APRIL 29, 1943
SAN FRANCISCO, Wednesday—Here we are on our way home, and we have had two lucky breaks. I've had a chance to see our son, Johnny, and our daughter-in-law, Anne, and their children again, and to take a young soldier who will soon be overseas to dine at a restaurant.
When I opened one of my newspapers yesterday morning in Los Angeles I gasped with dismay. I was confronted with a statement that I had seen every patient in the two naval hospitals which I had visited on Monday and I had not only taken their names, but the names of their families and home adresses, and had rashly promised that my husband would write to every one. Of course, I didn't make such a promise and I know the men themselves will appreciate the fact that I couldn't ask the President to write some eleven hundred extra letters.
For a moment I couldn't think how such a story could have begun. Then the germ of truth which so often starts these rumors came to me. In the Corona Hospital one of the men was a patient from the Houston who took several cruises with my husband. He told me he took the President fishing sometimes, so I did ask for his name and I know that my husband will be interested in hearing about him and will want to drop him a line.
We were taught in our childhood that great oaks from little acorns grow, and readers would do well to remember it, for there is usually some foundation for everything that is written, but it may be embroidered in the telling, or it may grow like the oak tree, or it may be misinterpreted. Worse yet, sometimes in the things which we write ourselves, we take for granted that other people will understand how we think and feel, forgetting that nothing should ever be taken for granted and that when you want to convey something, you should say it clearly and in unmistakable terms. In any case, this will clear up, I hope, the disillusionment which some people might have felt had they waited for a letter from the President because a relative or a friend happened to be in the hospital at Long Beach or Corona.
I finished two books on this trip, "The Robe" and "The Human Comedy." Very different, and yet both of them teach very much the same lesson. "The Robe," as you may remember, is the story of the Crucifixion, but the fight which all men of goodwill carry on in the world, began then, and "The Human Comedy" by Saroyan, points out that each individual stands to be counted in that fight, day by day, wherever he is.