FEBRUARY 25, 1942
NEW YORK, Tuesday—I had my first press conference back in the White House yesterday and, quite obviously, the girls asked me how I liked my return to private life! It made me add up what really has been different in the past few days. I discovered: 1, I have really spent several hours reading: 2, I walked for an hour Sunday morning: 3, I spent an hour in the National Art Gallery Sunday afternoon.
If you are in Washington, don't fail to go this gallery. You can't possibly see the 90 galleries all at once, but a little at a time refreshes the spirit. Most inspiring, is the fact that on a Sunday the place was crowded with men in uniform, young people, old people and children.
I took my cousin, Mrs. Joseph Alsop, to see the exhibits of drawings and paintings on defense subjects, and then we went through some of the Early Italian rooms. I found that she enjoyed the carving in wood of the Madonna kneeling before the Child, as much as I did.
We saw a few of the Early Dutch paintings also, and had a glimpse of the different courts with their display of flowers and fountains. I came away feeling a real gratitude that such a collection has been given to the nation, and that so many people seem to be enjoying it.
I still have a good many commitments made during the past few months for various speeches and engagements. There are a good many personal things, however, which I ought to have done and which I must now do, such as the distribution of belongings in the New York houses to various children. This means actually getting things packed and shipped in anticipation of the final disposal of these houses, in which we have lived for a good many years. On the whole, I do not think my new found leisure is going to be empty of occupation.
Last night I attended the annual dinner of the Democratic National Committee and listened with many others to the President's speech. Following his directions, I kept a map in front of me, but the Committee had thoughtfully provided a large map for the dinner guests. I am sure that many of us are better informed and wiser than we were before.
As the President said, he obviously could not answer in one speech, all the questions which people have on their minds. Gradually, day by day, and week by week, these questions will be answered, if we ask our local defense councils to obtain the information for us.