AUGUST 20, 1942
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I read a letter reprinted in one of the magazines this morning, from a man whose usually very successful tourist motor camp was deserted because of the war. He had been asked to join with a group to urge upon Congress some relief by the government for his group during the war period.
Instead, he responded that the government should be told to think only about winning the war, and he, as his contribution to the war, should try to meet his own problems. That is a very fine attitude and one which I find in many people.
For instance, there is a woman on one of our through roads, who used to have a number of guests at her gas station and lunchroom for a meal. She sold a considerable amount in the way of articles which she was able to make in the winter; woven material, jellies, jams and the like, to these tourists.
Instead of complaining that she does not know what to do now that her business has practically disappeared, she calmly announced to me the other day that she had decided to close her house completely in the autumn and get a job for the winter months. She is sure that there must be work for anyone as strong and healthy as she is, who can cook and wash.
There must be thousands and thousands of people, men and women, who are doing their bit for the war by read justing [originally: readjusting] their way of living. They thought they would never have to change. They were settled for life and then the war changed everything.
Another woman writes me from the Southwest that she is going to move her two children into a nearby town where there is a war industry, for she cannot give them proper medical care on her husband's navy pay. He was in the reserve and was called back and is now "somewhere in the Pacific."
On the other hand, I must acknowledge that I've had letters from people who seem to be beaten by their problems, or perhaps it would be fairer to say that they really dread facing them. One young woman writes me that she has a job. Her baby was born after her husband left, but both she and the baby are well and apparently she is not in financial straits.
She feels that her mind cannot any longer stand the strain of not seeing her husband, and she wants to know why the Army does not arrange for wives to join their husbands when they are not actually on a fighting front. I, of course, am not in on the Army's plans, but I can imagine difficulties when there is an uncertainty as to how long a particular part of the world will remain a peaceful spot.