Manuscripts/Mixed Material Letter from Aaron Copland to his parents, June 18, 1921.
Download: ( Complete: Full Text )
30 Rue de Vaugirard
June 18 (Saturday) 
Dear Ma & Pa,
I have just finished my dejuner (dinner), and have come up to my room to write you this letter. I suppose by this time you must have received my cablegram and therefore know that everything went smoothly. The last night on the boat was very beautiful. We arrived at Havre at about 9 A.M. and took the train for 12 francs (about $1.00) and in giving me my change the man tried to cheat me, but I caught him, by gosh! Ever since then I count my money over skeenteen times. On my arrival in Paris I took a taxi to a hotel recommended to me by my friend the painter, but as they had no rooms vacant. I took another taxi to the hotel I am now at, where Aaron Schaffer stayed. It is a nice place, comfortable bed, big window, but no running water. And yet they have electric lights in my room! For lodging without meals they charge 8 francs ($.70) a day! Its cheap enough and quite good. After washing up, on the day I arrived, I took a bus to the center of the town. Then I began walking to see what I could see. Well, I walked and walked and walked. I noticed that the main avenues are very pretty, with trees and wide sidewalks, but the side streets are very narrow compared to ours. All the main streets are a little like Hester Street because of the great number of taxis which run around the city like cockroaches. The taxis are very cheap. You can get anywhere in the city for 50¢ including the tip to the driver, which is of the highest importance. I finally landed at a Swedish Ballet performance, which I enjoyed immensely. Of course, I had to eat supper, and I went to a restaurant. They all have tables on the street, and when the waiter brought me the menu, I couldn't understand a blessed thing except omelette (which happens to be spelt the same as in English) and so I had to order that, altho I had omelette on the boat for breakfast and omelette on the train for dinner! Don't forget for one moment that I was talking French all the time as I found no one who could speak English. Before going to the ballet I had found out from a cop how to get home by carline, but after the ballet, I found he had told me the wrong directions. I then proceeded to get lost and ended up by being forced to take a taxi home! Thus ended my first day in Paris. I was quite alone as I had always been with the painter on the boat and not with the pupils of the school. The painter, by the way, is not coming to Paris until to-morrow and he has promised to call me up then. He has been very good to me and is exactly the sort of person I wanted to meet.
On my second day (Friday) I started out by going first to the bank where I got my check book without the slightest trouble, they did not even bother taking my signature. From there I went to the American Women's Club, where you can secure information about Paris[,] and played on their piano a while. I also found that Mrs Tuttle was in Paris and had invited all the pupils to tea in the afternoon. I came back in the afternoon and met her and all the pupils again. Mrs Tuttle was particularly nice to me it seemed. We are all going to Fontainebleau one week from to-day (June 25th), so that by the time you get this letter I shall be there. I have been obliged to leave my trunk at the station until I go to Fontainebleau. At night I attended an opera performance and got in for 4 fr. 50 centimes (about 40¢). Another pupil of the school was with me, and we stopped in for an ice cream soda (they charge 30¢ for one). By the time we decided to go it was 12:30 and I found that all trains, cars and buses stop at twelve! There was nothing left to do but take a taxi! Well, I'll know better next time. Today I shall look around for more sights.
I am beginning to itch for mail from you already so don't fail to write if you have not done so already. I am feeling fine. Love to all.
Have you sold the piano? How is Sally Joyce?