SEPTEMBER 19, 1952
HYDE PARK, Thursday—The other day I visited at the New York Medical Center a young man who broke his neck some four weeks ago and has been lying in traction ever since. He has another four or five weeks before him, but his only thought seems to be how lucky he was. His care is excellent and he is progressing steadily and though he knows, of course, that when he does get off the bed he probably will be walking around with one of those awful collars, he refuses to be downcast.
He was one of the most cheerful people I have ever talked to, and I thought what a gift it was to be able to see the good side of a situation. To most people his condition would seem to have very little of cheer in it. He told me he had learned to read quite comfortably lying flat on his back and that he was reading every word of the speeches in the Presidential campaign and the more he read, he said, the more he admired Governor Stevenson.
Several people have asked me lately why I had not come out for Governor Stevenson. I felt I had made my feeling quite clear. But I am going to repeat for the benefit of my readers that, like the young man in the Medical Center, I grow more enthusiastic about the governor day by day. Even General Eisenhower and Senator Nixon and Senator McCarthy, all of whom have wept over the amount of humor that Governor Stevenson has been able to put in his speeches and who have remarked that such things as the Korean War, taxes and inflation had nothing humorous about them—even those gentlemen's tears haven't dampened my ardor.
I remember reading that Abraham Lincoln used his great gift of wit and storytelling to point the moral of many a sad tale. When his opponents can only take a man to task for being funny and giving the people of this troubled world a chance to laugh now and then, they must be having an awful time thinking up real things to talk about. Governor Stevenson has never to my knowledge joked about our losses in Korea, but plenty of people can think up jokes about inflation and taxes.
* * *
At 8:30 Wednesday morning two gentlemen came to take me to the Bronx Vocational High School. This high school is not in one of the best neighborhoods in New York City and some of the students know what it means to have a hard time in life. They have gone hungry many times and have had to work hard to achieve whatever they wanted in life.
I was there to try to tell them something about the United Nations and to learn their interest in what was going on in countries far away from us. First I thought it might be difficult, because when you have many problems near at home you cannot see a connection between problems of faraway lands and your own and you find it hard to understand why they touch you in any way.
As I told the students, however, of conditions in India and some other Asiatic countries I could tell that they were not only interested but they could feel what these people are going through. I have talked to many audiences in which my listeners have been older and therefore should have had broader experiences and yet I have not felt that their comprehension was as keen as that of these teenagers living in an area of New York City where conditions are not always of the best.