FEBRUARY 11, 1948
NEW YORK, Tuesday—Last evening I attended what was, I think, a very significant occasion. The National Achievement Award, sponsored by Chi Omega and given to some woman every year for distinguished achievement, was presented to Lady Reading of Great Britain.
The award is usually given to an American woman, since the purpose has been to awaken the interest of college girls by bringing to their attention the success which women of this country have achieved in various fields. However, it was once given to Madame Chiang Kai-shek, who had received much of her education in this country.
This year it was decided to give it to Lady Reading for her remarkable achievement in establishing and heading the Women's Voluntary Services in Great Britain. Through this organization an astounding amount of work was accomplished during the war, some of it very dangerous, some of it dull and tedious, but all of it essential to keeping the wheels going in a sorely beset nation.
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Since the war, the work of these volunteers has been needed as much as ever and, in spite of all difficulties, Lady Reading has succeeded in inspiring them to continue. She is now establishing on a commercial scale an opportunity for British women to help their country through their old-time home skills. They are making and selling vast quantities of handwork to the trade in this country—which will help to bring much-needed dollars into Great Britain.
I hope it was as pleasant to Lady Reading to hear the tributes paid her as it was to us who are her friends to listen to them. She gave a most enlightening and interesting account of her work, and I feel sure that all who attended found it an interesting evening.
After Dr. Mary Love Collins, executive chairman of the award committee, had explained the award, Mrs. Ogden Reid made a short address and introduced Robert E. Sherwood, the playwright, who recalled his first meeting with Lady Reading and praised her great ability. Sen. Wayne L. Morse of Oregon spoke briefly but eloquently on the need for the people of this country to awaken to their international responsibilities.
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When I come to New York City, my days are filled but I have one haunting regret. I have to leave two disconsolate little dogs behind. I try to console myself by thinking that, like small children, they are happy once we are out of sight. But their reproachful eyes when we leave make me feel just the way my youngest child made me feel when I left him at home years ago!
I think Fala is becoming very fond of his grandson, Tamas, but it gives him infinite pleasure when Tamas, who is young and energetic, starts burrowing through the snow after a rabbit and does not return when I call. I stand and try to be persuasive because I know that, sooner or later, Tamas will be unable to proceed on his short legs and that the return trip will be a weary one. All the time I am calling him, Fala stands close to me and wags his tail, as though to say: "See, I'm here. I haven't run away"—which reminds me again of the virtue of the child who hasn't been caught stealing the jam!