JULY 3, 1943
HYDE PARK, Friday—Everyone I saw yesterday in New York City spoke of the change in temperature, so apparently more of us object to being very hot than appears on the surface. Most people seem to have learned to take whatever they get, day by day, and bear it cheerfully, and so you don't hear much complaint either of heat or of cold. Perhaps we have learned another thing which I overheard a woman on the train say a few days ago—"When I am working it doesn't seem to matter what the temperature is, but when I am doing nothing, then I have plenty of time to think about it and I suffer every minute." The lesson from that would seem to be that if we keep right on doing our jobs, the jobs will become so absorbing we will forget about ourselves.
Being able to forget about oneself is one of the great blessings which good health brings to people. If you feel well your body is not a matter of concern to you—in fact you are not even conscious of it. If in addition to feeling well, you can wear clothes which are comfortable and which you feel are appropriate, and I suppose if you are a woman, becoming, you can pretty nearly succeed in forgetting about yourself.
It is much harder, however, to succeed from the point of view of eliminating introspection. We spend sometimes too much of our time wondering how we feel about this or that; what reactions we have to this or that occurrence, and when carried to an extreme, this can be one of the most hampering occupations, which gives one little time to think of anything but oneself.
Back in the country and though I am busy, it is not the kind of occupation which takes up every minute as in Washington.
We are getting good vegetables from our garden now and enjoying them greatly. This susbsistence farming, so to speak, which everyone is being encouraged to engage in, has spread a long distance away. I heard the other day from the Department of Agriculture that the armed forces were starting a garden of many acres on Guadalcanal. It will be a big garden and ought to feed a great many of our boys, and give them many of the things they would be getting at home, for to my surprise, that climate will apparently allow a great many of our vegetables to be grown very profitably. I have a feeling that probably melons will also grow there, though that was not on the list which the Department of Agriculture sent me. I can't help thinking what pleasure the boys who were farmers back home, will have in working in that garden so far away from home, and I hope they are allowed to have some flowers too, since man does not live by bread alone.