Manuscripts/Mixed Material Letter from Aaron Copland to his family, March 15, 1922.
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March 15, 1922
Dear Ma & Pa, --
Two days after I sent my last letter, your's came with the exciting news about selling the store. It was hard for me to realize I had not been dreaming. Even now I can hardly picture you to myself as being anywhere except behind the yard goods counter or up at the desk. But with time I suppose I'll get used to the idea. What has happened to Louise, and Miss C. and the rest of the gang. And how long do you think you will continue living on Washington Avenue. (I suppose that last question is sensible enough, but to me it sounds crazy.) I shall look forward with great interest to your future letters to hear how things are planing out. Tell Charlie he has my everlasting blessings for offering to take care of my books. The music in Pop's closet can be thrown out, but all the other music is very valuable and I hope you will take good care of it somehow.
As for myself, I have no very thrilling news to tell you. Monsieur Senart the publisher has not written to me yet and tho I do not understand the delay, I am taking it as a good sign since he still has my manuscripts.
I have just received my photographs to-day and will send them to you to-morrow, without fail. I hope you will think them worth all the fuss and waiting I have been forced to make you do. To say that the pictures flatter me, is to put it mildly, but the pictures ought to approximately recall to you what my features were like. Anyway, let me hear what you think of them.
The main thing occupying my mind just now is, of course, Italy. I have been making the necessary inquiries and have found, to my regret, that the trip will cost more than I first thought. The railroad fare for a round trip, allowing me to stop off at Milan, Rome and Venice is 586 francs. Boarding (without meals) and extras for concerts and so forth will be about 400 frcs. more. I therefore figure that the trip must cost me about 1,000 francs extra -- that is -- 1,000 francs added on to the usual 1200 I would spend if I stayed in Paris. At first the outlay seemed so much that I considered calling off the trip altogether. But on thinking it over, I have decided that in Germany I will be able to make up the extra thousand francs (about $90.) because of the very low cost of living. Also I hope to save something because of the fact that the Italian lira, which at par value is worth 20¢, is now only worth about five cents. So all in all, I thought you would agree it is wisest to go now, since the opportunity doesn't come every day. Therefore I am planning to leave Paris on the night of March 26th at 9 P.M. The train runs thru southern France and Switzerland and arrives at Milan the next day at 6 P.M. So you see it is almost a whole days trip in the train. (However that pleases me better than 2 hours on the English Channel!) Now I plan to stay in Milan 6 days, but it all depends on how interesting I find the opera and concerts there. My next stop, at any rate, will be Rome. It takes 12 hours on the train to get there from Milan. After a week in Rome I shall go to Venice (another trip of 12 hours), and finally end up in Paris on the 16th of April. Besides seeing Italy, I have no doubt I won't want to look at a train after its all over, but if you want to travel, I suppose you must sit in trains. Of course as soon as I get into a new city I will drop you a card and then a letter will follow. Whenever I want to talk Italian all I need do is use my hands! When one is a pianist thats not so hard, is it?
Harold is going home for summer only and will come back in October to finish his second year in college. I have written Sidney to buy me some music and have told him to send you the bill.
Your suggestion about buying a new Spring overcoat makes me smile. If you saw some of the things people around here wear and call Spring overcoats, you would have to call mine brand new.
Next Sunday I am invited for the third time to a musicale at Durand's, one of those horribly swell affairs. I wish Lil could see the men with full dress suits and white silk gloves serving champagne.
Love to all