AUGUST 3, 1937
HYDE PARK, Monday—Sunday was a very pleasant day as my brother arrived with a friend in time to have dinner with us in the middle of the day. He had spent the day before at my grandmother's old place on the Hudson and it had awakened in him many old-time memories as it always does in me. I asked him if he could remember our youthful haunts—the old orchard back of the water tank in the woods; the very sluggish little stream in which we used to catch tadpoles; some particular old pine trees we used to like to climb and one place in the hemlock grove where we used to build fires at night and have evening picnics.
His memory is as good as mine but as he is much younger, I have certain recollections which are not included in the things he was allowed to do! I marvel now at how we spent so much time in summer in the woods for I suppose mosquitoes and flies were as bad then as they are now and yet I never remember thinking much about them at that time!
In the afternoon we walked up to the big field at the top of the hill back of our cottages, from which one can see the Catskill Mountains, the Berkshires and the Highlands below Newburgh. It was a clear day and the view was glorious. Just as we reached the field, three men one of them with a gun, were stalking across it, searching for woodchucks they said. As we had walked through the woods and through an old pasture where the underbrush has grown up fairly high, I could not help thinking that it was rather lucky they had not happened to see one scuttling in our direction. They are clumsy beasts but they seem to move quite fast and the man might have missed his woodchuck but hit our feet!
We were glad to get a swim in the pool on our return for though the weather is remarkably cool this summer, you can still get fairly hot if you take a good stiff walk.
Today Miss Elsie Clapp, who has taken the editorship of "Progressive Education" for this year, is lunching with me. She did such a wonderful job at the Arthurdale, West Virginia school, not only in planning and starting it as a progressive school, but in helping to draw the community together and in making the school the center of almost every community activity that I feel she can do a very great service to education through this magazine and I certainly wish her every success.
Last evening I read the manuscript of a most interesting play telling the story of children at work in the tobacco fields. The theatre, the movies and fiction can do a tremendous amount to make the people of this country actually see and feel the lives that are lived in different parts of our country by different groups of our people. This can only be achieved however, if primarily the plays are good plays in themselves, the movies are good as movies, and the stories are interesting, without regard to their social significance.