FEBRUARY 11, 1943
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—I did not have space to tell you yesterday that, last Sunday, in Portland, Me., when my train arrived a little after 9 p.m., Mrs. Eleanore Herrick met me and took me out to the shipyards to see the women working on the night shift. They have a great many women at work and it was really very dramatic to see the plant at night.
The women all seemed extremely interested. One of them told me that she drove fifty miles with her husband and four other workers every day. Another told me she had an 18 mile bus ride each way. I understand that these women would like to work without a day off, since Maine has no law requiring one day of rest in seven. The women know that this is a chance that may not last, to make money and to put it aside.
Maine people are thrifty, but I think they are a little too hopeful that making a supreme effort will bring the war to a rapid close. They must count on a fairly long pull. I doubt if anyone could stand constant work without a day's rest, the women particularly should consider this.
In talking to the women, I found that many had older children who were being looked after by other members of the their families temporarily. Even in that case, it seems to me wise for a mother to spend at least one day a week catching up on what her children are doing.
On this trip I read the manuscript of a book by Miss Frances Blackwood, called "Mrs. England Goes On Living." It will not be out for several weeks, and it is the result of six weeks which she spent in Great Britain in the spring of 1942. She wrote a number of articles for a Philadelphia paper which I read, but I think the book will give the most complete picture which I have seen anywhere of conditions as they touch home life in Great Britain for rich and poor alike.
Miss Blackwood is a trained observer and has a sure instinct for the human side of the picture and this book will have a wide appeal. Many people in this country have no great admiration for Great Britain's policies as an Empire, but today we have an interest in the people of every country throughout the world. Any book which gives us a fresh and interesting picture, I am sure will be of value.
Learning about other people does not mean that, of necessity, one must emulate them. It does mean one will have a better understanding of their motives and reactions and, therefore, will be a better neighbor.