JANUARY 26, 1944
NEW YORK, Tuesday—Because of an unexpected visitor, I did not go to the country as I had expected to do on Saturday night after the Democratic National Committee dinner. So Sunday was a quiet day in Washington, if you can call any household quiet where two small boys of three and a half and four and a half, charge down the central hall with a tablecloth over their heads, always playing they are some kind of war machine!
Mrs. Norman Mack of Buffalo, N.Y., who was staying with us, accepted the grandchildren with very good grace, considering the fact that one of them even visited her in her bedroom. She was a wonderful guest to have in the house, because she seemed to enjoy the family with its great variety of ages from one year to sixty odd, and she told us so many stories at lunch and at dinner, that the older children were fascinated.
On Sunday evening, "The Voice of the Turtle," which has been a tremendous success in New York City, was giving what is called a command performance for the benefit of the infantile paralysis campaign in Washington. I had not expected to go, but since my plans were changed, we went. Commissioner Russell Young, who is in charge of the money-raising activities in the District of Columbia, told me that they cleared a good many thousand dollars. There are only three actors in the cast so they are constantly on the stage. It was very gracious of them to come down for just one night.
It is always remarkable to me how generous artists are with their time, their talents and their money, and this small cast gave an extremely good performance.
Early yesterday morning we came to New York City, and in the afternoon I was most interested to meet Miss Laura Margolis, who was working for refugees in Shanghai when the war broke out and was later interned there. She only returned to this country when the last exchange of prisoners was made. I shall never cease to marvel at the courage of people like Miss Margolis who, after having escaped from one dangerous situation, seem anxious to return to another. She wishes to go whereever she can continue to work to help alleviate the suffering with which she became so familiar among the refugees in Shanghai.
Later, Madame Ouspenskaya was brought to tea with me by Mr. Norman Cousins. What a vivacious and courageous person she is! She told me that her life had been filled with adventure. During the last war she was an actress in Russia and served a number of hours a day in a hospital as a sister of mercy. She nursed her own family through typhus, passed through a cholera district on one occasion, lived through the revolution and the famine, and she says that nothing holds any terrors for her now. Madame Ouspenskaya would like to go out to the remote places and entertain the men in the Army, but that, of course, will have to be passed on by the USO camp shows.