JANUARY 13, 1950
HYDE PARK, Thursday—Last evening the hour arrived when we took off for a lecture trip. When the actual time comes I grieve over saying good-bye to my little dogs, who look miserable, and overall the things I could do if I stayed at home. But I know that once I reach the West Coast I shall have much joy in seeing my children who live in Los Angeles and my granddaughter and great-grandson in Portland, Ore.
I spent most of the day in New York City trying to do a number of things that I should have done long ago. I seem to find myself in such a position everytime I plan a trip of more than 24 hours. I suddenly feel that all the unfinished business must be taken care of before I leave and I madly try to fit it in.
I got back to the country in plenty of time to get ready and go down at eight-thirty to speak on the United Nations for the Parent-Teachers Association in our nearby grade school. I did have my doubts about making the meeting on time, for I sat nearly an hour in Grand Central Station because the train I had expected to take had been taken off the schedule.
Many of the parents in this school are young and I enjoyed so much having this opportunity to meet them and talk about the U.N.
By noon Thursday I shall be in Toledo, Ohio, and from then on you will hear from me along the road.
* * *
The idea of a peace statue to be presented to the people of Russia, which I mentioned in this column several days ago, evidently has great attraction for a number of people. I have received a number of letters, which I have forwarded to the gentleman whose idea this is, I think, though, that it is still an idea with him and not much of an organized effort.
I feel every impulse to draw people closer together is worth thinking about, and I'm always glad to listen to new ideas. It is quite evident that there are other people who have the same desire to do whatever they can to bridge the gap between us and the Soviet Union.
One letter, which came to me said: "It does seem reasonable to assume that two countries with entirely different histories, customs, languages, climates, industries and types of people would have different ideas of government. At the same time it is hard for me to believe that the country which lost most in men and property in the last war is planning another one anytime soon."
No matter how devoutly many of us hope that this reasonable attitude would be a reality, such friendly gestures will have value.
There is another friendly gesture which I think is having good results. The Unitarian Service Committee had an education and child care institute in Germany during the past year. It was a pioneering effort and was difficult to finance, but having found a German group to work with they have carried it through successfully. I think the reason for its success lies in the following words from their report:
"The general purpose of the institute was to share in all humility the best we have to offer of our own American heritage."
With that attitude they could meet any challenge.