OCTOBER 13, 1949
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I suppose one should have certain reflections when one has reached the 65th milestone, but I really had very little time to think about my age yesterday. The only thing I felt was gratitude for all the kind words that were said to me during the day. Beginning at 6:15 a.m., when I saw Elliott off on his jaunt to Washington, and continuing all through the day, everyone was as kind and thoughtful as it is possible to an old lady who still feels remarkably young—at times at least.
At lunchtime in the dining room at Lake Success the headwaiter had a small cake at my place at the table, with one birthday candle on it and "Happy Birthday" written across it. I was able to give each of my guests about one mouthful of the cake, which was really much nicer than the big slices one usually has!
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Mr. and Mrs. Fredric March came out to listen in on my committee yesterday and to have lunch with me. They are in town for the premiere of their picture, "Christopher Columbus," on Columbus Day.
One always imagines that when people act a part they must more or less translate themselves into the characters that they portray. When they are historic characters of the past, you know they must have studied that period of history and you wonder whether they look at the world of today with the eyes of the people of that bygone era.
I asked Mrs. March first what she thought Queen Isabella would feel about the advances of women today, or whether she would think they were advances. Mrs. March said she felt that Queen Isabella would feel that she herself had been a great statesman and, as she looked into the future, had foreseen the possibilities of what might lie ahead and her action had made this new world of today possible. She would probably think there were few women in the world today who wield similar influence and power, but she would undoubtedly feel that women as a whole had gained a great deal in influence and were a much greater factor in the life of the world of today than they had been in her day.
Mr. March told me he had done a broadcast with Buddy Rogers on the question of how Christopher Columbus would describe this "new world" to Queen Isabella. He had told her about subways and the Indians who were not exactly the same kind that he had first met here, but created just as much excitement among their followers. Then Columbus described a thing called the United Nations and the work that they are trying to do to bring about peace among all the nations of the world and to create better understanding. He explained that travel and communication were not the same as it was when he fared forth in his ships and discovered this new continent.
As I talked with the Marches, I thought back to the many times they had been in Washington for my husband's birthday celebrations and made the rounds of all the Birthday Balls. I thought of the cruel things that have been said about them and the strange things that have been added up to supposedly prove that they are Communists.
Here is one example. They gave an ambulance to the Loyalists in Spain when this government was fighting against the Italian and German armies in Spain. This is one of the "proofs" that they are Communists. But no one mentions that they gave an ambulance to the Finns when they were fighting against Russia and that they gave an ambulance to France just before France fell, which was later used by Great Britain.
I hope that someday we will return to our old-fashioned ideas of justice—when people were considered innocent until proved guilty and were given the chance to tell the whole story and not have their accusers learn only half of it.