OCTOBER 13, 1939
WASHINGTON, Thursday—I want to thank today, through this column, all the many people who sent me cards, telegrams and letters on my birthday. I am deeply appreciative of their kindness and thought of me on this occasion. If they do not receive a personal acknowledgment, they will perhaps forgive me, because the volume of letters which ask me actually to do something definite has been so great the past few months, I am afraid I shall not be able to thank all these kind friends.
It always contributes to one's happiness to be so kindly remembered and, while yesterday was a very busy day, all these good wishes were a very pleasant background to many activities. It was particularly nice that Jimmy and Elliott happened to be in Washington. My brother also came from New York City, so with a few other guests, we had a pleasant party at which to distribute the few pieces of birthday cake after we all had made our wishes on the traditional twenty-one candles. It is fortunate that we stopped adding to the number there, or we would soon have to have a mammoth cake to support all the candles!
I had a delightful lunch with various executives of the Department of Labor. I think the Secretary of Labor is justly proud of their cafeteria, for she spoke of the fact that they bought fresh vegetables and knew how to cook them. I particularly liked the WPA pictures which lined the corridors. What a difference it makes to have an interesting picture instead of a blank wall. It lends color and warmth even to the corridor of a public building.
On leaving the Labor Department, I spent a few minutes with the ladies of the Postmasters' Convention, who were having a lunch at the Shoreham Hotel. Mrs. Burke, wife of the Postmaster of the District of Columbia, introduced all the wives of the Post Office Department officials, and then had time for a short greeting. This group is so large that they have more or less taken over the city of Washington, but everyone seems to have enjoyed the visit.
In a little while 1500 of these ladies will be coming to the White House for a tea, and later the South American goodwill delegates will be received.
I read today a little book about the life of Mrs. Thomas Masaryk and of how much she went through and how valiantly she lived. Transplanted from the United States to a foreign nation, she carried her ideals with her and lived them all her life. One little sentence in a letter to her daughter impressed me very much: "I like clarity in religion, and most of all sincerity, otherwise the heart of all life is paralyzed." Her own sincerity seems to have been an inspiration to her adopted people.