OCTOBER 13, 1944
WASHINGTON, Thursday—So many people have been so kind in remembering my birthday that I feel quite overwhelmed. Not only my room, but all our rooms upstairs are filled with flowers, and many people sent me notes and cards which I deeply appreciate. There must be some special virtue in being 60 years old!
I have just received a little leaflet called "Symphony Notes," and I read it with a great deal of interest. Many of you are going to enjoy the 9 weeks' cycle of Beethoven's works which Toscanini is going to conduct over the air on the General Motors Symphony Hour, and this leaflet describes the programs. The series starts on October 22, and if you write to Symphony Notes, 32nd Floor, International Building, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, N.Y.C., for a copy, you will enjoy your music a great deal more, because you will know more about it. You will also have the programs in advance, so you will be sure not to miss your favorites.
The editor of this leaflet tells me that he gets about 500 letters a day, with requests from the men in the service coming in surprising numbers. Evidently, the men in the services listen to good music as well as to jazz, and what is more, they want to know more about the director who is going to interpret to them the music of the composer. Then they want to know about the composer—something about his life, the circumstances under which his various compositions were written, and what thoughts the composer had and tried to embody in the music. Sometimes the music will awaken other emotions, but knowing about its background is always interesting. It seems a fine thing to me that this good music should have such a great audience.
Yesterday afternoon I spoke over the air for one minute, introducing the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, who emphasized the circumstances under which the paintings now being exhibited throughout the country, in preparation for the Sixth War Loan Drive, were done. They will be shown in 38 cities by the Treasury Department, and if you happen to live in one of these cities, be sure not to miss them. They portray our boys in service all over the world, and the men who paint them are in the army just as truly as their subjects. Often the painter fights in battle along with the G.I.
I have been reading a charming book called "Your Daddy Did Not Die," by Dr. Daniel A. Poling. This father wrote to ease his own heart and to give his little grandson a permanent memory of the father who gave his life as a chaplain in the war. In writing, Dr. Poling has done something which, I am sure, will help many hundreds of people who have lost dear ones. It is so hard to be reconciled to the passing of young and vigorous men.