APRIL 9, 1943
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Thursday—At 10:00 o'clock yesterday morning, General Weed called for me. We went directly to Letterman Hospital. This is an old establishment and one which cannot expand very greatly, therefore, while they receive a good many patients from overseas every month, they pass them on as fast as they can to other hospitals in other areas, keeping only those it would not be safe to move. This means, of course, that they have a number of serious cases here.
The grounds are attractive and many flowers are already blooming. There was the same atmosphere of cheerfulness and hope in this hospital as there has been in all the naval hospitals I have visited on this trip. Yet, there are a great many boys facing disabilities for the rest their lives as a result of their war service.
Losing an arm or a leg seems to be a minor calamity nowadays, as one boy said to me with a grin: "It might have been much worse." He had stubbed his toe while carrying a shell and fallen. The shell in going off, had only injured his arm and forearm. This seems to be the general attitude—as long as you are alive, it might have been worse.
As I asked boy after boy in what action he had been injured, I began to think that Guadalcanal will be, for a long time, the place of tragic memories to many of our boys.
One extremely interesting thing is going on in this hospital—an experiment in the treatment of a tropical disease. This may be of great value to a great many people and the boys are cheerful guinea pigs and seem most grateful for the relief which has come to them so far.
After my return to the hotel around noon, Miss Thompson, Miss Chaney and I went on a short shopping expedition. After lunch, our old friends, Judge and Mrs. William Denman, came to see me at the hotel. At 3:30, I visited the Stage Door Canteen, which will open this month and which I think will have a delightful setting. At four, I attended and spoke at the tea and bond rally of the Women's Division of the War Savings Staff. In San Francisco, the American Women's Voluntary Services have done a great deal of the work in the drive to sell bonds, manning the booths and doing many of the jobs which take time and devotion.
At 5:15, I went to the broadcasting station and took part in a fifteen-minute broadcast for the Red Cross. From there, I went to a servicemen's center, going first to the fourth floor, which is devoted to the WAVES, WAACs and the auxiliary military services generally. I saw a group of WAVES and SPARS take their oath of office, and then visited all the other floors, which are devoted to the men in the services. I found this as popular as a similar place in Washington.