AUGUST 10, 1940
HYDE PARK, Friday—This place seemed filled with Democrats yesterday afternoon, and even in the morning they began to arrive at Miss Nancy Cook's cottage; for she had arranged luncheon for a large group. Every year or so, Mrs. Henry Morgenthau, Jr. and I tell the county chairman that we will each be glad to have a tea for the Democratic women.
This year, Mrs. Edward Conger, who is vice-chairman for Dutchess County, included the women from the four neighboring counties, and told me she would have about 400. Yesterday morning, however, when Miss Thompson checked up, she found that it was more than likely that we would have 800. We could hardly be blamed for being a little appalled, because when you live in the country it is not quite so easy to go around the corner to buy extra food. However, by dint of collecting everything from everywhere, I hope that everyone who came got something to eat and drink. I ceased trying to make sure when I seemed completely surrounded by hands which I was trying to shake.
The President and Secretary Wallace came over for a few brief minutes, and I must say that the country seems the proper setting for these two men. They both look more natural and seem happier without hats and sitting on the back of a seat of a small car. They went off with a party to picnic in a distant spot, but I could not leave until late in the afternoon. Then the rest of us went up to picnic at my old home, five miles above the village of Tivoli.
The house looks very much neglected, and for many years nobody has done much to the grounds except cut down some trees. Still, as we sat and ate our picnic supper, watching the sun go down behind the Catskill Mountains, I could not help feeling a sense of beauty and peace. It may be sad to return to the scenes of one's childhood and realize all the things that have happened in the intervening years to the people one loves; yet there is also something very sweet in remembering the good things which no sadness can wipe out.
For instance, into this house of adolescent life, with young aunts and uncles enjoying to the full a gay and fairly undisciplined existence I came with my brother after my mother's death. It was natural for my grandmother, already in the middle years of her life, to be willing to take in her eldest daughter's children. As I have grown older, however, I appreciate more and more the spirit which made those young aunts and uncles make us, as children, feel that our home was with them; that we had as much right to be there as they. There never was a question of what was thine or mine among us. That is something which makes for a deeper belief in the good of human nature and helps one through the rough spots all the rest of one's life.