AUGUST 2, 1938
PATCHOGUE, N.Y., Monday—It is nice to have your grandchild remind you of something you should have known. The other day, when I showed Sistie my piece of pottery from Ohio, I remarked that I saw no sense in its name, "Wind In the Willows." Whereupon she said: "Why Grandmere, don't you remember the book?" Faintly it began to come back to me, all the little animals on the pottery are characters out of the book.
It is foggy and damp this morning and I fear that this is ideal weather for mosquitoes. They don't bother me much, but one's hosts always feel a personal sense of responsibility if the weather does not behave.
I have had no mail for two days and as a result I have done much reading. First I finished "The Nutmeg Tree" by Margery Sharp. I found found it most amusing and the characters well drawn. If you want something light, you can spend a pleasant afternoon with Julia and the other people who seem so lifelike as they move through the story.
I've also read all of the report and some of the speeches made at the health conference, which was held at Washington during the third week of July. It seems to me that many points of view were presented but that it was perhaps too big a gathering for real discussion. I hope that before a five or ten year plan is adopted, we will all have our ultimate objectives clearly in mind.
To me there seem to be three main objectives.
First: we must make medical care available to the low income groups of the nation.
Second: we must not retard research. Our ignorance in many fields is only fully realized by those who know the most and for that reason are able to gauge how little they really know.
Third: We must demand that continuous education be available and obligatory for all doctors.
We may find that health insurance partially answers our first objective, but it cannot answer the others. There were speakers at the conference who seemed to feel that some system of insurance could be devised to give adequate medical care to all who need it in this country today. They forget, it seems to me, that health to some extent is a question of the education of every individual.
Also, medical care is no substitute for adequate food of the right kind, decent housing, a fair wage, and the type of education which will make a decent standard of living possible. It is one thing to realize that you need an emergency operation, but it is quite another to be willing to pay even a small amount for preventive care, or to be willing to take the trouble to do the things which will keep a family well.
No one plan goes forward alone and they all require an educated people willing to cooperate for the good of the whole people.