JUNE 22, 1939
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I have two very different letters in my mail today, one amusing and one with a real purpose. I think I shall quote the first one because it may help to clear up a misapprehension in many people's minds and, perhaps, you will gain as much amusement out of it as I have. I am sure Miss Dorothy Thompson, if she ever sees this, will also have a smile out of this confusion in names.
"I want to tell you of an amusing incident. The other day I heard a quite intelligent girl say: 'Well, Dorothy Thompson must have a great influence on the President. 'I said:'What!' 'Yes,' she said; 'she seems to be with Mrs. Roosevelt all the time.' I found someone else had had the same idea, so I thought perhaps you might mention your secretary's first name."
Of course, my secretary's name is Malvina Thompson and not Dorothy Thompson, but I suppose it's natural to have two such charming people mixed up!
The other letter has rather a charming idea. I am not sure that many of us would have the patience or tact to carry it out, but I can well imagine that if we did, we might derive a great deal of pleasure from it. The lady who has thought it out says that she does it and it brings her great joy, particularly when she is going to parts of the country where she knows the economic situation makes living conditions hard. In any case, I want to pass her thought along. But remember, it must be done in the tactful way which she emphasizes, otherwise it will become a charity and not a casual gift. Here is the lady's plan.
"When planning an automobile trip, almost anywhere, but especially through mountain districts, try packing in your car, way back where you don't need the space, a few discarded toys, or sweaters, or any little thing that doesn't mean much to you, but would be a treasure to some person living in an unfrequented place.
"You will be amazed at the pleasure derived from your trip when you think of the delighted expression on the face of that thin little child who was standing near the gas station when you gave her an old doll that you 'happened to find in the back of your car,' and the little boy who was down the road, almost blue with cold, when you stopped and asked him help check up on your car because you thought you heard a rattle somewhere, and found 'that old sweater that has been in your way during the whole trip.' Would he please take it?
"Each time you take such things with you and dispose of them you create within yourself a desire to do it again, until it becomes a habit, when travelling in the car, to tuck something in the back 'for the children.' "
I returned from New York City just a little before midnight last night, somewhat weary but glad I had made the effort to go down, for I felt that all of us at Father Moore's dinner, reached a clearer understanding of some of the things which had not been so well understood before.
Today is a glorious day, cool and clear. After a ride I came back to work at my desk. This afternoon I look forward to some hours of catching up on reading a variety of pamphlets and articles which have been sent me in the past few days and which I have not had time to go through.