JANUARY 4, 1949
HYDE PARK, Monday—I've written often about the beauties of the country at all seasons, but a thaw, such as we had a few days ago, is something a trifle unusual at the end of December. We had rivers instead of brooks, and we thought for a while there would be no end to our trials.
The water kept getting higher and higher in our cellars. The pumps we usually use had no effect. Everything was full—the brooks into which we drain and the Hudson River.
The waters were flooding back over the land and into our cellars. First we had to take the engine out of the oil heater. Then we had to stop the water pump. And no heat and no water, even in mild January weather, is not what you'd call comfort. I'm sure others will agree with me that one would rather be geared for actual camping out than to live in a modern house when all conveniences go wrong. If you live in a one-room cabin, one fire will keep you warm. But in a house with central heating three open fireplaces will not keep it warm.
I had a house full of guests, and they were the best behaved guests I've ever known. They didn't even complain in the morning when they had to come down without water to wash or shave or brush their teeth.
Living in the country still cultivates some of our pioneering ingenuities, however, and my superintendent evolved the idea of taking the pump used in the swimming pool in the summer and putting it first in one cellar and then in the other and leading a hose up from the cellars to the already swollen stream. We may have increased the water that stream was carrying, but we did empty the cellars. And now that we have snow again our regular pumps seem to keep pace with the inflow.
In spite of all the world news—and there was plenty—this little item of existence during the past few days took up the major part of our thoughts.
I was interested, however, yesterday in looking at the photographs of the leading men who are going to run our affairs in the Congress during the new session. It struck me that the average age was not too young, considering that we are supposed to be a country primarily geared to youth.
However, I hope that behind all those faces there is stored a great deal of wisdom. It will be needed in the coming year.
We wait for the President's message on the State of the Union with interest, not only because of the domestic policies that he will announce, but because of the picture he must give us of our place in the troubled world situation.
Nineteen forty-nine can be a year of great achievement. Certainly, it will require a high standard of citizenship from each and every one of us. Let us hope that we live up to all that the world expects of us.