APRIL 23, 1942
NEW YORK, Wednesday—Miss Luise Rainer came to luncheon with me yesterday. I had not seen her for some time and I was happy to talk with her again. She has such a keen desire to make her art of use in this period. All the other artists with whom I have talked feel the same way. They have a conception of the need which many of us, particularly the soldiers who are far from home, must feel at this time.
This need is for warmth in human contacts. We want to feel this warmth portrayed on the stage and on the screen, to hear it in music, and to read such things as will lift the spirit and leave one still conscious of the world of love which lies around us in the midst of a world of hate.
After lunch, I went over to the Naval Hospital for a visit with Franklin, Jr.. It is certainly a desperately difficult thing for these young people to be obliged by illness to be laid up for awhile. They seem to think that fate is treating them very badly. Franklin, Jr. longs for the day when he can walk out of the hospital and back to his ship.
Afterwards, I visited another young friend who is ill, and then went back to the apartment to see Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Gould, who came to tea. I feel a little shy about any guests I have here just now, because nothing is really completely in order. I do so many outside things when I am in New York City that I don't arrange pictures and books and the things which really mean being settled.
The President must have enjoyed congratulating Lieut. Comdr. Edward H. O'Hare yesterday, and I like the picture in the newspapers today showing his wife placing the decoration around his neck.
One of the readers of my column out in Michigan sends me a note to tell me that one of his Norwegian friends feels that Mr. Steinbeck did not bring out sufficiently strongly, in "The Moon Is Down," the cruel treatment which the Nazis have inflicted upon the people of Norway. It seems to me that, perhaps, John Steinbeck in painting the picture he did of the old time German officers in the new Nazi frame, brought home something which might not have been believed if it had not been done in just that way.
Many of us think of the young Storm Troopers as having been conditioned from childhood to cruelty. We do not realize how impossible it is for the older soldiers, in spite of what their feelings may be, to change to the Nazi theory of government and to prevent it from taking toll of the subject peoples. The picture Steinbeck painted lacked no horrors for me.
Miss Thompson and I are leaving this morning for Washington.