JANUARY 12, 1954
AKRON, Ohio, Monday—Sunday in Akron was a fairly quiet day. The drive in from the airport was taken very slowly for it was evident on every side that there was a chance of slipping and nobody had any desire to find themselves in a ditch. Even the police car ahead of us went at a moderate speed. As we drove along I noticed one Christmas decoration still left on a lawn, Santa Claus, his sleigh and all his reindeer set out in front of him. That was indeed an effort which it would have been wicked to destroy so soon.
Between meetings and parties during the day I managed to read the newspaper and, being Sunday, there were voluminous magazines. The cover of one shows a very lovely white-haired woman painting in her Ohio farm home. The result might be one of Grandma Moses' "primitives." Ohio seems to have a number of these untaught painters, both men and women, who get keen satisfaction in their later years by painting scenes of their childhood or of the neighborhood around them.
Another very interesting article was about Dr. Albert Schweitzer who was given the Nobel Prize for his work. Dr. Schweitzer, missionary, medical man, musician, author, and philosopher, has spent 40 of his 79 years in Africa running a hospital for the natives of the jungle. One wonders if he will not leave a greater mark on that strange and little known continent than the present leader of the government of South Africa who has tried to stop the development of the natives.
The article, written by his friend, Marion Mill Preminger, tells us some very interesting things about this extraordinary man. She quotes him as saying, "Always I've had a reverence for life," and then she goes on to say "That is the secret of his sacrifice and his achievement. He has been helping to give life among people who need life most." And she tells us how this reverence for life extends even to the wild things all about him and how just as the black people grow to trust him, the wild animals accept his ministrations and give him their trust, until they are well again and can go off on their own.
The meetings here in the afternoon and evening were for Bonds for Israel and as usual I am overcome by the sacrifices that the Jewish community will make to help the people of Israel. It is more difficult to invest money in Israel than to give to the United Jewish Appeal which is tax deductible, but still the investments are made and I feel sure that Israel is going to be able to grow as an industrial nation and stand on its own feet because of the help of the many Jewish communities in other parts of the world who believe in its ultimate success.
There were two columns in the paper telling the story of Corporal Claude Batchelor, the prisoner of war in Korea who first refused to come back and then changed his mind. The tragic thing to me in this story is that he says, "I understand a lot of folks back in the States resent my coming back." I hope he is mistaken because it is very important that all the other boys who for one reason or another have refused exchange should realize that those who do come back are welcome. I hope that no boy who decides to change his mind and return finds anything but understanding and sympathy on his return.