SEPTEMBER 25, 1941
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—A few days ago, I received in my mail, a release from the British War Relief Society. Through Mrs. Alfred Hess, they are making an appeal which I feel sure will be answered by a great many women in this country. For $5.00, they can provide materials from which "packages for women of the British fighting forces" can be made up and sent to them wherever they may be. Mrs. Hess also appeals for workers to help in the preparation of these packages. I am sure both of these appeals are going to be met with great generosity.
Yesterday, by proxy, I learned a good deal about my new job, because Mrs. Henry Morgenthau Jr., met the staff in the morning, and sat in on Director La Guardia's meeting. In the afternoon, she met with another group, which discussed the complexities of the jurisdiction of work. All existing organizations will finally be drawn into a pattern where everybody will do his best with the least possible friction.
Anybody with experience knows what this can mean in the way of difficulty during the period of organization. A hundred times a day I shall wish what I have so often wished in the past, that human beings could be reconstructed overnight. If we would think only of the objectives to be achieved and never of the instruments to be used, least of all ourselves, how much more we could accomplish.
Great teachers through the ages have tried to teach us that this is the only efficient way of working and, perhaps, in the end, the only way through which any civilization can be saved. However, we do not always believe these teachers.
Yesterday I read through a little book called: "Digging For Mrs. Miller," by John Strachey. It is an account of the experiences of an air raid warden in England. It is certainly different from anything I have ever read by him before. He is dealing with facts, whereas in the past he has dealt almost always with theories. It is a valuable little book and will enable people to visualize daily life for the ordinary man and woman where total defense is required.
The picture of the way the air raid wardens sleep, dressed and ready to go on duty at any time, and then go on with whatever their day's job may be, is one which not many of us can visualize. The young mother with a sick child may be able to do it, or anyone with severe illness at home who has been obliged to continue with a regular job, may grasp it, but most of us know that at some time in the near future the strain will come to an end. No one in London knows when it will come to an end, and the price of safety is eternal vigilance.