JANUARY 27, 1939
WASHINGTON, Thursday—I see by the papers that the great pianist and statesman, Paderewski, is coming to this country to play for us some time in February. I look forward with pleasure, as I am sure everyone else does, to this opportunity of meeting a great man again. His last concert in Washington was a benefit performance and he stayed with us at the time.
A suggestion has been made to me that all Americans who are financially able and who live in great cities or sophisticated surroundings, should spend a little while this coming summer back in their own hometowns. The person writing me is a well-known movie actress, Irene Dunne, and she advocates it largely because she feels that it would be good for those who have been out of touch with the simpler realities of life to go back to them every now and then.
I agree with her. All of us need to touch the earth and its simplicities as frequently as possible, but perhaps a twofold purpose may be accomplished. We who live in big metropolitian areas may have an opportunity to touch more sources of information, art and culture than our neighbors in far distant places. Perhaps if we return to them and feel the obligation to bring a contribution with us, we may not only draw strength unto ourselves but may widen the horizons of many people we meet.
Last night we attended the horse show at Fort Myer, which was given for the benefit of the Infantile Paralysis Fund. The President seemed to enjoy the jumping, the musical drill done by one of the cavalry troops stationed at Fort Myer, and the artillery drill. My enjoyment is always temepered by a certain amount of fear. People are sure to fall off during the jumping and I am always afraid someone will be seriously hurt. The artillery drill also gives me some moments of apprehension. The musical drill, however, and the class for hack horses, in which Mr. Errol Flynn riding our son, John's horse, "Badger," attracted great attention, were pure pleasure.
The Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Labor, Miss Perkins, accompanied us. I am glad that it is going to be possible at last for Miss Perkins to defend herself. Some many people have been misled by insinuations and unfounded attacks that it will be refreshing to find ourselves back in a traditional pattern where attacks are made and answered in the open and people can got some notion of the truth. Knowing Miss Perkins, I would never doubt her integrity or loyalty, nor that her official actions would be in complete accord with the law of our land.