DECEMBER 11, 1942
NEW YORK, Thursday—Yesterday Mrs. Martin Vogel came in to see me in Washington and told me the story of the work which her committee has done entertaining the servicemen in Washington. Their's is a very personal service.
It began with about 35 hostesses. Some of them live in big houses, some in small ones, some of them want to keep open house and have one hundred or more servicemen drop in on Saturday or Sunday during certain hours. Others offer to have one or two men for a meal or a weekend.
Today she has over a thousand hostesses and the type of entertainment varies in just the same way. I think this type of personal contact is very valuable to a boy who is in Washington from some distant state. To go into a house and have a meal cooked by the mother of the family, to have a chance perhaps for a bath, a romp with some children, to sit around and read the papers or listen to the radio—this may be his first real touch of something homelike in months.
On the other hand, if the soldier happens to find himself one of many guests in a big house, with, perhaps, some well-known people there whom he has read about in the newspapers, he has a different sort of enjoyment. It's stimulating, something to write home about.
These experiences may mean a great deal to a boy who has a day or two of leave in Washington far away from his home and his own people. Mrs. Vogel tells me that her committee makes an effort to send boys interested in music to places where they are apt to find other musical people, lawyers meet lawyers, etc. Although this is a highly personalized type of work, it has its own place and is of real value to the community.
At 9:15 yesterday morning, Mr. Aubrey Williams brought his regional directors in for a brief visit with me and I tried to tell them of things which I had seen or heard of in England that might have some bearing on their own work. At 12:30, I went to the Labor Department and lunched with the executive heads of the various divisions.
It seems as though my few weeks in Great Britain gave me an opportunity to see such a variety of activities, that when I go to the various groups in the government there are some new things to tell each of them which touch on their own particular work.
After leaving there, I went to the sale for Free French war prisoners. It was given by some American women of French origin living in this country. I also attended a sale for the British War Relief. At Christmastime these sales are very frequent and I find that during my absence this coming week I shall have to ask Mrs. Helm to attend one or two here, which I would go to if I were in Washington.