SEPTEMBER 18, 1945
HYDE PARK, Monday—This morning a man came around to inquire about Christmas trees, which makes me feel that summer is nearer its end than I realized and we had better begin to concentrate on preparing for our next holiday season. Thanksgiving takes very little thought on my part. But Christmas, while it will seem very simple this year in comparison with Christmas in the White House, will require a little more personal attention, since there will be fewer people to help Miss Thompson and me get ready.
My husband always enjoyed Christmas, even though in the years of the war he had less and less time to give either to preparations or to enjoyment of what the rest of us prepared. Nevertheless, I do not think he ever lost his sense of pleasure when we all gathered in his room for the opening of Christmas stockings, nor his joy in gathering family and friends around him to enjoy a Christmas dinner.
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I think very often it would be easier to give up celebrations as one grows older, particularly where they have been centered around some one member of a family who is gone. Perhaps, however, celebrations are the very things which one should attempt to carry on, because they serve the purpose which was the theme of Maeterlinck's "Blue Bird." In that story, people went to sleep quite happily in the land of departed spirits and woke to real enjoyment only when those on earth remembered them.
I think it can be real enjoyment only if those on earth think happily about them. Some persons seem to think that, when people die, it is more respectful and shows more feeling if their names are mentioned only occasionally, and then with solemnity. I believe, quite to the contrary, that one should try to talk and to think of such people just as though they were still here and entered into our daily lives—and not as being in the past.
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Yesterday our county chairman, Walter Cronk, held a Democratic field day at a park just outside of Poughkeepsie. This gave me the opportunity of having as our overnight guests Senator James M. Mead, junior Senator from our State of New York, who came up from Washington, and Paul Fitzpatrick, our Democratic state chairman, as well as Mrs. Helen Gahagen Douglas. All of them spoke at the meeting, and spoke very well. We are overwhelmingly Republican in Dutchess County, but the Democrats made up in enthusiasm what they lacked in numbers.
We were warned over the radio this morning of the approaching hurricane, which has created so much havoc in Florida. Our skies are grey and the chill is that of a November day. I only hope that the wind, which sometimes does havoc in our woods, will not travel so far from the coast this time.