Vienna Diary, July 20th

The Freud family were able to flee Austria — and Nazi persecution therewithin — with almost all their possessions, and those possessions have since had little inclination to return. So the rooms of the Freud museum where this family once lived and Sigmund himself worked remain denuded, save one bravely reconstructed room. In the void new kinds of stuff have arrived: museum cabinets crammed with artifacts and reams of museum text offering commentary. I saw the very fountain pen Sigmund used in maintaining his mammoth correspondences. I eyed the pen, envious. How I wish I could be maintaining even a modest correspondence in ink. What I wouldn’t give to be tearing open envelopes each morning. How wonderful to have friends who could write in cursive!

In one cabinet I read a postcard from Anna Freud (daughter of Sigmund). Dear Paula, the apple strudel is excellent. I had little idea that my own postcards, bearing their own droll commentary on strudel, were in fact something between a cliche and a tradition.