DECEMBER 20, 1939
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—I did considerable walking yesterday. My last walk from the cottage through the woods to the big house at about 5:30 in the afternoon. To my surprise, the moon was shining brightly and the stars were already out. It is only about two and a half miles from house to house, and the mysterious beauty of the woods with the moonlight clouds coming through, made part of the walk through the woods seem all too short.
In the afternoon I went down to Poughkeepsie to buy one or two gifts which I had forgotten. I found myself in the elevator in Lucky Platt's, our big department store, going to toyland with quite a group of children. While I was making my purchases, I watched with keen amusement one little girl of two or three, shepherded by her father. She was gazing at the dolls, but she did not demand to have them, just looking seemed quite sufficient. I often think that when children go to the shops and are surrounded by so many toys, they are really more bewildered than interested.
We received a great deal of mail yesterday, which was not so cheerful on a holiday, but we are pretty well accustomed to the fact that mail is something from which we never can take a holiday.
It was with deep regret yesterday that we heard of the death of Mr. Heywood Broun. As President of the American Newspaper Guild, he has done a great service for many newspaper people. Even though some people may not approve of everything for which the Guild stands, or of every action it has taken in the past few years, I think there is no one who will not agree that fundamentally the Guild has improved conditions for newspaper people as a whole.
This, I feel sure, was the reason which made Mr. Broun unselfishly give much of his time to this work and many people will mourn him and feel a sense of personal loss in consequence. I have always felt that, as one of the best known columnists, he set us all a high standard in that he wrote what he really believed. No writing has any real value which is not the expression of genuine thought and feeling.
He was critical sometimes, but almost always there was something constructive about his criticisms. None of us resent being told our faults, for we know only too well how many we have, but it is truly helpful when somebody gives you new ideas and ideals which you can strive for, even though your own achievements are limited.
I knew Mr. Broun only slightly, but I had a deep respect and genuine affection for him, and I sympathize greatly for the loss which his death brings, not only to the public but to his wife and mother and the rest of his family.