APRIL 20, 1954
DETROIT, Monday—I have just been sent a book called, "How to Help the Shut-In Child," written by Margery D. McMullin, with illustrations by Paul Galdone, and published by E. P. Dutton and Co. It is meant, of course, for the really handicapped child, the child who spends long periods of time in bed or even a child that is confined to a wheelchair. It seemed to me, however, that this book could be of great value in any family where children are bound to have to be in bed a certain amount of time. Even the healthiest of children go through a certain number of the childhood diseases and it is often hard for a mother to think of occupations for a child even temporarily obliged to stay in bed.
But there is much more in this book than just the suggestions. There is a philosophy of letting the child grow up to help in the family even if he requires a great deal of attention from the family. Many a child can actually earn pocket money by following the suggestions in this book and that is one of the real psychological barriers to conquer, for an adolescent who feels he is growing up to complete dependency is resentful. No book that I have seen recently has seemed to me a better book to have on any family's library shelves.
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We drove up to Hyde Park Friday evening. It was raining and dark but as soon as we reached Poughkeepsie the little dogs seemed to know that they were reaching home and they perked up to look out of the windows, even though they had been soundly sleeping until that moment. My grandson, Curtis, came up with me and after a glass of milk and some cookies we both went to bed.
Saturday morning my sister-in-law, Mrs. Dorothy Roosevelt from Detroit, arrived with Mrs. Walker from Bellingham, Washington, who is staying with her. In view of the rain, they spent the morning in the house and an open fire made the living room look cheerful.
I went first to buy food and then I walked with Buzz and the dogs in the woods. Just now the woods are filled with distractions, so I never return with the dogs. They find a rabbit and they are off and I can only hope that sometime they will come wet and bedraggled and ask to come in.
At 2:30 I went over to the library to speak to a student group and in the evening we went to The Roosevelt Home Club dinner in the Hyde Park high school at which my son, Franklin, Jr., spoke.
I left Sunday night from Poughkeepsie for Detroit and points west on an American Association for the U.N. organizing tour. I will write you how things go as I move along.