JULY 6, 1943
HYDE PARK, Monday —We have had a very pleasant weekend with a number of children to keep us busy. Our son Jimmy and his wife were with me at the cottage and, with the exception of yesterday, we had sun in which to bask after we swam. Yet it was cool enough weather so that I did an unprecedented thing—I had a fire in the fireplace in my sitting room and we sat close to it and enjoyed it.
On Saturday we had a picnic lunch and even at noon the sun did not seem too hot to make it pleasant. My old friend, Mr. Earl Robinson, who is on his way to Los Angeles, spent one night with us and gave a concert in the library in which the soldiers who were able to get away from their duties joined. I think they had a very happy hour listening to him and singing with him.
We have actually been reading some poetry aloud at odd moments, and that is always a joy. Jan Struther has written a new poem called "Wartime Journey." It may not as yet have been published. It was to me a most moving and sensitive piece of writing and I was interested to find Earl Robinson at once putting it to music in his mind, for he asked me if someone had written the music to it. It expresses the kind of emotion that one can think of in terms of sound or painting.
I was saddened yesterday to find that the National Youth Administration is going to be closed down. I am not, of course, particularly troubled about the effect this will have on youth at present. I have felt all along that youth not called into the service could, of course, go into industry and get its training there. It seemed to me, however, that much training could be given by NYA which would make young people more useful when hired and therefore less costly in industry. The training given by NYA was basic, not specialized, as often must be in industry and, therefore, it is more valuable for future use if you have to change your job.
The main reason, however, that I am sorry to see NYA go is that I have learned how difficult it is to train people to do certain kinds of work and set up organizations to accomplish definite objectives. It seems to me highly improbable that in the transition period between war and peace we will not need an organization such as this to help our young people to prepare for new jobs. We did not have it in the past, but we have learned a great deal and I thought perhaps we could profit by our past.
The cost to the country has seemed very small. Perhaps we could even put it on the credit side, if it has been possible to compute how much this training really helped in using workers more quickly.
The decision is made and I only hope that in the future it will not be youth which suffers, but their elders who make these decisions for them and sometimes are slower to make the decisions to do the things which meet their needs when those needs arise.