MAY 17, 1939
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—We are having our usual experience with the month of May. We schedule garden parties for out of doors and then spend all the morning trying to decide whether everybody will freeze on the lawn! However, the sun has come out today and, even though it is rather chilly, I think it is going to be fairly pleasant and I am looking forward very much to the program which is being given by the Lafayette chorus from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. A chorus of young men's voices out of doors is always particularly pleasant, I think.
We reached Washington rather late last night and I found the President still struggling with hay fever. No amount of treatment seems to affect that particular ailment, so I am afraid he has it as a companion until he gets away from here and the particular plant or condition which irritates his nose.
I had asked a young friend of ours who grew up at Hyde Park, and who is now married and established in Buffalo, N.Y., to come with his wife and small boy of three, to spend a couple of nights here. They had already gone to bed when I arrived last night, so I signed my mail and followed suit. This morning we all met at breakfast and I made the acquaintance of a very young gentleman who is not very deeply impressed with the White House and its inmates and feels that he does not like so many strangers.
They went off to visit various points of interest and, after a ride, I sat down to catch up on the various lists which cover my desk at all times nowadays.
On Pennsylvania Avenue, on either side of the White House, there stand two unofficial groups of guides ready to show people the city. I have always felt that I much prefer to lose my own way and wander at will wherever I may be, but I suppose other people feel differently. Washington is certainly not an easy place to find your way if you have never driven around it. Some of the men have a sense of humor and this morning one of them came up to the window of my car as I waited for the light to turn, and said: "We have a sightseeing tour starting in five minutes. Would you like to go along Mrs. Roosevelt?" I think I probably would learn a great deal, but I decided my time was too short to start on it today!
I am going over to the Seventy-Sixth Congressional Club for lunch and there are a few appointments this afternoon, so the day, as usual, is fairly full.
I read two manuscripts last night on the way down on the train, both of them written to impress people with the horrors of war. One of them is really so horrible that I doubt if it would accomplish its purpose, for most people, I think, would stop reading it before they were half through. I often wonder whether these horrors are as effective with youth as something which has more appeal to reason. Unless you had lived through certain things described, I doubt if they would seem possible.