SEPTEMBER 26, 1944
NEW YORK, Monday—While on the subject of rumor and gossip, I would like to mention one persistent rumor which has come to me in many different forms ever since early last summer. It has absolutely no foundation in fact.
The first I heard of it was when I received several letters saying that certain marines were writing home from the Pacific that they had heard that I advocated six months' quarantine for them after the war, because they would not be fit to associate with the "workers" at home.
In a later version, the marines were changed to army men who had been out in the Pacific. When I went down to the Caribbean, last winter, I met this same story everywhere. Instead of being about the men in the Pacific, however, it was about men in the Caribbean. Now, lo and behold, it turns up in my mail again, this time about paratroopers in the European area. In this version, I am alleged to have said that all "paratroopers are beasts and will have to be re- educated for living!"
Obviously, of course, anyone who thought about this would realize that I would hardly want my own boys to be quarantined. I have my own boys and other friends in every branch of the services, and they have served in nearly every area, though none of them happens to be a paratrooper.
The story does me no harm, of course. The people who spread it are evidently too stupid to realize that my only concern would be that such a story would hurt the men themselves. If our boys think that here at home the wife of the President, or any other woman, says or writes such arrant nonsense, they must be made extremely unhappy by it.
The men who fight this war deserve our respect and admiration and gratitude, and I know of no one who does not want them home as soon as it is possible for them to get here.
I came down to New York this morning to speak at the luncheon given by the Women's Division of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, and to try, during this week, to do a number of things which have accumulated while I have been in the country.
I have spent some pleasant hours lately reading a little book by Margaret Halsey, called "Some of My Best Friends Are Soldiers." It will not take you long to read, and you will find many a chuckle as you progress through the letters that make up the book. You will also find some good, hard common-sense hidden in the fun, and some serious thoughts to reflect upon as you sit before your fire and try to plan for a happy future.