AUGUST 19, 1938
NEW YORK, Thursday—Mrs. Scheider and I left Hyde Park yesterday afternoon a little after 4:00 o'clock. Mr. and Mrs. Gray left us just before this to go back to our old home in Tivoli, New York, for a few days. I would felt very sad to see them go if they were not returning on Sunday to spend a little more time with us.
The drive down was very pleasant and we made good time. But, as we neared the city and I saw the lines of traffic going out of New York, I realized it would not be well to leave the city at the hour when most people were leaving their work for the day.
This was the first time that Mrs. Scheider has been in New York City since early June, so when we crossed the Henry Hudson Bridge she noted the fact that it was now a two-way proposition. I was so busy talking that I went by the toll official and she wasn't able to drop her ten cents into his hand. I had to back up to pay the toll. The official looked a little annoyed and I did not blame him, for I realized that I had treated him very much the same way we used to treat the rings we caught as we went by on the merry-go-round.
I thought we might be tempted to go to the theatre last night but it was so warm that after dinner on the porch I did a little writing before going to bed. It seems cooler today and I think it will rain.
I expect to spend a good part of the day going through the things which we have in storage with John and Anne, in the hope that they may find some things which may be useful to them in furnishing their apartment.
A pathetic letter has come to me dealing with the conditions of workers who harvest and can fruits and vegetables up and down the West Coast. Of course, these conditions are not confined to the West Coast—they exist wherever we have migratory workers who follow the crops through the different seasons.
This letter points out the fact that housing conditions are bad, that the children have little opportunity for schooling and that wages are not of the best. I do not need this letter to point out these conditions, because they are already familiar to me. The problem is a very difficult one. The nature of the industry makes it necessary to have a migratory population of workers, and yet I do not feel that the industry itself has ever made a concerted effort to get these workers together with the owners and work out some plan by which housing, schooling, health and general living conditions could be safeguarded.
I realize that this is not easy, but it would be far easier if there were more organization and goodwill on both sides. In certain places the Government has taken some steps to help improve housing for these groups. I do not know whether it should remain a government function, for the only way really to deal with industrial questions is to have the industries and workers cooperate, and only ask such help of government as may be found necessary.