FEBRUARY 25, 1943
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—I forgot to tell you that, on Monday evening, I drove around with Commissioner Mason to see the extent and success of a practice blackout. We were only gone from the dinner for about half an hour, but drove down F and G Streets and Pennsylvania Avenue, and no lights were showing from any government building, nor from the theatres, restaurants or shops.
There were two windows on Pennsylvania Avenue from which a little light glinted through badly drawn shades or curtains, and there was one restaurant which was slow in turning its lights out. Another one turned them on again before the signal was given. I was also impressed by the number of air raid wardens, auxiliary police and other civilian defense people with badges on their arms, who patrolled the streets.
Even our escort and official car did not keep us from being stopped. When we showed our lights too brightly we were informed of our mistake by a man in authority on a street corner.
I lunched today with Vice President and Mrs. Wallace to meet the wives of the Central and South American representatives in Washington. They are a charming and very agreeable group of women. I was deeply interested when Secretary Morgenthau told us all about Cuba's associations for health and certain types of education. Some of the old Spanish families founded these associations.
For a monthly payment of $2.50 a man and his family gets complete care and any kind of operation that is necessary and hospitalization as long as is required for any illness. In addition, these associations carry on classes for the benefit of girls who wish to fit themselves for some particular kind of work, especially in cultural things such as the drama, music and dancing. There is quite a little colony of Cubans, who have settled in Tampa, Florida, and who have established a small association of this same type. Everywhere the contribution to the health and happiness of the people is great.
I am learning something every day, but it never occurred to me that at this kind of luncheon I would need my "short snorter" bill. Madame Martins, who travels by plane to and from Brazil, asked me if I was a member of this fraternity. When I acknowledged I was, she asked me to sign her bill and to produce my own.
Luckily for me, there were only two members at the table, the Vice President and Secretary Morgenthau, because I had left my bill at home at the White House. I had to pay three dollars for my carelessness, and I shall never go without my bill again!