APRIL 18, 1953
HYDE PARK, Friday—Though I don't quite fit into the age bracket, I have discovered a fascinating book that was written for children ranging from eight to 12 years old. The book is called "Getting to Know Korea," and it really is a kind of physical geography with emphasis on the human side—a great deal about what happens in everyday life to the man, woman and child in their everyday surroundings.
A letter addressed to me that accompanied the book interested me very much because I discovered that the author, Regina (Tor) Shekerjian, is a very near neighbor. She lives in Pleasant Valley, N.Y., a nice, quiet little village about 10 miles from Poughkeepsie.
She told me that this book was her first and she hoped it was just the beginning of a series. The next would be on Germany because, having asked a great many children in public schools as well as their teachers, the unanimous desire seemed to be to have a book of this kind on Germany. She wrote to 15 foundations asking for a fellowship to go to Germany to write this book, but she was unsuccessful. Now she is still looking for some way to get there so that this second volume can be written.
She introduces herself by saying: "You don't remember me, but I had lunch with you one summer day. I was 21 that year and I was running for alderman on the Democratic ticket in the city of Poughkeepsie. I was the first woman ever to have run for that office. I was also the youngest, I guess.
"Of course, that was eight summers ago and I was only one of about seven young Democrats, but I remember well that day. There were hot dogs and tiny, perfectly shaped red tomatoes and salad, and ice cream and you speaking about peace and the future of the world, and the part young people must play—the responsibility which belonged to each of us not only to preserve this great country but to help make it even greater."
What a long time to remember so vividly! I only hope the young ones who read about Korea today in this young woman's book will remember that they have a responsibility that is particularly important in that faraway little peninsula.
And now I want to tell you about a very small organization, but one that is very important, called the Foundation for Orphans in Greece, Inc.
In 1951 a little seven-year-old girl arrived from Greece and was treated in New York for injuries sustained during the guerrilla warfare that went on so long along the Greek border against the Communists. She was months in a hospital here and had many operations. After this long siege this little girl, who hardly looked normal on arrival, began to pick up faster and when she sailed for home the smile that had been wiped out could again be seen on her face.
Last spring two more little girls arrived for plastic surgery. These children also were cared for by the Foundation for Orphans in Greece. Now the organization would like to bring more children within reach of this care that aims not only to remake the bodies but tries to give relief and hope to the minds and hearts of these youngsters.
If adequate funds can be obtained, the foundation hopes not only to care for Greek children but for those who come from other lands. It seems to me a most appealing work.