OCTOBER 28, 1936
NEW YORK—One of the most touching election stories that has come to me turned up yesterday in the mail, and I am going to give it to you exactly as it is in the letter.
"Up in the Bronx there is an aged man nearly ninety years old whose health is failing rapidly, and who has been told that death is very near. He is so old and ill that the prospect of death does not especially frighten him. Nevertheless, he is hanging on to life with grim determination. Despite the remonstrances of his family he refuses to go to bed for fear that if he should once fall asleep he may never awaken. Instead he sits in a chair day and night fighting to stay awake. When he drowses, he shakes himself back into wakefulness and in this way keeps going. He insists on doing this. Why? Because he is determined to vote for Mr. Roosevelt before he dies."
Such belief in another human being held by one so nearly leaving this world, puts a heavy load of responsibility on the man who inspires it. The feeling of the weight of this load has been gradually growing on me ever since we started campaigning and I began to watch the faces of masses of people.
A very nice young newspaper woman was waiting for me at the entrance to a shop I go to for clothes when I came out this morning. I looked a little surprised and wondered how on earth she knew I was there, but was in too much of a hurry to ask. I simply said: "If you have anything you want to ask me, you will have to come right along, for I am in a hurry", and together we walked toward Sixth Avenue at a pretty rapid pace. "My editor", said she, "wants to know if you are doing any Christmas shopping, and what you are going to buy." I responded sadly that her editor would have to go on wanting to know! Then she asked where I would be between that moment and three o'clock when she knew I was to start for Staten Island and I had to answer again that I could not possibly tell her but that I would be home for lunch. More in sorrow than in anger she warned me: "I think all the papers will want to know, and you are going to be a good deal bothered in the next day or so". Being an extremely nice person, however, she left me on the corner with this horrid threat hanging over my head, and so far I have gone my way unmolested. It seems to me incredible that with all the vital and interesting things there are to think about at the present time any one should want to know what I am buying for Christmas presents. Besides which, one's Christmas presents are such personal things that even the recipients would hardly be broadcast to the world.
I am just off to Staten Island escorted by Mrs. William H. Good.