MARCH 8, 1940
WASHINGTON, Thursday—Last night I went to the concert given by the National Symphony Orchestra and enjoyed it immensely, though I could not help feeling a tinge of melancholy when the Strauss waltzes were played. One thinks of what it must mean to Viennese people to realize the change that has come over their land. Strauss waltzes can only flourish in a happy country. They might fit in with gentle sadness, but they could never have anything to do with terror, and that seems to be the predominating note of life in practically every European country today.
After the concert was over, I came back to the White House, worked on my mail for three-quarters of an hour and then went out to the Thrift Shop Ball. I confess to have felt somewhat aggrieved at having to start out for a second time and to leave a desk full of work, but it was a delightful party and the floor show went off very smoothly with some very nice singing and most graceful dancing. The thrift shop here is run for the benefit of six children's charities and probably creates more interest than any other group of them, so the floor was crowded with dancers and one could hardly get up or down the stairs.
I could not help thinking that, while there is one thrift shop in Washington, there are several in New York City. The one known there as the Bargain Box, provides a steady revenue to the New York Committee for the Frontier Nursing Service. This Committee looks after the shop on Saturdays and will hold a tea on March 12th, to which you must bring a bundle of rummage to be admitted. It seems a long way from Kentucky to New York City, but since this service has devoted workers in many cities, I hope that this particular committee's activity may be very successful and mean much to the health of the Kentucky mountaineers, over whom Mrs. Breckinridge watches with such devoted interest.
I had a delightful lunch with Mrs. Woodring, the wife of the Secretary of War, and returned to a number of appointments. The first two ladies came armed with written questions for fear that once inside the White House, the White House would wipe out all their ideas!
Then there was a visit from Dr. Robert Townsend, which interested me very much. I sometimes wonder whether our devotion to a cause may have the effect of narrowing our point of view until we are unable to take a broad enough outlook on the world as a whole to have the proper perspective on our particular interest. Yet, on the other hand, the drive of the person with the restricted interest is desperately needed to move almost any cause forward against the apathetic attitude taken by most people.
There was a succession of other guests and now, at 6:00 p.m., I must get back to my desk.