JANUARY 16, 1954
CHICAGO, Friday—I had an interesting talk in Chicago with a man and his wife who live in a suburb of the city. She is an artist. He is an ex-convict who is now trying to become a writer. His one book in print is called "Next Time Is for Life," by Paul Warren. You may read this book and feel as I did that it is rather hard to be interested in every step of a criminal career. How you come to stealing and how you carry on becomes eventually repetitious, but the psychological development from the time that he felt rejected by his family as a boy, and in the detention home found a little circle of which he could be a part, that is most interesting.
In the end, though he came to it by many steps, it was four years of talking with a psychiatrist that brought him to an understanding of himself. He could no longer hide behind the old defense mechanisms. He had to face his own responsibility and he is now out of prison, has a home and a child and friends. He hopes to help by his writing the understanding which might improve our chances of doing a rehabilitation job in institutions, but also he might help many a family to keep their youngsters from the many temptations that he succumbed to.
He has been fortunate I think because he told me that whenever he went to look for a job, he honestly told his future employer that he was an ex-convict and he found understanding and a helpful attitude. I am afraid this is not the universal experience, but perhaps there was something in his own attitude which helped him, and those reading his book may get an understanding of what that attitude is.
I left the hotel on Wednesday in the late morning and went out to Glencoe, a suburb of Chicago, where I was to speak at night and where we stayed with Mr. and Mrs. David H. Cahn. I had their son's room and felt very at home because there was a photograph of both Adlai Stevenson and my husband on the walls.
Incidentally, the walls were papered with maps, fascinating maps, old and new, from every area of the world. I have never seen any other room done quite so successfully in this way but if I had to be housed in such a room for any length of time I think I could find something interesting to look at there for an indefinite period of time.
A group of high school students came in for an interview during the afternoon there and asked some wonderfully interesting questions. Sometimes I think their questions are more mature than those that are asked at the regular meetings.
It was a pleasure in Glencoe to see a number of people whom I had not met for some time. One young woman told me that she and her husband had worked in the Point Four Program in Brazil and she was most anxious to come and talk to me about it. I shall hope to see her a little later on in the East.
One of the rewarding things I have found on these lecture trips is the chance to see people that you have met in other places. For instance, I saw Mrs. Jerry Voorhis who with her husband now lives in this area. He is working in the cooperative movement and she tells me that there is rarely a day that people from Burma or Indo-China or some other distant part of the world do not drop in to discuss with him the possibility and the value of cooperatives in their area of the world. How our horizons are being stretched in occupations which once dealt only with the problems of the United States.