JULY 16, 1946
NEW YORK, Monday—There are certain advantages to getting old! You notice so many more everyday things that give you pleasure. For instance, walking through the woods at Hyde Park with Fala every morning is a test of whether the mosquitoes are going to eat us up or whether we can keep them under control by keeping in constant motion! In spite of the pests, I have enjoyed the ever-increasing variety of wild flowers.
I was taught nothing about nature when I was a child, so mine is a perfectly uneducated enjoyment. I could not tell you the names of any wild flowers I see except the daisy and the black-eyed susan, but I keep seeing and enjoying the new varieties daily.
The little orange-colored lizards which, after a rain, used to appear in such quantities in certain parts of the woods have almost vanished. Only occasionally now does my eye light on a bright spot of orange, and I see the little raised head apparently listening for our passing. They seem so defenseless, these little lizards, that I wonder that any of them survive to propagate their species. They always provide a little bit of brilliant color, though at certain times the bright orange will turn to a duller, brownish color.
On Saturday, we had the second of our picnics for the boys from the Wiltwyck School. About 37 came, and I think we managed to fill them up on hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, and ice cream.
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Late Sunday afternoon, we had to come to the city, as I had promised Prof. Henri Laugier, assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, to speak at a Bastille Day celebration Sunday evening. The meeting was under the auspices of France Forever, an organization made up of French people who were here during the war and of Americans with special ties and interests in France.
Most of the French members, except officials stationed in this country, have now gone back home to help in the rehabilitation of their country, but those who are still here came to the celebration last night. There was great warmth of feeling and response to the very beautiful addresses made by the French representatives. Mme. Marcelle Denya of the Paris Opera sang the French and American national anthems. And then a March of Time film, "The New France," was shown.
I thought this a particularly valuable film because it shows the devastation in France and what has to be rebuilt, and yet it also shows that certain French luxury goods, like perfumes and wine and expensive clothes, are coming into this country again. The French need to establish dollar credits over here so they can buy essentials for their rehabilitation program, and they are making sacrifices at home to produce for export. I kept thinking how fortunate we are in this country, with nothing destroyed and only shortages which can be remedied so easily if we use intelligence and goodwill.
There has been friendship between France and ourselves since Lafayette came to help our forefathers in our Revolution, and I hope goodwill can always exist between us.