MARCH 28, 1941
VALDOSTA, Ga., Thursday —The sun has not been very kind to us. Yesterday, Miss Thompson and I walked around Middleton Gardens in the early morning bemoaning the fact that no sunlight danced upon the water, or played through the leaves of the trees. However, nothing can really spoil the beauty of those gardens and we enjoyed our walk and came back to thank Mrs. Smith, who had invited us into her house.
I always think that it must seem very odd to have strangers wandering around your garden. But she told us that though they marked with care "private residence" outside the house, people come in if they leave the doors unlocked. One morning the maid heard some people in the dining room and, on coming in, found them examining some silver.
Of course, in Europe certain houses with wonderful collections of paintings, prints and furniture were open to the public at certain times, but never do I remember the families' living quarters open while they were at home. When one owns works of art, there is an obligation to let the public see them. But it seems to me, that the public has a certain obligation in return to respect the privacy of the owners.
Mrs. Huntington drove with us well on the road to Savannah, and then we pulled up under some trees and ate a delicious picnic lunch. She feels as I do, that food eaten out of doors always has a better flavor. I always rejoice when the time comes when we can have breakfast and lunch on the porch at the White House.
We practically always eat on the porch of my cottage at Hyde Park. The President likes to go even one step further and has the table put right out on the lawn. It may be a trifle disconcerting if it begins to rain or, if towards evening, the mosquitoes begin to bite.
From Savannah to Valdosta, we went through the turpentine country. I cannot help feeling that the big slashes made in the trees must be harmful to them, but they tell me that the same trees are used for a number of years. We drove through much swamp land. I find this country rather gloomy, but perhaps that is due to the fact that the sun has stayed away from us.
We were late in arriving yesterday, but with true Southern hospitality, nobody hurried us. Miss Thompson and I dined with the girls at the college. They sang some Stephen Foster songs, which I much enjoyed. After dinner, boys and girls from a nearby colored training school, led by a young woman who sang for the President once at Warm Springs, came in and sang some spirituals for us.