JULY 25, 1944
HYDE PARK, Monday—It was wonderful to get up to the country again, and to find all the children at home and feel that sense which comes to one nowhere else in the world but on returning to one's own countryside.
On the plane, a young officer returning from the West Coast imparted to me his feeling about the East, and ended with: "It's just home, I guess—better than any place in the world." Most of us will say the same on returning to the spot where we have our roots.
I had a swim in the morning on Saturday and lay in the sun. Peace settled down on me, and I wondered if I could have been so far away last week. This life here seems the only natural and unchangeable one.
Mme. Genevieve Tabouis came up from New York City to lunch with us. In the afternoon I attended the Roosevelt Home Club meeting. The past presidents of the club all spoke; the crowd was a mixed crowd, older people and a few young people and a great many children. To my surprise the young ones, on the whole, behaved very well and seemed to like to listen to people talk. Perhaps they knew that sooner or later they would have a chance to get at some of the soft drinks that stood in cases by the side of the lawn.
In the evening I went to a dance in our Town Hall at Hyde Park, and was glad to find that they are really reviving the old square dances. The man who did the calling was excellent, and the band, which I think consisted largely of local talent, did well. The influx of new people in the neighborhood has probably brought us some who might not have been present a year or two ago.
No one knew the Virginia reel, but they tell me that the younger children are now learning it in school. Of course, all these old country dances are more fun for the young and old to dance together. I think a good mixture of old and new dances draws a whole community together very well.
On Sunday we all had a picnic which the young people managed themselves, broiling hot dogs and eating ice cream and gingerbread. Afterwards they rested rather reluctantly under the trees while I read aloud to them. I think it was a good deal to ask of them, because the flies and insects discovered us—or rather, the crumbs of food we had scattered about—and before long we were their victims. To be really interested in fine poetry while you are attacked by the flying and crawling world, is a test of your stoicism rather than of the poetry you are reading.