JUNE 11, 1938
HYDE PARK, Friday—I met my two eldest grandchildren this morning as they came off the train from Chicago, accompanied by Mrs. McDuffy. They looked fresh and blooming in spite of their long trip east from Seattle, which began on Tuesday night. There was some confusion about the trunks, which either stayed in Albany or went on to New York, but soon after we reached home we heard that they had arrived.
We spent very little time at the station, for the children were anxious to get home. Mrs. McDuffy went up to the house—with the bags in my mother-in-law's chauffeur-driven station wagon and the two children drove up with me. They exclaimed at every house and familiar landmark.
We reached the big house a little ahead of time, and so my mother-in-law, who had told me firmly she would be on the front porch, was only half-way down the stairs. That made no difference to the children, they dashed in and threw their arms about her and then flew up to their rooms. Only a minute was spent there, for they had to dash out to the stables to see the horses and the Army grooms who are their old friends.
I think most of the day will be spent racing from place to place, seeing people they know and recognizing familiar objects. My mother-in-law is simply thrilled at having them home again. I asked her if she was going to be in for supper tonight and she promptly said: "Why, you don't think I'd go out the first day the children are home!"
I think seeing these young things made me read the details of the Cash kidnap confession with even greater horror. It seems to me, that anyone who can kidnap a child and allow any harm to come to it, must be mentally deranged. Much as I admire the work which Mr. J. Edgar Hoover and his G-Men are doing, I am beginning to wonder whether another branch of the public service is not neglecting some very useful work.
Should not our local health departments keep a very careful watch over their communities and, at the first sign that any individual is mentally below par, should not steps be taken to safeguard the rest of the community? We have a big enough population now in our insane asylums, but there are other ways of improving the mental health of the nation and I think we have neglected this aspect of our health problem. We should make studies of areas where there are known to be groups of mentally defective people and decide what measures can be taken to prevent criminals from being at large in our communities. I hope we will give more thought to this in the future.