SEPTEMBER 6, 1939
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—We awoke yesterday morning to the news of the tragedy of the first English ship with Americans on board. From the German Embassy in Washington and from Germany itself, there come assertions that all German ships are out of that area. The German Navy seems to be scattered all over the world, never having returned to Germany after its trip to the Spanish coast, but it is said to have received orders to observe humanitarian rules on the sea.
We must all try to remain calm amidst the host of rumors which are bound to come to us and not believe anything until it is proven. It seems a horrible thing to think of innocent people being subjected to such an experience, when the ship could not have carried any war supplies because she was bound away from England. The blame for this disaster must not be fixed on anyone until we have positive proof.
I shall be thankful when all of my family and friends are safely back in this country and I am sure that every other American citizen feels the same way. It seems as though the sun could hardly shine upon a world where one man is able to speed civilization downward.
The little daily round of one's occupations goes on for all of us, however, and I rode yesterday morning and greeted my solemn grandbaby, who seems to sense that these are not usual times and looks upon all of us with very sparing smiles. I hope when his father and mother return, he will show more "joy of life," for I think that is a quality we should develop when we are young if we are to have it in later life.
Then I went to meet our son, Jimmy, at the new Hackensack airport. There was no news from him and no sign of his plane when I arrived at the appointed hour. The man in charge is an ex-Navy man who spent twenty years in the Navy, so we chatted about the news. He was most solicitous as the time went on and no plane appeared, but I told him that in all probability Massachusetts was on standard time. In any case, at 1:40, Jimmy's plane came in. I had read part of my mail and two newspapers very thoroughly as well as the beginning of a new novel.
As we drove home, I reminded Jimmy of one occasion when he asked to be met at 3:00 a.m. I waited an hour and on that occasion he never did turn up because the weather was bad and they were grounded. He said that he had not expected me to be at the airport, so he had circled around the cottage twice in order to let me know he was on the way.
We were a long time over lunch. I think the sweet little girl who has been staying here, decided that grown-ups did more talking than eating, they were even slower than she could be. Finally rather wistfully, she asked to be excused. After lunch some friends left us and a little later others arrived. It seems as though every one came with the same question: "Is there anything new on the radio, or have you heard anything from Washington?"