JANUARY 18, 1943
WASHINGTON, Sunday—This is Sunday, but I must still tell you about last Thursday!
In Monmouth County, New Jersey, last year, they had a small epidemic of infantile paralysis, and so they are already preparing for their "March of Dimes" this year. A recovered patient, a small boy of seven or eight, presented me with a bunch of flowers and asked me the following question: "Will there always be a 'March of Dimes' Mrs. Roosevelt, to help little children like me to get well again?"
I hope, of course, that scientists working with the research grants given through the collections obtained in these yearly drives, will someday find a preventive as well as a cure. I told the small boy that as long as children and adults suffer from this disease, there would always be help for them contributed by the nation.
Before I left the USO building, I went to the top floor with a group of soldiers who form, I imagine, a committee running the building. We saw the room in which wood-working, or painting, or toy making may be indulged in as a recreation by the men.
On leaving Red Bank, I went home with Mrs. Lewis Thompson for fifteen minutes of quiet talk with her and Commissioner Ellis. Then I was called for by Mrs. Louis Payne. Before going to her house to meet some people in the interests of the Young Men's Vocational Foundation, we went back to Fort Monmouth, where General Van Dusen showed me his recreation rooms for the men and a hostess house where relatives can stay.
Mrs. Payne has been instrumental in raising money, not only to make these rooms more liveable than the Government could, but she has also helped the chaplains make their chapels really beautiful. I only had time to see one, but it was so warm and lovely, very different from the usual bare post chapels.
Mrs. Payne must have spent many hours shopping and furnishing these various rooms, but I am sure every time she goes into them, the evident enjoyment of the men must bring her a great sense of satisfaction. It is quite evident that the officers on the post appreciate all that she has done.
On Friday morning, Miss Rose Schneiderman of the Women's Trade Union League, came to breakfast with me. Then Miss Mary Acton Hammond came to tell me of her book on conditions in Great Britain, which she has written as a result of some time spent there for her newspaper. I have read some articles she wrote and found them readable, and feel that this book will be a real contribution to our mutual understanding when it comes out.