DECEMBER 17, 1938
WASHINGTON, Friday —Having children in the house is certainly a great joy. Dr. Howard Gray, who operated on our son, James, last fall is spending a few days here with his wife and two children. With difficulty, the children managed to stay awake last night long enough to go downstairs before the diplomatic reception to have a glimpse at the rooms and some of the guests who were beginning to arrive. I stood at the foot of the big staircase which is now banked with red poinsettias which give a very lovely Christmas note, waiting for the guests and then we went up to the President's study with the other guests for the flag ceremony which precedes every reception.
At lunch today, the children were full of their experience in the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and now they are off visiting the Bureau of Investigation in the Department of Justice. Luckily, there is nothing to prevent their going to bed early tonight, for I think they are acquiring so many new impressions that it will take them a little while to rest up.
The Madeira School closes today and my young cousin, like all the other girls, is in a great state of excitement and is getting ready to go home late this afternoon. I wonder if ever again in life one has the same feeling of excitement and anticipation as one experiences on leaving school to go home for the holidays? I remember my own excitement when I was abroad at school, even when it meant only a chance to travel to some new place. I used to envy the girls who were going home and though I loved travelling then and was more adventurous in many ways than I am now, I mised that anticipation of a reunion with one's family.
The diplomatic reception last night seemed to me a particlarly pleasant evening and after the President went upstairs, I had a chance to talk to a number of friends. The beautiful uniforms and decorations are always an interesting sight, but I still feel that the Hungarian group has a certain dash which cannot be qualled by any of the other diplomatic uniforms.
Everyone in the house went over to the President's press conference this morning. It was brief, but some of the questions and answers made us all smile, though I doubt if much really important news was forthcoming. The Cabinet has remained unchanged for such a long time that to have two members leaving seems strange and is news in itself. The late Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Woodin, and the late Secretary of War, Mr. Dern, are our only two losses until now.
I do not, of course, have an opportunity of getting to know the gentlemen very well, but their wives have perforce to meet with me occasionally. We have missed both Mrs. Woodin and Mrs. Dern and will now, I know, miss Mrs. Cummings and Mrs. Roper. I am sure they are happy at the prospect of carrying fewer burdens, but many people will miss them as Cabinet hostesses, for they have a wide circle of friends and admirers.