MARCH 1, 1944
NEW YORK, Tuesday—As I walked a couple of miles yesterday afternoon, I stopped at several houses. In one, the father was about to go up for his physical examination for induction into the Army. His two children are too young to know that perhaps their expected little brother or sister will not find any father at home. The motier [originally: mother] told me firmly that she was not going to worry until after the physical examination. She does not want to go back and live with the family. This is the first home of her own that she has ever had and they have just had it painted and fixed. But what has to be, has to be! A photograph of two brothers stood on the mantle-piece. One has been in the Southwest Pacific for many months.
The next house I stopped at has one son just drafted. He is leaving a wife and two babies, but he hopes his wife can take his job and he is glad to go.
The next house on my calling list has a boy on a destroyer in the Southwest Pacific. He has a wife, a baby and a mother and father worrying about him at home. They heard from him recently and so far all is well.
A good walk it was, and I returned with a sense of pride in this America of ours.
At the Red Cross meeting in Poughkeepsie in the evening, the high school children sang "The Ballad of America." I felt I had seen much of that America as I walked along the country roads early in the day. It must please Earl Robinson to know that his song, "The Ballad of America," is being sung more and more often by the college and high school student groups of our country. No young person can sing this ballad and not get some real knowledge of those who make up this polyglot but virile nation of ours.
It was a good audience at the Poughkeepsie High School, considering the fact that many people must have attended the American Association of University Women's meeting at which Sir Gerald Campbell was scheduled to speak.
I thought this audience was a fine demonstration of the faithfulness of Red Cross followers. The workers may go out into the county to raise the $343,000 which is our quota, with a sense of sure victory in their hearts. I have always made my contributions to the National Red Cross in Washington, but I think I shall have to send a special gift to Hyde Park so as to be associated with our own county.
I shall remember the soldier at a Red Cross Club in London, whose voice reached me from atop a table perched above me. "Hello Mrs. Roosevelt, how's Poughkeepsie?" he said.