AUGUST 31, 1949
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—We had a touch of the wings of the hurricane Sunday night. The wind blew and the rain came down in sheets, but when it cleared around noon on Monday, the air felt washed and purged, as clean as anything I could imagine.
My grandson, Bill Roosevelt, and his mother and stepfather, Dean and Mrs. Benedict Hanson, arrived in time for lunch yesterday. Colonel and Mrs. William Boyd, III, and Bill Boyd, IV, are staying with my son, Elliott, so we have the pleasure of seeing them also.
Last night Colonel Boyd and Elliott were reminiscing about the things that happened in the Air Force during World War II. I could not help looking at the two younger boys, both of whom have had some training in aviation, and hoping that their training never would be called upon, for war service, as their fathers' had.
The recounting of dangers lived through together, of discomforts and hardships and difficulties overcome, create a bond which cannot be easily severed. I am always glad to get the chance to listen to what these men have to tell. Last night Colonel Boyd described one of the first air raids he experienced in London and how he made for Grosvenor Square in order to see the "show" better. Searchlights were sweeping the sky, the enemy plane was in sight when an anti-aircraft battery, which was concealed behind him, unexpectedly let go at the enemy. He fled to cover in one of our nearby headquarters and was greeted with much amusement by a military policeman as he dove in out of the night. A little later he hardly would have been interested in air raids—he lived through so many. But that first one left vivid memories in his mind.
I wonder how many people on Sunday read the feature, "Words to Live By," in the N.Y. Herald Tribune Supplement, "This Week," and were struck by the value of the advice given to the boy who was panicky and floundering in the water. When the girl said, "Float, Jim," he must have felt a little foolish because it was so obviously the thing to do. But as he thought over that advice, remembered how safely it brought him through the swim, and applied it to other situations in his life, it seems small wonder that he never forgot those two words.
When a busy businessman deliberately stops at moments of tension to look out of the window or to talk with a friend, or to drink a cup of tea, he is doing just what the girl told the boy in the water to do—relax, float, get over your tenseness, you will see a situation more clearly, you will have more confidence in yourself and you will give more confidence to others. Unconsciously, I think I have often followed along the lines suggested by those two words, but I will do it consciously in the future, for it is easy to say to oneself "Float, Jim," and automatically one will do the rest.