JUNE 18, 1951
NEW YORK, Sunday—During the week I had the good luck to see "The King and I." I had heard so much about this musical play beforehand that I was almost afraid I would come away disappointed. Instead I came out having had a wonderful evening and feeling grateful to all who shared in the production, from the cast to those responsible for the charming settings and costumes. The book by Oscar Hammerstein II is delightful and the music by Richard Rodgers enchanting. It is also much more than a musical play, with a great deal in it that has real meaning in the world of today. But aside from that, Gertrude Lawrence and her exquisite management of those horrible hoop-skirts is a joy and a marvel to behold. There is no doubt about it—this is the time for us all to learn "I Whistle a Happy Tune"; and it may not only be the more practical clothes that the women wear in Siam that makes "western people funny"!
On Thursday my plane flight to Boston was cancelled at the last minute and I had to take a train, with the result that the new Commissioner of Welfare for Massachusetts, Colonel Grossman, met me at the station and drove me out to the Women's Reformatory in Framingham, where I spoke in the evening at their monthly assembly. Both the commission and I were without dinner until the assembly was over, and then the most delicious food was brought us.
It is always an interesting experience to meet with Dr. Miriam van Waters' "students." She has made of this institution an educational opportunity for those who are committed there, and a place of valuable study for those who wish to know more about modern penology. Dr. van Waters is known in many parts of the world by people in her own field, and I think few visit her institution without appreciating what a woman of heart and great ability can do in this field.
By 11 o'clock I was at St. Marks School, where I spent the night as guest of the headmaster and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Barber. On Friday morning I gave the commencement address to the graduating class, of which my grandson, William Donner Roosevelt, was a member.
I was fortunately able to fly home to Hyde Park on Friday and be at Lincoln Center, one of the neighborhood centers in Poughkeepsie, to attend their 35th anniversary. Madame Pandit was expected to speak, but because of the signing of the Loan to India bill, which will permit India to buy grain from us, she had to return to Washington on Friday. Dr. Bahadur Singh, First Secretary of the Indian embassy and acting Consul General, spoke in her place and gave us an interesting address.
Saturday morning I attended ceremonies held at the grave and on the steps of our old home when the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People came up to commemorate the establishing of the first Federal FEPC commission by my husband in World War II, so you see the last few days have been rather busy.