Joseph Witriol’s Journal – Part 46: Sun glasses, son guiltless

Sunday, 11th October 1959, 3 p.m.

Erev Yom Kippur. I face the fast, as usual, with distaste. As I always maintain, the fast defeats its own end. Instead of forgetting about the body, one thinks of nothing else all the time. But I am being superficial, and exaggerating.

We have had an extraordinary, brilliant summer. Alles kann der Mensch ertragen/nur nicht eine Reihe von sonnenvollen Tagen. We have had the R von s.T. The only reason I haven’t been able to endure it is that I have had no clip-on glasses this year. Every year I buy a pair, which I either break during the summer or fail to find at the beginning of the next summer. This year I jibbed at the 7/6 or 10/6 or guinea needed for a good pair and persuaded myself the summer would soon be over anyway. I suppose next year I’ll get Wally to make me a special pair of sun-glasses – and we shall have a wet sunless summer. Mentioning Wally, apparently he’s heading for a nervous breakdown (so Beverley to Mum). Wal can’t understand it; he has everything, but everything: son able to take over from him, daughter well-engaged, two cars, etc. Apparently, too much at a time – his silver wedding, Jennifer’s majority and engagement. But this doesn’t sound convincing.

The settling-in process continues. Am writing this in my “den” (as E. [Edith Witriol] reminded me – I had called it a study) on desk cost about £18, chair to match just under  £3. Am borrowing £250 from Bank; E’s Aunt Debbie [Coltonoff] is lending us £100 without interest.

Richard [Gabriel Richard Stern, a good friend who helped with Polish and Russian words in Mumme Loohshen] round the other day in newly acquired car. He has passed his driving test. Brought us contemporary vase. I gather he finds J. increasingly an incubus. Has taken out a Jewish girl for whom he schwärmed “in my romantic fashion”, but is now cooling towards her.

The General Election took place on October 8th. Conservatives in with clear majority. Can’t work up any feeling. Both parties committed to Welfare State.

One Grunwald accused of fraudulent conversion of £3¼m. He rigidly orthodox, solicitor. Says he has complete answer. Philip yelling. E. amusing him. He has great sense of fun – may he preserve it through life, unmarred by the guilt feelings his father experiences.



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