JUNE 21, 1943
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I have started my ten days vacation. Miss Thompson and I reached Hyde Park Friday evening.
Yesterday was very largely given over to watching with amazement the preparation which goes into the production of any theatrical performance. Mr. John Golden came before lunch to rehearse "The Army Play By Play." Long before he was here, the soldier band arrived by a train which must have left New York City somewhere around 5:00 o'clock in the morning. The cast arrived and all of them found carpenters and stage hands hard at work. These last had been up here, as far as I could find out for several days.
A little theatre had suddenly blossomed in the President's library, and from the moment Mr. Golden arrived, rehearsals began. Food seemed to be a minor consideration, and yet I never knew young men who were not interested in eating, so I was relieved to find that Mr. Golden had sent for food in the middle of the day for these boys. I made Mr. Golden leave them for a few minutes of quiet, while he came to the house to lunch with us.
Our neighbors, the people on my sister-in-law's place and our place and a contingent of soldiers from the military police school, all enjoyed a repeat performance of "The Army Play By Play," and I think it was better than the first time I saw it last Monday in New York City. I am glad I am not a producer, however, it takes so much patience and energy and real artistic temperament.
The column which to me stands out as the most human and vivid story of the men in the African Theatre is Ernie Pyle's. I would not miss that column every day if I possibly could help it, and I am sure that many people feel just as I do.
I have been fortunate enough to have letters of late from several parts of the fighting fronts. Though most of them were written, of course, long before the things happened which we now read about in the papers, and in spite of the fact that all my correspondents are very censor conscious, these letters do give one sidelights and a background for everything one reads in the paper as accomplished facts later on.
This morning, besides the two little girls staying with us, we have a most wonderful baby, who is always cheerful and apparently just thinks the world is his oyster. Of course, his parents came with him, but they are a minor consideration, for everybody's attention is riveted on the baby.
Our two daughters-in-law, Mrs. Elliott Roosevelt and Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., came up to spend a few days and they enjoyed the plays with us.