APRIL 30, 1953
NEW YORK, Tuesday—I had a letter the other day from a woman who lives near me up in Dutchess County. She wrote with great feeling about the fact that she had seen young boys, who had recently been inducted into the Army, idling around different places where she had visited, such as Providence, R.I., Washington, D.C., etc., with nothing to do. They seemed to have no place to go for entertainment.
At the same time, however, in her letter she enclosed a clipping of a canteen run by an Episcopal church in Washington. This canteen is open every Saturday night with a different Espicopal church playing host and providing supper and on Sundays there is open house as well.
This seems like a good idea for churches to adopt all over the country where soldiers are in training nearby. I do not know whether there is really a lack of interest in the USO and other programs for the entertainment of our soldiers, but I must say I have not heard so much about what can be done for them as we used to hear in the past. Of course, there are many young men going into training and they should have opportunities for meeting other young people in congenial surroundings in which to have a good time. Perhaps we should all be more conscious of these needs.
This problem of young boys in the Army leads me to a conversation I had this morning with a young man driving my taxi. He recognized me and said, "Do you remember Tivoli, Mrs. Roosevelt?"
I said I most certainly did. Tivoli is a little station on the New York Central and the name of the village around that station. As a child I got off the train there with my family to go to my grandmother's house. The village at the top of the hill and farther back from the river was called Madalin. Our post office was Tivoli, though we lived five miles farther up the river. As we drove up to Tivoli along the river road we passed the Leaf-Watts school for boys on the old General DePeyster place. The boys who attended this school were orphans—and the boy driving my taxi had grown up there.
"You know," he said, "you and I come from the same place."
He had one year of high school, then went to work on a farm, and then the CCC program provided him with employment. He remarked, "That was a swell outfit. You wouldn't have so much juvenile delinquency today if the CCC program could go on all the time."
From there he went into the Army and was taken prisoner in Germany. Now he says the best part of his young life were his years in the CCC.
When we talked of the juvenile delinquency program, I wondered if he weren't right and if reactivating the CCC as a regular part of our Federal operations might be one answer to some of our teen-age problems.