JANUARY 2, 1939
WASHINGTON, Sunday—New Year's Day again. How quickly this week has passed. Every generation has been in the House, from little Franklin III, to my husband's mother. All seem to have gone about their various activities with mutual interest but no interference. I think the White House staff deserves great credit for managing to meet all the various demands with apparent ease and no friction.
In my last press conference I was asked for a New Year's message. It is certainly difficult year after year to impose one's thoughts on any group of people, let alone giving them to the press for the public at large. I feel, therefore, that all I can do is to talk to you on the subject which has come to be of absorbing interest to me during the past year.
For a few years most of us centered our interest on government responsibility to older people. The tragedies seemed to be greatest for those citizens who had brought up their families, or lived their lives in situations where there was never enough margin to lay aside money for the needs of old age, or whose carefully accumulated old age reserves were either wiped away by some circumstances beyond their control or proved insufficient for their needs.
This particular phase seems now to have become part of the consciousness of the people and, for the moment, I feel our thoughts and energies should be focused on the problems of our young people. They are, themselves, making so much effort to meet these problems that I think we should become interested in their efforts and do all we can to be helpful.
I am conscious of the fact that many people feel that the problems of middle age are not receiving sufficient attention. It is a problem which we must meet, but the most urgent thing before us at the moment, I think, is to help youth evaluate the country and the times in which it lives, so that it may start living in a way which will eventually make it independent and satisfy its conception of what life should mean to it.
We have had a most delightful family staying with us. Dr. and Mrs. George Eusterman and their five children arrived Friday from Rochester, Minnesota, and they seem to have spent a very active two days seeing Washington. It has certainly been a joy to have them. I wish I could always have around me as many nice young people as we have had in the house the last few days.
I wonder how many of you will listen to the broadcast in which Mr. Peter Harkins tells of his flight around the United States. This broadcast is sponsored by the Office of Education in the Department of Interior and the Smithsonian Institution. He started off to make his trip on December 28th and he will give a final broadcast on January 8th at 4:30 P.M. when this trip is over. Mr. Harkins interests me particularly because he is only 22 years old and was driving a truck in a CCC camp two years ago. He was able to convince the radio director of the Office of Education who visited the camp, that he was capable of writing educational scripts and speaking over the radio, and his success may point the way for other young people in similar fields.