Thursday, December 4, 2014

Chapter 32 - Trial-By-Headline: Part 1 - Introduction

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

December 1926 started out on a sad note for Alfred and Mira. Ella Keyser had been ill throughout much of the year. A heart attack and bout of pneumonia that summer had left her profoundly weakened. Then in early November, Keyser wrote to Alfred, “Mrs. Keyser is again very ill—another lung and heart attack.”(1) Mira sent a small gift and a week later Keyser wrote back to “Mira Khan” (his affectionate name for her), “Hearty thanks for the charming book of Pussy cat poems....I read them to Kookie Khan [their pet name for Ella Keyser]. Though she was much dejected, she smiled a little and I could see she loved them.”(2) Alfred and Mira had both become very close to Ella Keyser, as well as her husband. Except for such indications of their affection and concern they didn’t know much else they could do. 

On November 27, a telegram came from Roy Haywood: “Keyser’s Wife is Dying Wire HIM.”(3) The next day Alfred wrote to Roy, “Nothing could have been more thoughtful of you than letting us know of the tragedies of Keyser. Mira went to be with him. I wanted to go but she insisted that she might be of more use than me, perhaps she is right. She probably will see you.”(4) Ella Keyser died that day. Alfred apparently hadn’t yet heard the news from Mira or anyone else when he wrote to Walter on the 29th, “Mrs. Keyser is on her death bed this time seemingly for good. Poor old Keyser.”(5) Mira soon returned home and several days later, on December 4, Keyser sent them both a note, “Just a poor line, dear Mira and Alfred to thank you and thank you for your so tender messages and your beautiful tribute of flowers. Were your friend, Mrs. Keyser living she would join me in sending love.”(6)  Alfred also got a letter from Roy who wrote, “I was very glad that Mira was able to get to see Kyser [sic]. The old man will be lonelier than ever now, and I am going to make a point of seeing him as often as possible. Mira told me about the arrangements in Brooklyn. We shall all be happy to have you with us here in the city.”(7)

Alfred and Mira had a few more things to do in Washington before they moved. On December 4, Alfred was scheduled to speak at a meeting of the Psychoanalytical Society of Washington. Then on December 12, he was to lecture to the parents’ association of a progressive school in the D.C. area. Meanwhile he was wrapping up his business at St. Elizabeths, including his intensive teaching/consultation sessions with Graven. As a favor to their landlady, who had gone to Florida for the winter, he and Mira were also going to see if they could find new renters for their apartment. And Mira had to collect fees from some Washington, D.C. clients. As they went about their business, Alfred never imagined that he had already begun to step into what would become a serious mess.

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
1. C. J. Keyser to AK, 11/1/1926, AKDA 19.121. 

2. C. J. Keyser to MEK, 11/8/1926. AKDA 18.46. 

3. H. L. Haywood to AK, 11/27/1926. AKDA 18.93. 

4. AK to H. L. Haywood, 11/28/1926. AKDA 18.701. 

5. AK to Vladimir (Walter Polakov), 11/29/1926. AKDA 18.698. 

6. C. J. Keyser to AK and MEK, 12/4/1926. AKDA 18.80.

7. H. L. Haywood to AK, 12/4/1926. AKDA 18.731.

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