AUGUST 21, 1942
HYDE PARK, Thursday—Yesterday was one of our busy days. The four little girls decided that they wished to have a picnic lunch in what my mother-in-law named "The Swan Cottage" years ago. She built it as a playhouse for her great-grandchildren. Nowadays it is used chiefly by the Secret Service men, who sit on the porch and keep their paraphernalia inside.
But the little table, chairs, sink and electric plate are still there, and these children had evidently been thinking it would be fun to play house there. So, when I had guests at the big house for lunch, they took their own lunch and ousted the Secret Service for the time being.
In the late afternoon, I picked up Mrs. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., and we went over to have supper and spend the evening with the work campers at New Milford, Connecticut. This is one of several work camps run by the International Student Service. The young people, both boys and girls, work on the neighboring farms nine hours a day. They look as though the summer had so far agreed with them. One boy had left to take a job, but 23 are still making themselves useful and enjoying their evenings together.
With such long hours of work, it is hard to plan much that is either educational or recreational. From my point of view, that is one of the problems of work camps, particularly now when they are really trying to do full time jobs for the benefit of the community in which they find themselves. In peacetime they might undertake some limited piece of work, with the idea of doing manual work four hours a day and having time for other occupations.
At present, these students, who are still in college, feel that if they stay on in college in order to be better trained to serve their country later on, they must at least devote their holidays to full time work which has real value.
The questions were interesting and the discussion during the evening was animated. Still I felt that 10:00 o'clock was as late as any of these young people could well afford to stay awake. They get up at 6:30 every morning and their own camp work and a full day's work outside, makes 10:00 p.m. the end of a long day.
I dropped Mrs. Morgenthau at her home and reached my own cottage on the stroke of 12:00, to find three people still awake and waiting for me, which was pleasant but rather hard on them.