DECEMBER 12, 1955
NEW YORK—I began the morning on Thursday by being a guest on Margaret Truman and Mike Wallace's radio program. Miss Truman is charming and I am sure everyone enjoys her on the air. It is certainly a job, however, that keeps her busy five days a week. She tells me she is there from 9:30 to 3:30, with practically only minutes snatched in between the periods on the air. On my part of the program, I explained the meaning of Human Rights Day. I enjoyed being with Miss Truman and Mr. Wallace for my short visit and I could not help being a little envious of Margaret's job, for I think it must be a most exciting and challenging piece of work.
I was delighted later to attend the luncheon given in New York to Mr. Adlai Stevenson and to have a few minutes to chat with him and with the various aides who are gathering around him. I think he is building up a good organization which will serve him well and enthusiastically in these months before the national convention.
Jim Carey called for me at the luncheon to take me to the AFL-CIO merger convention at the 34th Street Armory. This is an historic meeting, for here the two great unions have had to iron out some of the difficulties which must be settled before they start working together on a cooperative basis. They seem to be having great success, and I was very happy to have had a chance to take part for a few minutes in an occasion so significant for the labor movement and for our country.
Mr. Stevenson had given the main speech of the day and had been very well received. The hall is so big and so bare that I was a little troubled for fear I would not be able to hold their interest when it came to my turn. All went well, however, and I had a warm feeling of comradeship with my audience.
On the reception committee which greeted me I found a woman who reminded me that she was a member of the boxmakers union and that many, many years ago she and I had walked a picket line together! This was the only time, I think, that I actually walked a picket line, and it was a strange coincidence that we should meet again on this great occasion after so many years.
There is one great advantage in growing old. I felt as I looked at that great audience that I could remember labor conditions as they were 50 years ago and, perhaps more vividly than many of the younger people present, appreciate the gains that had been won. There were heroes among the labor leaders in those early days, and the rank and file frequently had to show a determination and a willingness to sacrifice which is no longer necessary today.
On Thursday evening I went to the second of the Mozart series of concerts given by the Budapest String Quartet at the Metropolitan Museum. They had as a guest artist David Oppenheim, who played with them the Clarinet Quintet in A Major. I particularly enjoyed the performance and am glad I have been able to attend these concerts.