Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Untitled (Camouflage design), 1918; watercolor and graphite on paper mounted on black paper, 10 x 11 1/2 inches (Mount: 12 3/8 x 14 1/8 inches); Charles E. Burchfield Foundation Archives, Gift of the Charles E. Burchfield Foundation, 2006
Charles E. Burchfield, Journals, June 9, 1940
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Sunday — June 9 —
[P.M. H. Katherine Smith (Courier-Express writer –) calls up to get camouflage data from me for article she is writing.] Having no car, she wondered if, in the event of my coming to Buffalo during the next week, I would call her up and arrange a meeting place. [I was loathe to set a definite date tho it was obvious she wanted me to. After I hung up Bertha reminded me she was blind, which caused me to relent — in consequence of which I called her up & suggested I come in at once.]
Bertha & I both go. She lives with her mother upstairs in a garage apartment, and we drove in leaving our car in front of the garage. Hardly had we sat down when an uproar commenced down stairs below, with much violent doorbell ringing and turned out that Ms. Smith’s landlords – the John Lord O’Brien’s, wanting to get their car out were furious at our car being parked in the driveway. Bertha said that she would move our car out, but in the excitement, and confused by Mrs. O’Brien’s anger, she could not get it in reverse; so I went down & parked the car in front on the street. The John Lord O’Briens! How dared we?
[Mrs. Smith proved to be an interesting person. After we had exhausted camouflage, we talked of other things. In addition to her newspaper articles, she writes short stories. She rather startled me by asking me if I could describe how a person’s face would look, if on being told a joke he thought not very funny but he tried to appear amused for politeness sake. On my acknowledging my inability to describe such an appearance, she said she wished very strongly to have some heads modeled by a sculptor, with all the various facial expressions. Here indeed was the soul of a writer imprisoned. She had no idea what a smile or a frown looked like.
Going home I felt as Paul did in “All Quiet on the Western Front” when he left his dying comrade. I wanted to “see” everything to the fullest extent.
Charles E. Burchfield, June 9, 1940