When I came to New York to study with Adolph Weiss
and Henry Cowell, I took a job in the Brooklyn
YWCA washing walls. There was one other
wall-washer. He was more experienced than I.
He told me how many walls to wash per day.
In this way he checked my original enthusiasm,
with the result that I spent a great deal of time
simply reading the old newspapers which I used to
protect the floors. Thus I had always to be,
so to speak, on my toes, ready to
resume scrubbing the moment I heard the housekeeper
approaching. One room finished, I was
to go to the next, but before entering any room
I was to look in the keyhole to see whether
the occupant’s key was in it on the inside.
If I saw no key, I was to assume the
room empty, go in, and set to work.
One morning, called to the office,
I was told I had been accused of peeking
through the keyholes. I no sooner began
to defend myself than I was interrupted.
The housekeeper said that each year the
wall-washer, no matter who he was,
was so accused, always by the same lady.