AUGUST 15, 1944
HYDE PARK, Monday—The past few days have been so warm that the only comfortable spot for anyone is in the swimming pool. In weather like this I feel very sorry for people who can't swim, because even though you can cool off in the bathtub, it is not quite as sociable as sitting around a pool.
I find, however, that even in weather such as this, if you keep busy you think about it less—and, willy-nilly, we had to be busy yesterday because the number of our daytime guests increased until we had a picnic lunch of 26 or thereabouts.
We chose the top of the hill as being the coolest place, and the one most likely to have a breeze. We sat in comparative comfort after eating our lunch, and listened to Miss Doris Fleeson, of the Woman's Home Companion, tell us of her experiences in Normandy. She was there a week ago, looking at the devastation and talking to our men. She lived for days in a Frenchwoman's house, she talked with French women and children, and in telling us about it she brought out very clearly the picture of day-by-day conditions.
This part of France was relatively fortunate. Transportation had been so disrupted that there was no market left outside of this rich farming area for its products, and the people have therefore suffered less from hunger. The Germans, too, have actually been less harsh, since they could have all the food they wanted for their garrisons and still leave enough for the people.
As we advance to other parts of France, the story will be different in regard to the physical condition of such people as are left in the communities. Miss Fleeson explained that no community is normal, for in addition to the men still absent as prisoners of war, the remaining men and women of working age have been removed to work in Germany. As a result, the towns and villages consist predominantly of children and older men and women.
Since this column has already acknowledged yesterday one of my previous errors, I should like to say that when I was in North Carolina the other day, it was the Piedmont Hotel at which we had breakfast in Waynesville. I thought it was a club, but it turns out that I was wrong.