DECEMBER 18, 1939
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Such excitement as we had this morning! The whole family from Seattle was arriving by train. The railroad people told me last night that to be on the safe side I had better be at the station by 8:15, for that particular train often ran ahead of schedule. However, this morning it ran a little behind schedule and it was five minutes before nine when it pulled in, and mountains of baggage were disgorged before my nine-year-old grandson appeared, followed by the rest of his family.
I think my daughter must have done a very remarkable piece of work, for everybody including the father of the family and the baby looked well and cheerful. My recollection of travelling with babies is a succession of difficulties. The food was never right, they wouldn't sleep when they should and altogether a twenty-four hour trip seemed endless. This family, after four days of travel, seemed rested and well and, wonder of wonders, entirely good humored. It is evident to me that each generation improves upon the last!
Everybody flew about the house, first a visit to the President, and then to his mother, and the final joy was to discover that Uncle Jimmy was here to greet them too. Now the President has his little car filled to overflowing. First they visited the library, which is completely roofed in so that the work can go on during the winter. Then a trip is being made to the President's cottage at the top of the hill, which Anna has never seen finished. At noon Jimmy has to be taken to a train. We all have to come for lunch and the ceremony attendant to the presentation by the President to Mrs. Margaret Chanler Aldrich of a Congressional Medal for her nursing service with the Red Cross during the Spanish-American War. I shall tell you more about that tomorrow.
I must mention the fact that I saw "The Man Who Came To Dinner" by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman on Friday night. It is a delightful comedy, clever and amusing, and I can quite see why every seat is sold until some time in January. Of course, the central figure is not an altogether admirable character, but in spite of all of his faults and downright wickedness at times, he is loveable and life could never be dull around him. You would get up early in the morning to keep up with him.
I spoke at Town Hall, as I told you, yesterday morning in New York City, and found the audience very ready with their questions. I wished that this period might have lasted longer. The snow is melting here, which grieves the children who would have liked to go coasting at once. I am afraid it isn't going to lie on the ground long enough to make that possible.