FEBRUARY 22, 1937
ALBANY, N.Y., Sunday—The dinner in Utica on Friday night was like old home week in some respects. We saw many familiar faces but remembering as we did the women's meetings of many years ago in Utica this one took my breath away. Thirteen hundred people for the most part women jammed every eating space the hotel could provide. I do not underestimate of course, the natural interest we all have in the person who happens to be the wife of the President, still the women's organizations in Utica must have increased in both influence and numbers during the past few years. It is gratifying to find women so interested in civic questions, and it means, I think an increase in action along certain lines. I believe women once they are informed are more sensitive to certain conditions than men and more apt to translate their knowledge into practical action.
Two quiet days in the country with only a moderate amount of mail following me from Washington have given me a chance to catch up on sleep and to reread a book which I read in snatches to my son John when he was home with a slight attack of flu last week. We had much fun over it, for I would read a chapter and then the usher would appear at the door and say, "Your next appointment is waiting" or "The tea guests have arrived" and I would drop the book and return to my official duties. When I came back to John he would have read two or more chapters and new characters would be mentioned which he would have to explain to me. Not a very satisfactory way of reading a novel but it was such a good one that I had to read it again. It is called "The Street of the Fishing Cat" by Jolan Foldes. The picture of the life of the refugees in Paris, thrown together in a strange country because of revolution or oppression in their own country, coming from different walks of life, but drawn together by a common misfortune is moving and appealing. The educated Russian so kind and interested in every member of the poor Hungarian workman's family, the beautiful character of the boy who seemed almost like God to some of them because by his little acts of thoughtfulness he made life interesting and colorful by bringing into it something unexpected again. The whole story is a vivid picture of human beings, I feel that I know Anna and Klari and Jani and I care enough about them to thrill with their joys and suffer with their sorrows and frustrastions. Above all I like the under lying theme that life is all of a piece. I may have more than you have today, but a turn of the wheel of fortune and I may be where you are and my life will not be really changed for I will feel just as I felt before and just as you do now. If we could always this we would not find it so hard to understand a variety of situations which life is at apt to bring us.