DECEMBER 21, 1944
NEW YORK, Wednesday—As I sat alone in the pew behind Mrs. Stanley Mortimer's children yesterday morning, and looked at the beautiful flowers which her relatives and friends had sent in a last gesture of affection, I heard the choir singing "Angels of Jesus, Angels of Light, Singing to Welcome the Pilgrims of the Night." Later in the service they sang two hymns which as a child I remember we always sang at home every Sunday evening—"Lead, Kindly Light," and "Abide With Me."
I do not think I heard my aunt speak of those hymns for many years, and I doubt if since she was a girl she had kept up the old custom of Sunday evening hymn singing. We were brought up on it, however, in my grandmother's home, and I could not help wondering if she had told her children that those three hymns were her favorites because of the old-time associations.
It is difficult, no matter how long one lives, I think, to throw off the habits and customs which became part of oneself in the years when our home was all the world we knew.
On the way home from Woodlawn Cemetery, I went to see my cousin, Mrs. Henry Parish.
In the evening I talked to my husband in Washington, who sounds as though his three weeks in Warm Springs, Georgia, had given him much enjoyment, as well as time to think over the world and its affairs. Even if you are always at the end of a telephone wire, and if dispatches and pouches continue to come, still, the change of scenery, the concerns of a different community, and the satisfaction of seeing something which long ago you had a hand in starting, do something to one's mind and spirit.
The Warm Springs experiment, which started in such a small way and in such very run-down, shabby surroundings, has now blossomed into a very modern plant where much has been done for many people afflicted with "polio." Much has been learned about this dread disease, but with all the research and attention lavished on it we still do not know what someday we must know—how to prevent this disease from bringing sorrow into so many lives every year.
I had an appeal the other day for the study of the treatment of spasticity. The writer said that much had been done for polio and very little for the spastic cases, of which there are a great many in this country. Of course, we know also that rheumatic fever takes a terrible toll of our children every year, and that there is some rise, I believe, in tuberculosis since the war. All of these things make us realize the necessity of improving the quality of our research work and, above all, of giving opportunity for the development of young doctors who show the possibility of becoming useful in this field of scientific medical research.