JULY 1, 1955
HYDE PARK—On Tuesday I came back up here in time to attend a benefit given at the Hyde Park Playhouse for the Rhinebeck Hospital. John Newland is acting here this week in the Broadway show, "Oh, Men! Oh, Women!" This play pokes fun at the psychologists and shows that even those among us who think we are the most-controlled often behave as unreasonably as children.
I think the atmosphere has become much more professional at this summer playhouse than it was last year and I enjoyed the play as much as I did when I saw it on Broadway last winter.
There is a good parking lot for cars and the setting is delightful. The old farm clock was put over a building in the middle of the barnyard—this was all a dairy farm in the old days—and it serves as the ticket office today. There is an attractive lobby and the theatre itself is markedly comfortable as to seats and ventilation. And on Route 9, which is not far from the theatre, there are good places to eat.
I was glad to see such a good audience last night, because having a summer theatre so close is very pleasant. And when it brings such good actors as John Newland and those that they plan to have in the next few weeks it is a great pleasure to people who are not able to see every show that is put on in New York City.
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A very appealing letter came to me yesterday about a bill introduced in Congress by Representative Barratt O'Hara of Illinois. It deals with questions affecting the Spanish-American War Veterans. The bill asks for an increase in pensions for the widows of these veterans, provides that Navy personnel in the Spanish-American War be treated on the same basis as Army personnel, and finally, it asks that the Moro Bill be passed to grant the veterans of Moro Province of the Philippine Islands, the same pensions and benefits as are received by the Spanish-American War Veterans.
This particular bill covers the longest undeclared war in our history. It started July 5, 1902, and did not end until December 31, 1913. There were 130 engagements and 5,000 casualties; 15 participants received the Congressional Medal of Honor, and to those who lost an arm or leg $12 per month was granted.
Bills for these veterans have been before the Congress many times over the years, and since all Spanish-American War veterans are now getting old—68 years is the average age—this probably will be the last time that any effort will be made to have something done to improve their conditions.
There are not many of them left, so they cannot bring much pressure to bear on Congress. What they ask seems fair and right, and I wonder if this last effort should not be given real consideration in the Congress at a time when, on the whole, our country is well able to support the small additional tax that these requests would entail.