NOVEMBER 26, 1938
WARM SPRINGS, Ga., Friday—At 6:30 last evening, the President and I drove down to Georgia Hall for Thanksgiving dinner with the patients and other guests. At 7:00 o'clock, Central time, the President went on the air and many of you may have heard his short speech in which he told the patients of the beginnings of the Warm Springs Foundation, the steps which have followed, and the situation as it is today.
Every time I come down here at this season, the picture in the dining room brings home to me more vividly than ever how extraordinarily courageous these people are. Down one side of the room last night were the stretcher patients recovering from some operation, who had to be fed and yet enjoyed the show. When they passed the President to shake hands with him, they smiled up at him with real good cheer.
Next to the President sat a little boy who was as natural with him as though he had known him all his life. The conversation might have been held between two people of the same age, for I heard mention of the world situation, the progress of Warm Springs expansion, and just as a mere afterthought, a reference to the fact that sitting up encased in a corset was not always absolutely comfortable. It never dimmed the smile on the youngster's face, however.
Next to me sat a young woman of 28 who joked about her struggles getting in and out of bed, who loved every outdoor sport, particularly skiing because her home is in Canada. She looked with longing at the patients who were trying to ride horseback and hoped that the day would come when her back would be strong enough so that she could walk and canter a horse, even though trotting might be an impossible achievement.
She was taken ill some months before an epidemic struck in Canada, and so she has written articles to tell other people that if you get infantile paralysis, life can still be made worth living. She doesn't sleep very well and finds that she sometimes wakes up at night with bright ideas which might be expanded into an article, and so she writes them on the wall paper—which, she says, isn't very good for the wall paper! I agree that it might be more economical to keep a pad beside one, but think of the courage that makes her write at all, that makes her laugh at her infirmity and still think that life is good.
The patients, themselves, with the aid of the newspaper men, put on a very good show after dinner. Wheelchairs and crutches were completely ignored and patients and visitors were all "kidded" in friendly fashion. I know no place where you can end the day with more reasons for being thankful.
We woke this morning to blue skies, but cold weather. I am going down to the pool, but I am not quite sure that I will have the courage to go in!