APRIL 22, 1941
PEORIA, Ill., Monday —A friend of mine has forwarded me a letter which he has received from California. I am going to quote from it for you because I think many of us have been wondering if there is something we could do for the boys in the camps.
The letter quotes a major at Fort Lewis in California as saying: "Amusement in off-hours is always a problem for the enlisted man. At this post it costs him twenty cents and about an hour's time to get to town, and then there is little for him to do but stand on a street corner. If he stays home, he can lie on his bunk and swap yarns, or he can go to the battery recreation room, which has light and heat but little else. Your idea of sending books and magazines would be great. The man to handle the distribution would be the regimental chaplain."
Any of us who live near a camp can collect magazines and books from our own libraries and our neighbors and periodically take them to the camps. Those of us who live at a distance, can mail our magazines to the chaplain when we are through with them. It isn't very expensive and it will take only a little time. Let's do it because, as this correspondent writes:
"It's a swell Army," (and I should like to add, a swell Navy and Marine Corps, and grand boys learning to fly under CAA as well.)
"They are giving one year of their lives, at least, for the rest of us," continues my correspondent. And perhaps, those who are in the Reserves, like my two boys, may give a considerably longer time.
Of course, at present, no one is in any more danger than he would be in carrying on his ordinary occupation, and we hope this training may be of value to everybody in the future. However, none of us can escape the realization that there is a danger which makes this training necessary, and that even we civilians had better prepare for the kind of fortitude which the people of the British Isles seem to have acquired.
Yesterday, in Washington, I had the pleasure of having the daughter of the President of Brazil and her husband, and the Brazilian Ambassador and his wife lunch with me. They are all delightful people and well aware of the changing world in which we are living, so the conversation was interesting.
In the afternoon, Mrs. Byron, who has just been named for Congress in her late husband's district, and Mrs. Ellen Woodward, who brought Mr. and Mrs. March from Los Angeles, and Mr. Edward Paley came to tea with me. We had a pleasant time and then I had to leave for the train.
I bade goodbye to my friends, Mr. and Mrs. Hancock Griffin, who were staying with us for a few days, and Miss Thompson and I took the train for Chicago. We arrived this morning to find a gray and rather chilly day, and realized that the summer weather, which we had left in Washington, had deserted us for the time being.