DECEMBER 10, 1936
NEW YORK, Wednesday—How much more interesting school is made for children these days. I went up this morning at a quarter before nine to be at the opening exercises at the Todhunter School because I had presented the library with a book called: "Peggy Covers the News" by Miss Emma Bugbee. I asked her if she would come and say a few words to the girls on reporting as a profession and of course, expected that only the older girls would be interested. Even the younger girls, however, listened with the keenest of interest and apparently it is no strange idea to any youngster nowadays that she may have to earn her living.
After the exercises were over I went up to my granddaughter's form room and all the children showed me the maps which they are making of the Continent of Africa. In addition my small granddaughter had made a map of North and South America and marked her grandfather's trip. In her book, she had all the things which she had cut out of the newspapers—photographs, speeches, much of it material which at nine and a half I would never even have found, certainly not have read. She can hardly wait to bring her entire piece of work down and show it to her grandfather and she recites with pride the names of all the cities, the rivers, the ocean and islands on the way. I can remember nothing so interesting when I was that age.
From there I went to the dentist and Christmas shopping. As I waited for the elevator in a department store, one of the little errand girls asked me to give her an autograph. I looked around furtively and seeing nobody who might follow suit, I rapidly scribbled my name and thought: "For once I am getting away with it!" But just as I was getting on the next elevator another little girl appeared from nowhere, pencil and paper in hand pleadingly asking for an autograph. This time I was adamant and reverted to my usual answer saying that I could not start signing autographs in crowds because if I did it for one there was no reason why I should not do it for everyone who asked and then I would do nothing else!
I had to explain this last night to a group of young people who wanted me to come and speak at a meeting. If I began to go to individual units of large organizations, much as I would like to do it, I would have even less time than I now have to do anything else!
I had some friends lunch with me at the Biltmore Hotel and in the midst of the conversation a lady suddenly stopped at my table. My mind was so far away that I looked at her for a minute without any realization of who she was and finally she had to tell me her name and where we had met which shows how inelastic my mind is for it could not jump from New York City to Florida where we had last met! Here again I had to deal with autographs but luckily I was sitting down as I signed a card for the daughter of our waiter, so nobody else was any the wiser.