MAY 31, 1949
HYDE PARK, Monday—You never realize, until you hear something personal, how catastrophes which happen in other parts of the country actually affect the everyday lives of people and are not just so much newspaper material. I knew there was a bad flood in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, but until my young granddaughter wrote me a letter from the midst of it, it did not really become something which represented the suffering of human beings.
My granddaughter wrote me that over 1,000 families were without homes; water was practically not to be had in the city and what they could get had to be boiled, and everyone had been given typhoid inoculations. "All Tuesday and yesterday," she continued, "I was at the Pioneer Palace, sorting clothes and serving food to the people who didn't have any place to stay. It was really heartbreaking to hear some of them talking about how they had watched their homes being carried down the river. Some of them managed to rescue a few of their more valuable possessions and carried them around in paper sacks. But aside from this, they had nothing. The Red Cross is giving typhoid shots to everyone. It has set up kitchens and serves food and clothing to everyone who needs it."
Here is a young recruit who will work for the Red Cross in the future because she has seen firsthand what it means to have an organization in a country which does go to the aid of the people in time of distress.
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I went on board the Queen Elizabeth Friday night to see my son and daughter-in-law off to Europe. Looking up from the street level at one of those big ships, they seem so much bigger than when viewed from the highway or when you are on board. It is impressive enough to take the long walk from one end of the ship to the other, but even that is nothing like the impression received when you look up at tier after tier of lighted portholes.
This is practically a honeymoon trip for my eldest son and his wife. Since the war was hanging over us and broke out a short time after their marriage, it is really the first carefree trip they have ever had. I hope it will be as perfect as they have planned and that they will enjoy every minute of it.
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They did not sail until 2 a.m., but we left them on board a little after 10 o'clock because we were traveling back to Hyde Park that night. This is a long weekend for the members of the Human Rights Commission, since they had to observe the American holiday on the 30th and so have had three full days away from the usual routine.
Friday afternoon I thought we were all falling into the bad habit of saying derogatory things about the governments of other countries—a procedure, of course, which leads the representatives of other countries to respond in kind. This gets us nowhere as far as our work is concerned and results only in bad feelings, so one hopes that the weekend holiday will bring us back to work in more restrained and mellowed mood.