NOVEMBER 10, 1954
LOS ANGELES, Tuesday—On Sunday I attended the Episcopal Church Of The Advent. It is a sweet little church which had almost faded out of existence but has been brought back by the determined efforts of the new young rector, Rev. Dr. Pratt. He now has 800 parishioners enrolled where there were only five at the time he took it over.
They have a nice custom here. At the end of the service everyone goes into the parish house and coffee and doughnuts are on hand. Strangers are welcomed and this gives them a chance to meet people which, in a city where 5,500 new people come in every week, must be very helpful.
Mrs. Alphonso Bell kindly invited my son, James, to lunch with us at her home after church. In the afternoon we picked up an old friend of mine, Cecil Peterson, who is at present living here and who worked in James' campaign. Then we proceeded to Jimmy's headquarters for a reception of all the workers, and they certainly came in large numbers. Some said we shook 2,000 hands. I would have no idea of the real number but I have become very conscious of the fact that when you stand for nearly two hours you reach a point where you can still smile but where you no longer recognize the people who stand nearest to you.
* * *
Since I have been here I was given a book to read called "I'll Cry Tomorrow" by Lillian Roth. Miss Roth is a movie star who went from stardom, when little more than a child, through many love affairs, to the depths of suffering and degradation which an alcoholic can reach. She was finally saved by a period in a mental sanitarium, by contacts with Alcoholics Anonymous there, and by her own faith and determination.
The story was told by her to two writers, Mike Connolly and Gerald Frank. It must have been a very difficult book to write because everyone knows that any kind of biography is difficult. It requires soul searching if you are making a real effort to tell the truth. Fortunately this only involved Lillian Roth herself. What she tells of others is merely incidental and already known.
Anyone who has watched an alcoholic knows that the suffering Miss Roth describes is always present. The remarkable thing is that she lived through so much and came back. That should give courage to many others and the telling of this story, unpleasant as it is, was worthwhile, I think, for the help it will give to others. In the darkest moments, if you can say: "Someone else lived through this; I can do the same," it may pull you through.
It took courage to write the book, to go back into herself and face herself. It took courage to have it in print where she could see it day after day, but not as much as it took to actually make the comeback. My congratulations and warm admiration and good wishes go to Lillian Roth.