FEBRUARY 21, 1941
WASHINGTON, Thursday—I have to begin my column today by figuratively putting on sackcloth and ashes, because the people who came to visit me last week were from Williamstown, Pennsylvania and NOT Williamsport, Pennsylvania. I have maligned the fair name of Williamsport, which is thriving in every possible way, and the manager of the Williamsport Community Trade Association is quite rightly very much annoyed with me. I hereby make my humble apologies. It is Williamstown which has difficulties to face. Perhaps Williamsport can give them help.
And now for another mistake which seems to have brought a certain young movie actress, who came here for the Birthday Balls, a lot of unfavorable publicity. It appears that Lana Turner, on the night of January 30th, 1941, is said to have "poked Anna Sklepovich in the ribs" in what is alleged to have been an unfriendly manner. I remember that particlar meeting and picture taking quite well. There were crowds all around us, the cameramen were telling us what to do every minute, and I am rather surprised that we did not actually knock each other down. I am quite sure that no one tried to get anyone else out of the picture, because what we were trying to do was to get everyone into the picture and not have them hidden by the most gorgeous and monumental cake I have ever seen, which threatened to hide everybody except me.
I am too tall to be hidden, unless something stands over six feet. Miss Sklepovich was a nice child, who was invited when a prankster had first sent her a false invitation to see the President.
The movie stars who came on for the party did so to help the cause of infantile paralysis and I do not think they should receive unfavorable criticism. The response to this annual appeal is very heartening and it is really too crowded at every party for any of us to know whether we observe all the amenities.
I had a most interesting time yesterday at Hunter College. Some time I want to go back to see that extraordinary sixteen story building which houses 7,000 students. The girls were a delightful audience and charming hostesses. I particularly enjoyed my question period. A broadcast later for the British American Ambulance Corps was very interesting. I hope that the sale of the new stamps designed by Mr. Arthur Szyk, which were presented to me, will meet with great success.
I am sorry that I shall not be able to attend the performance of "Claudia" on the evening of February 26th in New York City. It is being given for the benefit of Pioneer Youth Inc., an organization which does a great deal for underprivileged youngsters by establishing camps and carrying on clubs. Their work is not confined to New York City alone, but even helps the sharecropper children in Alabama.
I flew down to Washington this morning and, since the wind was so high, we had a few rough minutes before landing.