JANUARY 30, 1941
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—Yesterday, Mrs. Henry Wallace, the wife of the Vice-President, gave a delightful lunch for the wives of the members of the Senate. Old acquaintances seemed very happy to meet again, and the wives of new members were welcomed with open arms.
Last night we gave one of the most interesting dinners that I have attended for a long time. I think one of the things vital to all of us today, is a knowledge of our own country. Therefore, I am deeply interested in any method by which this knowledge may be acquired. The "Open Road," in whose interest our dinner was given last night, is one of the organizations which I think is doing an extremely good piece work along the lines of a better understanding of our own United States and its people.
They organize groups to study different sections of the country. Many of the people who take these six to eight week trips are teachers, social workers and undergraduates. All of them reach out to certain definite groups in their own communities and will share the knowledge which they obtain.
These trips are not just sightseeing trips but trips in which a real study is made of the life in a whole community; its industrial and agricultural oppurtinities,its education, recreational and social life. It is hoped that this summer there will be ten such trips offered. I cannot help feeling that everyone taking advantage of this type of travel will gain immeasurably in the knowledge of the country.
The speeches last night were so good that I found people did not even look tired when we broke up at midnight, and that is saying a good deal for after-dinner speeches! Dr. Neilson presided and, though he began by saying that he was told his remarks need have no human interest, I am quite sure that every one present found much in what he said which was of interest from the standpoint of humanity and its future.
We are drawing to the climax of the infantile paralysis campaign. many people have sent me their contributions to the March of Dimes, and our mail is somewhat delayed by the flow of letters to the President. I am sure that the whole country is more concious of the work for crippled people because of this yearly event. It always brings me a knowledge of something new.
This year I discovered the work of a convalescent home in Rockaway Park, N.Y., which is extremely interesting. The patients there have developed a printing shop, partly as a rehabiltation measure, and partly for support. You may order from them, writing paper, calling cards, place cards, playing cards and bridge scores. In fact, I imagine they would execute any printing order that you chose to give them.
The pictures in the booklet sent me, show the teacher laboriously training crippled hands and arms, showing boys on crutches how to operate certain machines, and yet the faces of the youngsters show complete forgetfulness of infirmities in the interest if their job and they look like happy young people.