AUGUST 24, 1948
HYDE PARK, Monday—In the course of telling a very moving and yet really amusing story, Ann Barley in her book "Patrick Calls Me Mother," gives one of the most vivid descriptions of European conditions shortly after the war I have read anywhere. The urge that a woman has for a baby of her own goes very deep, and when you read how much determination and persistence went into acquiring Patrick, you realize that just having a baby in the normal ways is not the only way to learn to love a child.
I have always contended that the mothers who were not obliged to take complete charge of their babies never really knew what the full joy of possessing a child means. This story bears that out because no real mother could have suffered more when the child was taken ill than did this mother of little, adopted Patrick.
During the past twenty-five years we, in this country, have imperceptibly made some very great changes. Girls whose mothers started their married lives with people to do things for them are starting out today doing things for themselves. This has come about because people, especially women, have been needed for different types of work and there has been a scarcity of those who could wait upon other people. Wages have been too high also, so one of the best results of what seemed like upset conditions, may be that the modern children and the modern parents will know each other well. They will be more independent and at the same time, more dependent upon each other. If you believe in cycles you will say that what we have done is just to climb from the pioneering stage into the stage where we aped the most comfortable of Old World customs of living and that the young people of today in spite of all the modern inventions, are perhaps better able to understand the duties and responsibilities of the woman who left her home in Virginia to carry civilization in this country to the wilderness.
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We have parted with a grandchild today and the visit of a month which we have all enjoyed, has come to an end. We have only six left here now and it seems like a very small family, but in less than a month Miss Thompson and I will be leaving for the United Nations General Assembly in Paris, and then I think those who are left behind here are going to find it a very quiet spot. For the first time in a long while anyone who really wants to settle down to undisturbed work may find it possible when all the children go back to school. At present even with only six youngsters around it is hard to keep up with what they want to do when they are not actually engaged in swimming, bicycle riding, working on the farm or playing in the little play house. We try to feed them well at regular meals, but there apparently is never enough and I have just pulled one child from my deep freeze. He was trying to find what ice cream might be left from dinner and I'm sure thought my interference unjustified. I have just discovered also that a newly painted wall has a large hole gouged out of it so that the child might find out what was underneath the paint. Curiosity should be encouraged but at times it is a little destructive.