JULY 12, 1955
HYDE PARK—On last Saturday here we had our annual picnic for the boys from Wiltwyck School. We had 101 boys, plus approximately 50 additional guests, which included, the counselors and their wives and various members of the Wiltwyck staff.
When you look at some of these boys who are only eight, nine or 10 years old you wonder how it is possible for them to put away the amount of food that disappears in two brief hours. Gallons of milk, hundreds of hot dogs, salads, bushels of corn on the cob, and ice cream and cake are consumed. And we have found that when everything is eaten the best thing to do with the boys is have them lie around on the ground and rest while I read a story of their choice.
The most frequently chosen stories are "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" and "How The Elephant Got His Trunk," so for a day at least Kipling is brought back to all our memories.
When the youngsters recover sufficiently from their feast to want to do something, we have some contests for which they get a bag of candy. Then they go over to the library and, I am told they are very good sightseers there.
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There is a most-interesting article in Look Magazine for July 12, written by William Attwood. He had been a correspondent abroad for nine years. So he and his wife decided on their return to rediscover their own country, and they took a trip by motor to see things for themselves.
I was delighted to find that he was impressed with the long way we have come toward achieving racial equality in this country so far as the Negro is concerned. Mr. Attwood feels that the Negro is moving fast "toward full equality with his fellow Americans," and this is not just in the North but in the South as well.
I was pleased, too, to find that Mr. and Mrs. Attwood, two trained reporters, found that "anti-Semitism has declined," that "Mexican-Americans have made enormous strides toward first-class citizenship" and that "prejudice toward people of Japanese and Chinese origin has decreased." All of this is encouraging as a report from people who have lived in foreign parts of the world for a long time and who have looked at their own country with a freshness that we who are here all the time find it hard to achieve.
Mr. Attwood says some things about Americans which I think are very true. He says we have become a people much more on the move because we are able to afford to move about and that this is wiping out regional and local differences. But he is afraid that sometimes we are "even too busy to think, which is a national affliction."
He says that we are discovering new values and that it is not fair any longer to think that Americans only chase the almighty dollar. We want to learn and to enjoy many other things, but the dollar has its value in achieving the other things that we desire.
I found this a thought-provoking and interesting article.