SEPTEMBER 4, 1943
AUCKLAND, New Zealand—September 3—As the days go by, I realize that a diary such as I have been writing, has in it many repetitions. Wherever I am, there are military hospitals, rest homes, Red Cross Clubs, canteens, hospital services and handcraft work. But if I did not tell you about these things, I would not be giving you a picture of one part of the life which I am seeing in this area.
On the other hand, there are many fine looking boys, both from the United States and New Zealand, who are strong and healthy and undergoing a most strenuous training for future encounters with the enemy. The countryside is suitable for this, since what they call here the "bush" is good training ground for any jungle. Every now and then I have to smile when I think of people who thought that a younger generation was growing up at home and, in fact, in many countries, which could not meet physical hardships.
Let me assure you that no pioneers ever were sturdier than this generation. In addition, I must pay tribute to their fortitude in pain and discomfort. Invariably a sick boy will say, "I'm getting on fine." He will be lying on a cotton mattress, sometimes over wooden slats. Springs are made of strategic material and I have come to count springs on beds as luxury, which they really are in these islands. At least, I thought, this cheerfulness might be put on for me, so I asked one of the nurses last night and she said they were so glad to get here that she never heard a boy complain.
My admiration for the Navy and Army nurses and for the Red Cross personnel grows daily. A young woman is club supervisor in New Zealand, a Miss Leota Kelley. I felt quite sure that I had met her before and she told me that I had met her in Des Moines, Iowa. She seems to me very capable and I think she could be very persuasive. That is important, for she must get the cooperation of Army, Navy and Marine Corps officers to do a good job for the men.
In one hospital, yesterday, I saw a boy who is recuperating well, although his foot is still bandaged and he used a cane. He is the son of Captain Edward MacCauley of the Maritime Commission. Mr. Maury Maverick's son also spoke to me as I was coming out of a meeting the other day. He looked well and happy when I promised to tell his family that I had seen him. I am constantly finding people who are our son, Jimmy's, friends out here. Yesterday, in a hospital, I saw three of the boys from the last group of raiders he had commanded. They at once asked about him and were pleased to hear that he was back on duty in another area and had taken part in some of the recent activities there which have been so successful.
In talking to one of the men yesterday, I asked if there was anything he would especially like to know about in the United States and he answered, "Yes, I wish you could tell me about my girl. I think about her more than about anything else out here." I wish I could bring this particular kind of news, but since I can't, I am telling you girls at home so you won't forget what your letters mean out here, and how hungry boys are for news from you.
I saw a wonderful army hospital today, which has the light and cheer one always likes to find in any hospital. We also visited a hospital for New Zealand soldiers. A service club for the Women's Military Services was on our itinerary and I found that they also entertained many of our men, as well as their own. We visited the Navy yard and a canning factory, where some four hundred girls are at work. Much of their production now goes to our armed forces and they confided in me that they were making corned beef hash with potatoes and onions just to please our taste.