FEBRUARY 2, 1953
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Friday morning I came to Hyde Park bright and early to be at the ceremony which always takes place on my husband's birthday when the March of Dimes poster children come up and the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis has them place a wreath on my husband's grave. General Irving, from West Point Military Academy, brought up the President's wreath and placed it on the grave. The representative of the Roosevelt Home Club also placed a wreath, and a prayer was said by Mr. Gordon Kidd, our Episcopal minister.
When I reached home after these ceremonies were over, I was greeted with joy by two little dogs. Last week my son, John's family came up to find that a family tragedy had occurred. Their dog, Rebel, who was really a wonderful family pet and a constant companion when the children were here, had tried to cross the brook on the ice. Halfway across he fell in and drowned. You can imagine that that was a minor tragedy for all of us and a real one for the children. It was lucky that neither of my two little dogs tried the same thing, and so perhaps I greeted them with a little more warmth than usual. They seemed to respond with equal pleasure. We went for a walk and they disappeared for several hours, but came back in time to drive with me to the station to meet two of my very young friends who came up for the weekend.
My niece, Mrs. Edward P. Elliott, is here for the weekend too. She arrived in time for dinner and so did Mr. and Mrs. James Case. He is the president of Bard College and spoke last night at the annual memorial service which is held each year on my husband's birthday in one of the Protestant churches in Hyde Park. This year it was in the Dutch Reformed Church and Mr. Case gave a most interesting address. The thought that remained with me most vividly was his remark that preservation must mean change, since to remain static in the end means decay and death.
I have always thought of my husband as a conserver in the sense that he hated to see anything which was not living and growing. He loved to see trees growing and fertile fields, and he was interested in all new developments because they meant a growth and expansion of life. He never rejected new thoughts or ideas just because they were new. He would even be willing to try things out to see whether they were good or bad. This has always seemed to me a more really creative type of preservation than a clinging to old forms just because of a fear of any change.