JULY 17, 1945
NEW YORK, Monday—On my way up to Hyde Park on the train the other evening, two sailors sat nearby, talking to a young girl. A third one sat with me and told me they were on their way to Yonkers to call for some girls and take them back to a dance in New York. When the sailors got off, the young girl came over to talk to me and made a remark which I think many people will appreciate.
"They're inventing a new language," she said. "They explain it to you as they talk. They told me they were going to get some 'chicks' to go to the dance, and then said, 'of course, we mean girls'."
Anyone who talks much to men in the services knows that, just as in the last war, they have invented names and expressions. As this war has lasted longer than the other one, these new words and expressions may become part of our permanent language!
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I wonder as I watch young people such as these—both soldiers and civilians—whether they ever think of the great responsibility that is going to rest upon them, not only to know each other in this country from east to west and north to south, but to know each other throughout the world.
There is one organization which is preparing the children of the future to carry this responsibility. "Youth Builders" was started by Sabra Holbrook some years ago and it has gradually grown in importance. Not long ago they held a conference of thirty-four schools in New York City at which children reported on "actual jobs which they had done to increase civic cooperation among all groups in order to meet common needs in the neighborhood".
It is common knowledge among people who work with children that no racial prejudices are born in us. They are acquired as children live with adults who have prejudices, racial and religious. Hence it is interesting to have children actually growing up with mature problems and learning to meet them as children.
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Two recent books have come to me which both adults and children will enjoy. One is the photographic record of The Springfield Plan, in which many of us have become deeply interested. This book, with photographs by Alexander Alland and text by James Waterman Wise, is a contribution to the spreading of knowledge about an experiment which seems to be achieving very beneficial results. One quotation from the text is worth repeating to ourselves over and over: "Democracy is People—living together as equals".
The other book is in the New World Neighbors series. This particular volume is called "Pioneers of Puerto Rico". Both the pictures and the text can be easily understood by a child of 8, but will be interesting to older children as well.