JUNE 2, 1943
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—I was back in Washington early yesterday afternoon. The house seems strangely quiet after the departure of all our guests.
We had tea for a few guests, and dinner on the porch yesterday. I think just now, the south porch of the White House is a wonderfully pleasant place to sit. The honeysuckle on the steps leading to the garden below is in full bloom, and a big magnolia tree, planted by Andrew Jackson, which shades the porch on the west, is just bursting into flower.
They are the most enormous cups of white fragrance I have ever seen. I love this tree, and every year wait for its flowering with keen anticipation, and it never disappoints me. To the people who live in the South, it is probably a commonplace occurence, but to me these great, white, cuplike flowers are one of the events of my year.
My press conference today, which was moved to the lower floor in the movie room during the Prime Minister's visit, returned to the Monroe Room on the second floor. That is just an indication of our return to times far less interesting than the past few weeks have been.
I introduced the two leading women welders of the country to the ladies of the press this morning. The champion is Miss Vera Anderson, and the runner-up is Mrs. Hermina Strmiska. The contest took place in Pascagoula, Mississippi. They met in competition, rules for the welding contest were carefully carried out, based on time and quality.
The champion is an employee of the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation of Pascagoula, Miss., and the runner-up is an employee of the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation of Portland, Oregon. This is a new occupation for women, and that is why this competition was staged, I imagine. They probably need more women welders and so this should spur the ladies on.
People evidently like to know what the soldiers are writing home, for whenever I quote a letter in my column more come in. The following was written by a boy of Italian birth, though long since an American citizen, to his parents-in-law in California.
"Well, here I am in Africa, feeling like a million dollars. We are well taken care of, eat well and sleep well, in houses. We do a nice day's work, then have recreation. This evening we played softball, then played some records. Am getting along just fine and believe me, I'm mighty grateful that I am an American. I know more than ever now what we have to fight for. I only wish everyone felt as I do about it. I wouldn't give one tiny point of our stars for all the world except America. I miss you and your wonderful dinners. Will make up for them when I get home, but not until this is all over. We intend to do a good job, without tears. God bless America."