APRIL 12, 1945
KEENE, N.H., Wednesday—At the Fortnightly Club, which I attended last Monday for the first time in 10 years, the discussion was on "How Can We Improve Race Relations?" I could do no better than try to repeat the sermon I had heard from General Romulo, but I was far less effective, I know. I hope the general will speak throughout this country many times before the nations meet in San Francisco.
I got back to our apartment in time to have a short goodbye visit with Rene LeRoy, who is soon to take his flute and his trio and travel for the USO to entertain our soldiers. Those of them who care for music have a treat in store. Miss Erika Mann also dropped in to see me, between lectures. She has been abroad as a war correspondent, and I was very much interested to hear her impressions of Germany.
* * *
After a quiet dinner we took the night train for Brattleboro, Vermont. I looked out of the train window yesterday morning expecting to find a winter landscape. Instead, forsythia and daffodils were blooming and it was almost as spring-like as in Hyde Park. We got out in time to have breakfast with John Talbot and the Rev. William Lewis, who came to meet us. The flowers on the table were mayflowers, so we each took a few sprigs and pinned them in our buttonholes and rejoiced in the delicious smell all day.
By 11 we were in Chester, Vermont, where I was to speak at the high school. The graduating class, having earned and collected the money for a trip to New York City or Washington, had given this up and decided instead to do something useful with the money which would carry out the motto of the class—"To Work Towards A Just and Durable Peace." They made me an honorary member of the class, presented me with the check and left it to me to suggest what they should do. At the luncheon following the ceremony they voted to accept my suggestion that they buy war bonds and, when the war is over, use the money to give some boy or girl a scholarship for study either here or abroad which would increase the understanding between nations.
I had a chance to talk to all of the young people at luncheon, which curiously enough was an exact duplicate of our inauguration luncheon at the White House, except for the fact that we had not had ice cream. I signed their programs and gave each of them a rose from a large bouquet which had been given me.
* * *
Driving from Chester to Keene was a very lovely trip. I think we appreciate the countryside much more because we see so much less of it these days, when we do little or no motoring, and I rejoiced in every beautiful old house and picturesque view.