OCTOBER 31, 1944
NEW YORK, Monday—I reached New York City yesterday afternoon in time to visit my cousin, Mrs. Henry Parish, after having supper with a young family who were much more interested in a pumpkin face, and the way the candle burned inside it, than they were in eating supper!
Halloween is one of the times which I think children enjoy very much. All the work which goes into hollowing out the pumpkin, and making the face, somehow makes the finished product very satisfactory. Children love to put all the lights out in the room and, night after night, enjoy the pumpkin and the eerieness that shines out from within.
When we were children, we used to put the pumpkin head on a high stand, drape a sheet around it, and add a broom, frequently placing this creation around a corner, hidden from sight until you came upon it suddenly. I realize now that it was not as terrifying to the grown-ups as we thought; but they were very obliging and played up very well, letting us children think we had thoroughly frightened our elders.
I hope a great many people yesterday read the New York Times article giving some interviews with aviators returned from overseas and now being reconditioned. More and more, I hear about boys who want to go back to the front as fast as possible, because they cannot reconcile the "life and death" existence of the men in uniform to the "business and pleasure as usual" which they find among civilians at home. I have always been a little afraid of this, because it is so hard for us in our safety to understand the feelings of those who have had such close acquaintanceship with death.
The owners of a Washington restaurant wrote to me the other day about a practice they have made of entertaining servicemen from Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospital without charge. They suggest that other restaurants, not only in Washington but everywhere in the country, might get some satisfaction out of doing the same thing. They write: "It is a very great privilege to offer some relaxation to these wounded men, and we wish no recognition of our small deeds. However, we feel that the other restaurants in Washington and perhaps all over the nation would like to share the pleasure and privilege of inviting servicemen to partake of their hospitality."
I am sure that wherever restaurants can afford to do this, it will give everyone, from owner to waiter, a great deal of pleasure.