AUGUST 5, 1940
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Sometimes I wonder if one has any right to indulge in the joys of country life when there is so much which needs to be done in the world. I am quite sure that twenty years ago I would have made myself do something useful at this particular time. Instead, I returned to the country on Friday with a feeling of complete thankfulness that I could shed the dust of the city streets. Although I may have qualms of guilty conscience, they are not so serious that they take away my enjoyment of life up here.
Friday evening, members of various social agencies in the country who had met with me before gathered with some young people on our picnic grounds at six o'clock. Forty or fifty came, and after a picnic supper we sat around and discussed what the situation of youth in our country is, and what things youth feels really needs to be changed in their environment.
I was interested to find that the lack of recreational facilities loomed large in all their minds. Several young people from small towns remarked that there was really nothing to do except "hang around street corners." That remark ought to give us elders food for thought. Why shouldn't we older people be interested in providing a variety of recreational facilities? If we really look for them, we have in our midst people with tastes and skills who could develop many recreational possibilities.
In the conversation with this group I thought recreation had a very narrow meaning for most of them. Primarily, it seemed to mean tennis courts, swimming pools and similar opportunities for outdoor exercise. No one mentioned books, development of craft skills, community dances or dramatics, or group singing. Yet, it is not difficult to find leaders for all these things, even in small communities. Certainly, they do draw us together, young and old, in a pleasant and companionable environment.
The group decided that they wished to meet again and that they would form a committee, decide what they would discuss, and even prepare some recommendations for action. I am a little tired of discussions that lead to no action, and so I am glad to see that these young people really contemplate doing something.
Yesterday was a quiet day in which we accomplished considerable work. In the afternoon my husband telephoned to say that he was leaving Washington and would arrive late last night. He already feels rested and plans this afternoon to drive around to see all the little changes which have been made in the past few weeks and then spend some time unpacking cases in the library.