It was a bright and sunny spring day, that Tuesday 14 March 1944, when the little town of Old Greenwich, Connecticut, suddenly awoke from its winter sleep when a few hundred people, most of them from New York City, invaded the community. These visitors were on their way to the funeral of Hendrik Willem van Loon, the popular historian, journalist, artist, and radio commentator. The New Haven Railroad had added extra cars to one train, which made an unscheduled stop in Old Greenwich and from the railway station private cars provided a shuttle service to the First Congregational Church. White-gloved policemen shouting “This way for the van Loon funeral!” directed the traffic. Almost four hundred people filled the church. According to one eyewitness there were at least a dozen photographers and “flashlights were popping like opening night at the Met” and the atmosphere was almost merry as people were telling each other van Loon anecdotes. She thought that instead of a funeral service for van Loon in this tiny church, “the Colosseum would have been a more appropriate place.”
KeywordsRuby Milton Hate
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