DECEMBER 23, 1959
NEW YORK—On Saturday afternoon of last week I drove up to Hyde Park and found my household and my family already immersed in Christmas preparations.
But the household had a few hectic days prior to Saturday, and we had to forget all about Christmas in our difficulties. First, we were struck by hordes of red ants that threatened to put us out of the house, and then we had to contend with a furnace that ceased to function!
Supplies of all kinds had to be thrown out because they were filled with these infinitesimal red insects. They covered the furniture, the floors, and the walls; they got into everything. Finally, we discovered a man who said he could get rid of them, but for 24 hours everything had to be out of every cupboard and everyone had to be out of the house while he was applying the necessary disinfectants.
Then just as everyone had regained his composure and had moved everything back into place, the only part of the furnace that I had not had replaced last year went out of order. That happened last Saturday morning, and I fully expected to find only open fireplaces to warm us, which I did not expect to be very comfortable. Whatever had to be done was done, however, before we arrived in the evening, and the house was warm and we all had a pleasant dinner.
On Sunday afternoon I had my usual Christmas party for all the people who work on the place, as well as those who used to be with my husband and my mother-in-law and who are now either retired or are working in the village.
This party is always great fun because I have watched the children grow up and now they are getting married and having children of their own. So, we had at least seven young ones this year, ranging from a baby of a few months old to six years old.
Each year I give an account of any trips I have taken during the year, and this year Nina could do her share, as she was with me on the only extended trip I had taken. This was when we went to Iran and Israel last spring, with a brief stop at the end of our journey in Paris and London.
Tuesday was a stormy day in New York, and our hope is that the President, on the last lap of his journey, will find pleasanter weather on his arrival home Tuesday night. The snow looks beautiful for a while, but creates havoc as far as traffic in the streets and on the roads is concerned. It is difficult for those who have to travel, but the snow is a delight to all the children who always want a white Christmas in the country. In the city I never enjoy the snow, but in the country it is delightful.
Every citizen of our country, I am sure, will be wishing the President a happy Christmas for having fulfilled a peaceful mission well.
It is true that no trip of this kind can solve the many difficulties that will have to be met at more than one summit conference. The atmosphere can be improved, however, and I think it has been, and we should all be grateful to the President for having fulfilled an arduous duty.
It must have taxed his strength and been an exhausting experience, but let us hope that it has given him a sense of satisfaction to find himself received with such enthusiasm, which indicates the trust of the peoples of the world.