JULY 30, 1941
PORTLAND, Maine, Tuesday—It began to rain as we left home a few minutes before eight yesterday morning and for a time it came down in torrents! Then as we arrived at the home of Miss Lape and Miss Read, the rain was kind enough to stop, so that we could eat out of doors. As we started off again, however, it came down gently and steadily, and even though I told myself that probably the farmers were glad and it was much needed, still I wish it had waited for two days, when our drive was over!
We made very good time in spite of the weather and had a very comfortable night at the Lafayette Hotel in Portland, Me. Now we are on our way again on the last lap of the trip back to Campobello Island, which we should reach by three or four o'clock this afternoon.
I wonder if any of you read an article on Sunday in the magazine "This Week," on the attitude of young people towards the difficulties of the present day? It voiced so well the feeling of many men who resent one of the questions which certain groups of young people are apt to put before their elders—namely:
"We are ready to defend Democracy if we know what Democracy really means to us. Our generation, to a very great extent, has grown up under dark skies with sometimes scant food, rather little schooling and no recreation. When we were supposedly ready to strike out for ourselves and look for an opportunity to work, as we had been told Americans should do, we found nothing available."
The article points out that in many ways the pioneer days were just as hard, that Henry Ford and Thomas Edison worked long hours for scant pay and, therefore, though it may be difficult, still if you have the will to succeed you will succeed.
I think there is a great deal to be said for that point of view. There are a good many young people who believe they are entitled to work at the things they wish to do, and not just at anything which comes to hand. There are other young people who, when they find themselves in an uncongenial occupation, are not able to put the best they have into that occupation or use spare time to develop, through reading or other contacts, their real interests.
Even when this has been acknowledged, one still has to face the fact that youth has been a part of the whole situation which denies people willing and able to work an opportunity to do so. There is no use discussing whether it is harder for the head of a family or an eighteen-year-old boy to be without a job. Both have a right to believe there is something wrong with a civilization which cannot find ways of providing work, when all around them they see the need for their skills and their professions.
Even the war must not make us forget that this question is still unsolved. No civilization is secure which does not solve it.