JANUARY 18, 1950
LOS ANGELES, Tuesday—There is a general feeling of sorrow because of the news of General "Hap" Arnold's death. One of my sons served under him and I know to him it is a real personal loss. But the people of the whole country also feel it. While I was having my hair done in the beauty parlor yesterday, the girl there said to me: "We are sad today because of General Arnold's death."
Like so many others he might have lived longer had he been willing to give up his work and rest much sooner. When the doctor told him, however, that it would be wise to stop, he insisted, like the boys he was sending out on dangerous flights, he must stay on the fighting line until the war was over.
Twenty years ago I would have felt that he had had a long and full life, but now when I myself am 65 I feel that 63 is still fairly young. I regret that the country has lost the experience and knowledge that General Arnold had gained over the years. The country's sympathy goes out to his family.
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Here in the city of Los Angeles the usual winter rainfall already has exceeded the average mark. My first two days have been beautiful ones, with blue sky and little wind. The grass is green everywhere and the flowers are in bloom. I wish we might have had some of the rain in New York about which they complain here. Then we would not be so short of water.
Here they are accustomed to measuring their water supply, and I was interested to find that in my son's house in Pasadena there is a regular monthly bill for water, and the gas bill comes at the same time. Gas furnaces seem to be a convenient method of heat here and they only turn them on in such sections of the house as they feel have need of greater warmth. In many rooms there is no central heating and often just a small open fire will be all that is needed to take off the winter chill. I can well see, however, that when the good weather goes back on them, they are not equipped to be warm in the way that we are at home in the East.
For the children, though, this climate has many advantages. Little boys wear their overalls the year round, and I went with a friend of mine to take her little daughter, my godchild, to nursery school this morning. The sweater set, which I had sent her for Christmas, was all that was needed; no gaiters or arctics and heavy coats.
Nevertheless, my grandchildren think of snow and ice in the East as something highly enjoyable. I think if they were given a choice as to whether they would come to visit in the summer or winter they would choose winter because their only contact here with snow is up in the mountains on an occasional trip.
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My son, John, took Anna, Miss Thompson and me to lunch yesterday at Romanoff's and I had the pleasure of seeing a number of the famous Hollywood people—Walter Wanger; George Jessel; Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, of "Amos and Andy" fame; and Humphrey Bogart, who flattered me greatly by bringing me a copy of my book, This I Remember, to sign. I could not help thinking how many of my youthful acquaintances would have thrilled to see so many people whom they enjoy on the stage and screen and radio actually in the flesh.