OCTOBER 13, 1942
WASHINGTON, Monday—Yesterday afternoon, I gave a small tea for Mrs. Edward J. Flynn, the wife of the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who was spending a few days here with her husband. I only asked a very few of her own friends, some of the women working in executive government positions and the wives of government officials.
It was an interesting group and we very much enjoyed the opportunity of seeing each other and talking together. In these days, when there is so much less purely social activity, it is strange how much one values opportunities of this kind to see a few people one thinks about, but rarely sees.
Last night I had a very pleasant, small birthday dinner. One can only hope as the years go on that they add wisdom. The great obligation of older people is to gain in the understanding of the world in which they live and to maintain a freedom from all types of fears to which youth is an easy prey.
Really to serve well, age should free one from false values. It should make it easy to cling to the essentials and to make one more aware of the joys of life, because the time is shorter and there is more urgency to live abundantly.
Lady Simon is coming to lunch with me today. She and her husband have been among the real adventurers in the housing field and she has been over here lecturing. I am most anxious to learn of her impressions in this country.
At the present moment, I am deeply concerned by the fact that here, in Washington, and in every other city where war industries have brought a great influx of people, that there are being created slums of a new kind. People are living under appalling conditions, not because they have no money, but because there are simply no decent accommodations for them. In practically every West Coast city which I visited, these congested conditions existed. There were pictures in the Seattle, Wash., paper which showed distressing conditions.
Mr. Carl Sandburg pointed out in a recent article that slums create a problem for the community, and that the community pays a high price for allowing them to exist. This is one of our war problems of which we are not aware at the present time. I am glad of the opportunity to talk to Lady Simon to find out what greater experience has taught Great Britain.