JANUARY 26, 1949
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—If beauty is good for the soul then I wish I could have taken the whole world to walk with me early Saturday morning in the woods at Hyde Park.
The snow was still on the branches of the evergreen trees, but all the other branches were encased in ice, with tiny little icicles hanging down. It was like a fairy land—bad for the trees but very beautiful to see. But the thaw came quickly, and I hope it did little harm. These visions of sheer beauty make one wonder why we human beings make so much that is not beautiful in the world.
Having a few days in the country gives one time to think a little, read a little and do those things about one's house that one sometimes neglects because there seems to be so many more important things at hand to do. I have been going over books, picking out some that I can spare to go to our local library and rearranging others so I will have constantly at hand such favorites as one turns to again and again. Also, I have had to make room for the new ones that I hope to read more carefully after the hurried glance that I have been able to give them so far.
Max Ascoli's book, "The Power of Freedom," is one that I think deserves a very careful reading.
We are hearing an increasing number of people arguing that the United Nations cannot succeed unless it is turned as soon as possible into a world government. I have felt that my own opinion was of little value on the subject, but I am interested to find that this political scientist feels that one of the functions which it is important for the United Nations to achieve is the preservation of the sovereignty of individual nations. At the same time, however, he says that these individual nations should impose upon themselves certain basic, common standards. This, of course, seems to me a sensible approach as it is the one way in which both Soviet Russia and the United States can make a beginning and each gradually move forward.
Quite a different type of book will give you many a laugh, and in these days that is something to be highly prized. Therefore, I recommend "Cheaper By the Dozen" by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr., and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
I never knew the father they describe in this volume, but the mother I have known and marvelled at. And I love the dedication: "To Dad who only reared twelve children and to Mother who reared twelve only children." That is a compliment any mother should be proud of.
I remember dining once in her home and expressing amazement how a woman could have so many children and run her home so satisfactorily and still do a full-time job and help to support the family. She also found time to have a number of outside interests!
Somewhere along the line she must have imparted to her children a wonderful sense of humor, because the brother and sister who wrote the story are irresistibly funny. I have tried to read the book aloud but it can't be done. You laugh too much!