NOVEMBER 15, 1939
NEW YORK, Tuesday—It is a most beautiful day and I feel so rested that even a lecture last night in Newark, N. J., and sitting up late to catch up on mail doesn't make the sky one bit grayer. It think it must be my two nights in the country.
I had an interesting time yesterday with Mr. Phillip Hiss, a well known New York architect and an old friend, who showed me a development which is the result of long time planning and research. It may mean more permanent and better housing for people of very moderate income. I was fascinated by all the details and would have liked to spend many hours with Mr. Hiss to go over all the plans and possibilities.
Two things which appealed to me greatly were the economy of the heating and the air-conditioning. The fact that the structure would be fireproof is also a great point in its favor, for one of the things which always worried me about housing developments is the possibility of fire. In addition to that, I have wondered frequently on seeing some of the so-called low income housing, about the life of the building which must of necessity be amortized over a long period, whether it is government built or built by private enterprise. Houses are valuable to the tenants in exact proportion to the amount of repair bills over the years, and yet we give this item little thought.
As I stepped out of a taxi yesterday afternoon, the taxi- driver in handing me my change, to my complete surprise said: "God bless you ma'am." I wonder whether it was for the tip or whether he really wanted to say something nice about the Administration. In any case, it is a happy salutation and I wish we used it more often to each other.
The questions in the Town Hall series last night in Newark, N. J., where I spoke, were very interesting. I understand that Mrs. Parker O. Griffith, Chairman of the Town Hall, is the moving spirit. I should think that she would be very satisfied with the interest shown.
I was told that Mr. Alexander Woollcott was their first speaker and I was a little nervous at following such an expert raconteur. When I discovered that Secretary Ickes and General Hugh S. Johnson are to debate at the next meeting, I felt that the "meat" in this sandwich was not as good as it should have been to live up to the "bread" on either side! I wish I could be in the audience for the coming debate. I am sure it will furnish plenty of fireworks and a good many laughs.
I see today that Holland has been assured that there is no intention of invading her borders and I confess to being glad every time a small country is assured of safety. I feel quite a personal tie with Holland and Belgium because of our ancestors.
I wonder if we will ever return to the day which I can remember, when little was thought of passports. You did not need them to visit most countries. While certain difficulties existed, if you did not know the language or found the exchange of money hard to master, still travel was a very easy thing. Now no one can travel anywhere without a certain risk, and one can certainly not journey for pleasure in many parts of the world.