DECEMBER 26, 1936
BOSTON, Friday—This has been a rather unique Christmas Day for me, in spite of the fact that I can look back on a rather varied assortment. There was one in Paris in a French family, and another one in Rome, when I was at school abroad as a girl. Then one in my early married days spent in bed with a baby two days old. I remember one in Washington during the war, for when the Christmas tree festivities were in full swing I noticed a small boy looking very flushed, and discovered a bit later that he had German Measles, and going over my list of guests I find that the British Ambassador, Sir Edward Grey might be a victim of contagion, and only breathed freely again when he said with a laugh, "Dear Lady, my days for children's diseases are long passed, but I missed none of them so I am immune." There have been Christmas days with children in bed at home, one at least in Albany when a cold kept my husband in bed. Never before, however, have I seen the children hang up their stockings in one city, and arrived in another one the next morning, settled myself in a hotel, eaten my breakfast and gone to a hospital to be with one lone child! There were so many at home this year, that I hated to leave, but we couldn't any of us bear to think of Franklin, Jr. alone by himself in Phillips House in Boston, so here am I! We opened some of his presents this morning, which were small enough for me to bring on, the rest will await his return to Washington, so he will have a long-drawn out Christmas which is rather fun. We talked on the telephone with all the family, even Anna and John in Seattle, Washington, and as it is the first time I have heard their voices since they left, it was a very nice Christmas present to give myself. The connection was not very good, however, owing to a storm in the Dakotas they told me. Because I belong to the generation which still looks with awe upon long distance communications and the radio, I could not help feeling a little queer when I felt that I was talking clear across the United States.
I did not have space to tell you yesterday of the extraordinary contrast in the two Washington Alleys which I visited, the first one, still ugly, dirty, unsanitary, the children looking ragged and undernourished—the only bright spot the Christmas tree. The second, a large grass plot in the center of which stood the Christmas tree—4-room houses painted white about three sides. Everything spick and span, and the people as different as their houses. The change made me feel that as a citizen, the government had given me the best possible Christmas gift.