MAY 20, 1938
WASHINGTON, Thursday—Gray skies again this morning and, while it is not actually raining, everything is so wet that we again postponed the veteran's garden party. Now we hope to hold it on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, and I pray the weather will be a little kinder than it has been this past week.
At 10:30 I started out to visit a convalescent home in Rockville, Maryland, run under the auspices of the Christ Child Society. This Society was started by a Miss Merrick, who for 50 years has been an invalid in a wheelchair. She began by making one child happy at Christmas time, and now, in this city, there is a settlement house which takes care of thousands of children. There is a convalescent home where 32 children are taken the year round and restored to health. The work of the Society has become national.
The farm is delightful and has possibilities for expansion. There are well-arranged summer playgrounds and a program of supervised play. Some of the Junior Guild of the Society come out to help the children who are handicapped because they are away from school, for no way has been found by which these children, who are often with the Society for several months, can have regular teaching.
In a hospital, which I saw in Boston the other day, the public school system provides teachers for such individual work. I wonder if this could not be done in other places, even where a district is fairly rural.
It is evident that all these children are receiving good care. They vary in age from 6 to 14 years. I was particularly attracted to one boy who was there trying to gain 15 pounds in order that they could operate on him for a very crooked back. He told us that, in the month he has spent there, he has gained 6 pounds, but I imagine that, even with the promise of a straighter back, he will be sad when the time comes to leave what seems to be a real home.
I went from there to Neighborhood House, their settlement down near the river front in southwest Washington. They have taken some old houses and done them over and the atmosphere is altogether delightful. I marvel that they carry on so many activities in the comparatively restricted space. They have a small nursery school and a day nursery and many children and adults are engaged in various activities during the days and evenings. They register according to their interests and, judging from the craftwork which was on sale today, I should say many of them are learning some useful arts. This is the time of their spring festival, so they have a sale which I hope will be very successful.
I came back to lunch with some guests and spent an hour with the representatives of the Federal Art Projects. Their reports of progress during the past year give one a glow of pride and I think all these leaders, who work so harmoniously under Mrs. Woodward, deserve our gratitude.