DECEMBER 24, 1953
NEW YORK, Wednesday—My mantlepieces both in Hyde Park and in New York show the greatest diversity of Christmas taste in cards, but when they are crowded together as much as they can be, I still haven't enough room for all of them.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all my friends who so kindly sent me a word of greeting at this season of the year. It certainly warms the heart to be remembered and to hear from people who are far away or with whom I have had little or no chance to make any connection this past year.
If you do not get a word of thanks from me, you will know that I have simply not been able to keep up with the volume of cards but that I appreciate them deeply. They come from friends and acquaintances whom I have known for a long time and often from those I do not know at all, and I am truly grateful.
Now I would like to write about the death of a very old friend of mine, Isabella Greenway King. I can remember when she came to New York as a beautiful young girl, so beautiful that it was difficult to keep her from growing up too fast. In those early days and in the days of her first marriage, I saw a great deal of her and grew to admire the artistic and practical gifts that had come to her through her very gifted parents.
Above all, however, I admired her spirit that seemed able to rise to every emergency, and there were many, in those early years. But she never lost her gallantry of spirit nor her ability to enjoy life. She lived in the Adirondacks, she lived in New Mexico, and always met the challenges of life with a smile. The two older children must have many delightful recollections of those childhood days.
Then for a few years she knew great happiness and what it meant to be cared for with great love, but that was snatched away. Only someone with great character could have lived through the next few years, built her interests, served her country as Congresswoman, and always remained a mother close to her children's hearts.
Then in her later years she knew again companionship and the joy of being cared for. I am sure they were happy years and I know that her children, all three of them, and her hosts of relatives and friends will be sad indeed not to have her with them. But for her at the end it must have been release from pain and suffering. Hers was an interesting colorful life and her contribution to those she loved was an unforgettable thing.
Our lives have not been close together of late years, but I could never forget the closeness of ties in the earlier years nor even feel that we could not pick up one's relationship exactly where we had left off. I can only say, "Godspeed, and may the generation that follows her carry through their lives in the same spirit."
I attended the meeting this morning of the Board of Trustees for the Hall of History which is to be built at the Knob in Warm Springs, Georgia. Every time I see the drawings for this project, I grow more enthusiastic. I am sure it will be a place that everyone will want to see in the years to come and we will all feel it is a graphic way of telling the story of the contribution made by all the citizens of this country in building a nation in this new hemisphere.