AUGUST 23, 1943
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Wartime housing has led certain people to various conclusions. Some said to me the other day that they had been in some of the modern trailers built to house emergency workers near war plants, and in some of the defense housing which covers the minimum decencies of living, and they had decided that this was really all anyone should ever need in the way of a home.
Housing has made great strides during the war. In the laboratories new materials are constantly being developed, so it is more than likely that when the war is over it will be possible for people, who have never before been able to afford a decent house of their own, to build one at a moderate price and to live in it comfortably. I hope, however, no one will feel that the space which has been accepted by workers during the present emergency period is really sufficient for an acceptable home in the future.
It is true that many children grow up in tenement houses, crowded all their lives into rooms where there is no privacy and under conditions which allow no human being to commune with himself in peace and tranquility.
Every child needs some spot where he can collect a few possessions which he will grow to love, where he can even indulge in a hobby. If he cannot do this at home, he will look for it somewhere else, and home will not be a home in the sense of being a place of refuge for the soul as well as the body. It will be a place in which to sleep and eat and see the people with whom, for some strange reason, the child recognizes there is a tie which cannot be broken, but it will not be a place where deep spiritual relationships develop. The chances are that mother, father, sisters and brothers will be people whom the child knows very well. They meet every day and they know each other's habits and peculiarities, and some of them of them are irritating and some of them seem loveable, but the person that the child feels stirring within himself, remains locked up waiting for the privacy that is never found at home.
I think one reason that so many country boys and girls come to town to make good, is because they usually grow up in an environment where some place can belong to them and where they can be alone. When we think about homes for the future, we have to think about taxes, insurance, real estate values, good plumbing and the best possible way of producing something which will last long enough to be a good investment for the owner. Let us remember, however, that homes are places for families to grow in, and let's try to plan for space so individuals can create their own environment and grow in it.