OCTOBER 18, 1943
WASHINGTON, Sunday—Friday night I attended the dedication of the recreation building at the Arlington Farms Housing Project for Government workers. I had been out there to see the beginnings of the project when only a few dormitories were open. Now it is like a small city, with thousands of girls living there who are working in the War or Navy Departments. There are shops and community facilities of all kinds. The recreation building has a combination gymnasium and auditorium, with many other things which will make life pleasant for these young people.
The overcrowding which has come to many cities besides Washington has created new problems for men and women alike, but those who are in those government projects have, I think, as satisfactory quarters as could be asked for in wartime.
Saturday I went to see the mother of one of the Red Cross workers whom I had seen very often in the Southwest Pacific area. Many older people at home are making a great sacrifice for the war effort in letting their young people go off to be of service at a time when they expected to find them largely devoted to home interests.
This is particularly the case where girls are concerned. Every family knows that in wartime the boys will be called, and there is greater acceptance of the role of men in war. But with girls it is a voluntary decision. Many older people, particularly widowed mothers and fathers, who have been left alone and depend upon their daughters for companionship, are making a very great sacrifice and I think they deserve our recognition and gratitude.
A lady came to tea with me on Saturday afternoon, who said that she never went anywhere without being mistaken for me. It is a curious feeling to see yourself in duplicate, but it happens to me very often, for many people tell me that they are frequently taken for me, so I am growing quite accustomed to this feeling of multiple twinship.
In the evening, a group of friends were here for dinner, and we saw Ernest Hemingway's movie, "For Whom The Bell Tolls." His wife, Martha Gellhorn Hemingway, who is hoping shortly to start on another assignment overseas, has been here for the weekend, and was insistent that I should see it.
I think it is a very fine and thrilling production. It seems to me that a good deal of circumlocution is used to prevent the actual using of the word "Fascist." Nevertheless, it emerges as an anti-fascist, deeply stirring drama, and I think will reach many people who may not have read the book.