to establish responsibility – cause-and-effect – she was absolutely unacquainted with any form of logic. She was headstrong and believed only that by the sheer force of her will she could go against all creation. She assumed responsibility for my actions, only she did not think of them as my actions. To her it seemed it was she who acted, she who controlled, because she could not recognize me as a separate created entity.

When she took my first paycheck, she took away from me my right to learn responsibility for myself. She only knew it was part and parcel, an extenuation of her larger self. I had no rights as an individual being. She finally met her Waterloo when I refused to let her dictate my friends to me. When I finally cut the umbilical cord and said I would not go back to college when the conditions are controlled by her unquestioning control of my life in full acceptance by me, she touched bottom in that, for the first time, she must have known completely [that] I rejected her rule over me. After that quiet rejection on my part, she was never sure of controlling me. She blew Dragon smoke, tried all her personal brimstone and fire, all her powerful personality against me during the remaining years, but she lost. She had to lose, when she attempted to deny me my life and try to dominate me and forced me to live as a Helen O’Konski identity and no other.

Actually, I don’t know whether or how much we benefited from her. Her ambitions were good ones and, in this respect, she led the way to education. In so doing we became exposed to a better way of life with the possibilities of self-growth. In all other respects, she was a failure, and what I am is because I could not, with such a fierce example before me, be like her.

To me, it is very important for my family to know responsibility for themselves – to learn cause and effect, to know their studies are for their fuller life, their handling of their own finances a necessary learning to their existence in an economic world, their selections of activities and friends to be there is to learn from so they know selection of what is best for them.

If they go astray from sound principles, I will call it to their attention. If something does not truly have meaning for them, let them learn the meaning or the importance in their own way. I can guide them, I hope not with a violent crushing anger, but with the presentation of alternatives. To them selection will be their own. I want my children to be influenced by my guidance if they believe I am right in the my views, but the decision will have to be theirs. The responsibility for selection and decision although I may exert a little pressure, will have to come from within themselves.

Either I am right, or I am wrong. If my children reject as parts of my guidance, they have been exposed to it, and if they feel I am wrong, and they are right, I hope I will always understand that each of us must make one’s own way through life. I have made mistakes, my children will too. My hope is that knowing my way of life, my outlook on life, will help Billy and Nancy find a good way of life for themselves.

But, let it be the way of life that suits them best, as individuals. There seems to be plenty of variety in this life of humans for all kinds of variations. It was individuals the evidently necessary to have it so in human creation. We are what we are because we cannot be otherwise. Thus my mother, too, had to follow the voice of her own self.


I am only what has it has been given to me to be, and that is all I am


9 April 1957

9 April 1957

Today is Nancy’s birthday. She is 13 – a brand-new teenager! Dressed up in her pale lavender skirt and white ruffled blouse, she looked like a breath of spring even though outdoors we have the heavy snow still on the ground and weighing down tree branches. Suburban schools aplenty are shut down because of the snow from the blizzard fall which started Sunday and continued through yesterday.

Sunday, we celebrated the joint birthdays – Kurt will be 40 on Thursday. The folks, Eva, Aunt Roser, Margaret, Bill Klein, and Blanche spent all afternoon and evening with us.


Me? I’m at sixes and sevens. My eyes feel funny and my aches have returned in recent weeks. I need a checkup, some new glasses, and my bridges back in shape again after having two teeth pulled.

Mrs. Gorzyinski died last Wednesday. Kurt and I attended her funeral Saturday. I feel blank after having the old hurts prodded. I seem to be struggling for sturdier ground. I have the feeling that after this lethargy and this blank feeling passes, all will be better than before. Right now, my mind is at a standstill. I just cannot get my bearings. I’m quite uncertain about which way to direct my attention. So, I just unthinkingly go on from one task to another, feeling all the while my whole personality is heavy with inertia. I could just sit during doing nothing with an empty mind.


3 April 1957

3 April 1957

If I were to write some short stories, what would be the basis of them. Here are a few ideas:

The idea of the woman who throws out furniture, buys new furniture – to serve whom? Her Jones she wants to impress (Hitting at people who are pursuing some intangible person to impress: Lydia, Dada, Helen Telisman – people who are trying to impress those who we think are trying to impress us. The will of the wisp we are chasing – the mechanical rabbit – why? We don’t know – it is just the thing to do. We are not on firm ground but chasing elusive notions. The essence is value – what really is important to a happy existence – the practical utilitarian parts of life – the material things that make life more livable – not the ornamental. The kindly considered view of life’s tragedies, sorrows, and happinesses which have nothing to do with fancy clothes and ornamentation – Dada – Mrs. Krohngold. The neglect of love and kindly interest and attention, not to the material, but the spiritual needs of your fellow human.) One should not neglect the material aspects of life, but one feels abominably when one neglects the spiritual – the kindly, humane aspects of life: loving interest for the deeper human needs.