NOVEMBER 12, 1941
DETROIT, Tuesday—Miss Thompson and I flew over on the 5:00 o'clock plane to New York City yesterday afternoon. I reached the dinner given by the Public Education Association a little late.
Fortunately, the few words I had to say came at the beginning, and I was able to enjoy the three other speeches which were really outstanding. Sir Norman Angell, in his talk on what the English schools had been able to accomplish, pointed out how successfully their people had learned to make their own decisions and to act on their own initiative in times of emergency.
Mr. James Marshall must have been pleased at the praise which was given the present school administration in New York City and his speech was most interesting.
The evening was closed by Mr. Eduard C. Lindeman, who is, I think, one of the most inspiring leaders I know in the educational world. He conducts a seminar on Monday evenings at Columbia University, and he told me that his students had let him off for the evening on the condition that they could come into the gallery and listen to the speeches. They were there in full force, and I feel sure it was a profitable evening for them.
This morning we breakfasted early and caught the plane for Detroit, Mich., where we shall spend a busy afternoon and evening.
I have just read a book, "The Heart Of Another" by my friend, Martha Gellhorn. It consists of four short stories, most of them dealing with incidents which she has lived through, or seen others live through in the course of the last few years. The gift of the fiction writer is to paint in words that "heart of another," so that, for the first time, you actually live somebody else's life. You know their thoughts and feelings, and follow their reasoning, a thing often missed in real life.
The first story is the one which appeals to me most. It is easy to understand the primitive suffering of the man because of his love of the land which he feared he must leave. There are no subtleties here which are hard to understand.
Some of the guests at luncheon yesterday begged to see the President's dog, Fala, and so I sent for him. The group of twenty-odd people, all talking and laughing, did not unnerve him. He seemed to sense at once that he had been brought in to entertain them. He went through all his tricks, earned great praise and retired, tail wagging, with an evident sense of virtue.