MARCH 5, 1938
WASHINGTON, Friday—An amusing thing happened when I arrived in Washington yesterday. I forgot to tell anyone how I was coming, so when I reached the airport I took a taxi to the White House. We stopped for a red light and my driver said: "I have been wanting to talk to you for some time." Then he added: "I started the civic opera here, and though we had a great deal of help, it wasn't a success, but I do think it is needed."
I asked him if he had been a singer and he answered that he had wasted a great deal of time studying voice under the impression that he had talent, and that he thought one of the reasons for a civic opera was to keep people from doing that. "Now I am driving a taxicab," he said, "and I'm not a bit discouraged."
Would you expect to meet an opera singer driving your taxicab? I feel as though I ought to do something about it and yet, knowing how difficult it is to keep the National Symphony Orchestra going, I wasn't very much surprised that he had found the support for a civic opera nonexistent.
I went to visit a small charitable institution called "The Good Samaritans, Inc.," which had asked me to come and see the needy children from one of the nearby schools whom they were feeding every day. A group of people have made valiant efforts to raise the money for school lunches for all the needy children in the District of Columbia. I imagine this rather small charity is doing a welcome piece of work, thought it seemed to me a very small organization.
At teatime, our cousin, Mrs. Warren Robbins, came in and demanded to know why we never met. I had to confess that life down here is strange indeed from one point of view. You always seem to have so many things that must be done, you forget to do the things which you would like to do.
Mrs. Thomas McAllister and Mrs. May Thompson Evans, of the Democratic Committee, brought in Mrs. Claffey, of Indiana, who won the prize of a trip to Washington for obtaining the greatest number of subscriptions to the "Democratic Digest." I think she is enjoying her visit very much. She was almost as excited as a small boy who was brought in by his mother to have tea and to see the White House.
He wanted very much to see the President, but I had to explain that he would have to be satisfied to see the rooms in which past Presidents had lived, since the President now living here was too busy to shake hands even with one small boy. I saw him standing on the corner with his mother as we drove to church this morning, and I hope he had a good look at the President.
We all attended the service which the President has made it a practice to have at St. John's on the fourth of March. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Wilson, our minister from Hyde Park and his wife, came down to take part in the service and to spend the night with us. It has been very pleasant to have them.