MARCH 27, 1936
NEW YORK, March 26—Last evening I dined with the ladies of the Seventy-Third Congress at a very elaborate party. The Swift sisters, who have a dancing school in New Jersey, presented some of their young pupils as part of the evening's entertainment.
I took the 8 a.m. train this morning to New York, for I had promised to speak at 1:15 at Washington Irving High School. They certainly are crowded in those New York schools. When I arrived at the door there were children standing all around the steps and outside on the walk. I was told that some 1700 could get inside the auditorium while 6000 attend the school.
It was a very interesting occasion, for I had been asked by the Pan-American League to address the school where they were celebrating Pan-American Day. I found that a great number of these youngsters are studying Spanish.
As I looked at the eager sea of young faces before me, I had the curious feeling that youthful audiences so often give me. There is a desire to know and to hear and yet a veiled challenge, an apparent question in their minds as to whether you have anything to give them. I always like to talk with interested and alert young people, and I wish that speeches might be changed to conversations, for both sides get so much more out of it when it is possible to have an interchange of opinion.
I was there for three-quarters of an hour and then went uptown to the Todhunter School for the annual party given by the Senior School. They acted a dramatization of David Copperfield and did it very well, after which they entertained all of us at tea. Having been away for three years I am not as familiar with the undergraduates as I am with the graduates, so I was very happy to see some of my old friends and to have a chance to talk about what they were doing. I also had a glimpse of my granddaughter before the play, to which she was not admitted, being in a younger group.
Now I am peacefully at home and my daughter and son-in-law are coming to dine with me and we will spend a quiet evening.
It seems strange to come to New York for quiet, but just the same its very size is what brings a sense of the most restful isolation.