SEPTEMBER 5, 1947
HYDE PARK, Thursday—Last night we drove over to Wiltwyck School to see the boys give a performance of a musical comedy. As usual, they had written their comedy around the school and made it a rather amusing takeoff. What was remarkable to me, however, was the excellent acting and singing. Though they had had only five rehearsals, it was really a creditable performance.
This was the climax of their summer vacation, and they had on exhibition some of the craftwork they had done during these more or less free months. One boy had made a shoeshine box which he exhibited with great pride and with the evident intention of putting it to use at the first opportunity.
The children with me found it a pleasant evening and joined in when everyone sang "God Bless America" with great enthusiasm. Even as I sang, I wondered whether the boys in this school had much reason to recognize in America such a "home, sweet home" as the song describes, but perhaps the school can make up to them for some of the things their own homes have failed to give them.
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In the mail, a day or two ago, there came from Sylvia I. Davis a little book called "Hitchhikers" or "Seeing 9,000 Miles of America, the Thumb Way." I think it was very courageous of two women not so young as to really enjoy discomfort and adventure for adventure's sake to undertake this trip. That it turned out so successfully speaks marvels for their powers of endurance and their powers of social adjustment. They must have adjusted to new people at least twenty times a day as they hitchhiked rides!
When I finished reading about their adventures, I felt that, after all, we are a very "small-town" country in which people are interested in their neighbors. When anyone tries to do anything out of the ordinary, we want everyone in town to know about it and we want to be on hand to help or hinder! In this case most people helped, and these women saw successfully and intelligently a very large part of their country.
I wish more of us had the courage to see the country this way. My husband used to tell foreigners, who asked him how to get to know the United States, that driving a little car and stopping in motor courts and cabins and farm houses was much the best way to become acquainted with both the scenery and the people of the country. These women did just that, except that they rode in other people's cars—and they certainly got a great deal out of their trip.