SEPTEMBER 15, 1942
NEW YORK, Monday—Yesterday we had supper with Secretary and Mrs. Morgenthau, and then Miss Thompson and I took the evening train to New York City. Today I am going by train to Westbrook, Conn., to spend a few hours with my old friends, Miss Elizabeth Read and Miss Esther Lape. Even two days in the country makes one aware of rural problems. I am very much concerned about the shortage of labor which exists on all the farms around the neighborhood, particularly in the apple growing sections. The employment offices do not seem to have been very successful in choosing young people with a sense of responsibility for their jobs and for the war situation which they are trying to alleviate.
I hope that, as we become more conscious of the needs which the war is creating in the rural districts, we shall be able to get girls and young women who will really take their day's work seriously.
The war is changing the position of women in many ways. I notice that the Department of Agriculture has requested the farmers of the nation to consider the election of farm women as well as men, to county and community committees to administer the AAA farm program next year.
The AAA's articles of association are being amended to permit farm wives, as well as women farming in their own name, to vote in the committee members' elections and to hold office. This is an innovation in one of our most conservative groups and, I think, a fair recognition of the part women play in agricultural life.
This is the season of the year when the fruit of the earth always seems to me more abundant than at any other time. The baskets of purple grapes which one sees by the roadside, and the apples and sickle pears which one can pick up in any orchard, are very pleasant to eat. But one can enjoy almost as much, the smell of the fruit as one walks through an orchard.
The sun seems to bring it out and, just as a strawberry picked and eaten in the strawberry bed has a better flavor than if you eat it indoors, so the fruit at this season straight from the tree or the vine has much more flavor than anything you can buy in city markets. I always wish that every city dweller could have at least a sample of the joys of the country in every one of the changing seasons.