MAY 14, 1940
NEW YORK, Monday—Saturday was a day of no official engagements, but in spite of that it turned out to be a fairly well occupied day. Again and again I had to decide my ability to do certain things within the course of the next few weeks. I finally concluded that if one could divide oneself into many different pieces it would be most convenient and, above all, one should have no personal life!
Yesterday, however, was a day when all of us left the White House at noon and went down the river on the "Potomac" for lunch and an afternoon on the water. Mr. Norman Davis, Chairman of the American Red Cross, went with us, for the President wanted an opportunity to talk with him. The appeal has, of course, gone out for everyone to cooperate with the Red Cross chapters all over the country in raising a ten million dollar fund. Whatever else we do, we can alleviate human suffering. I hope all to the extent of their ability, will feel that this is an individual appeal made to them to help those who suffer throughout the world.
The Ukrainians in this country have written me a rather pathetic appeal, in which they say that refugees from what was once their country, are scattered all over the world. They will raise money among themselves here, if only they knew how to reach their own people who are suffering in other places. I am making an attempt to find out what can be done, but when people are so scattered, it is a difficult thing to know how to assist them.
I had a personal appeal too, from some neighbors in Hyde Park, who wanted to know about their closest relatives in Norway, from whom they heard nothing since the war engulfed that country. Another woman, whose husband, a German liberal scientist, has been imprisoned in Russia for many months, can get no news of him. Altogether, my mail these days is pretty heartrending.
A little book of poems has been sent to me by the author, H. Nelson Hooven, called: "The Laughing One." I think you will find pleasure in reading his lines and inspiration in much of his thought. I wonder if he is right in this:
Behind us lie the things we have fashioned.
Before us, ever, an invitation to beauty."
I left on the midnight train to come to New York City to keep a number of appointments and return tonight again to Washington by the night train.