SEPTEMBER 13, 1939
SWEETWATER, Tenn., En Route, Tuesday—I have just finished breakfast in a railway dining car. For a time I sat alone until Miss Thompson joined me. I had a Roanoke, Virginia, newspaper to read and it served as a good shield behind which I could observe my neighbors. The train was filled with young girls, all pretty and full of life, evidently returning to school or college. One of them were a thin gold chain with a cross on it around her neck. It took me back to my childhood whom my grandmother gave me a similar one, and I thought of the people who lovingly be [unclear term marked] such a gift with a prayer in their hearts that it may protect the child. Well, the youngsters are going to need these prayers, for they are facing a troubled world.
I opened the paper with its headlines of war news. The editorials and columns I read all dealt with the war situation.
I spent three years in school in a country which was at war. Even though that war was many miles away and no one was in danger of bombing from the air and there were no radios to bring you hourly news, the tension and war psychology were ever present.
No student of history can feel that every country has acted from the highest motives in its internal or foreign policy. All we can do is to judge things we wish to preserve in the world and to throw our weight into the development and accomplishment of these things, first at home and then abroad. We must not forget that what we do at home has an effect on the world situation.
Curious how we have settled down again after our first flurry of excitement and now turn to our newspapers for real information. Most of us have discovered that war shifts people about so rapidly. The commentators on the air are of necessity obliged to give a changing picture and a real picture can only be given over a longer period of time. Even the newspapers cannot gauge from day to day what the results of the different moves in the war zones may be, and we will have to learn to wait for a long time to determine conclusive facts.
One young man tried to stop to speak to me on the train, but before I looked up, the steward of the car had gently moved him on. Probably he felt that I must be protected!
At that moment I was reading an item in the paper which I thought interesting and a sensible development in education. A high school in Roanoke is offering the boys a course in domestic science with credits. They are to learn about the buying of clothes, the running of machinery in the home and a variety of other subjects which will make them more useful and perhaps more understanding of their mothers and future wives.