DECEMBER 29, 1936
BOSTON, Monday—My reading material has been varied the last few days. I have reviewed a thrilling boys' novel for the Junior Literary Guild, and last evening I read Harpers Magazine practically from cover to cover. If anyone cares to read something which will give them plenty of food for thought I think they will find the article by C. Hartley Grattan "Back to work: When and Where?" very interesting. After all, the most vital question to many people in this country today is not only how to get back to work, but how to get to work if they have never had any work experience before. Everyone who has a job must be interested in this question for the tenure of his job depends upon our ability to keep other people at work and on putting young people as they come to working age into jobs which will provide them with a living wage.
I saw an article in yesterday's paper stating that $3600 a year was really the minimum on which an average family could lead a satisfactory existence, and most of us know that a very great percentage of our people see only from $200 to $600 cash in hand during the course of a year, and many, many others have incomes under $1000 or ranging from $1000 to $2000 a year. This problem involves so many people that we cannot just say "Let the government solve it." We, as a people, must solve it by deciding on the type of social and economic philosophy which we wish to see established in this country. When we know what changes we want, we can then set government machinery to work to accomplish them, but the people themselves must know what it is they wish to do.
The first article in Harper's called "The Provincial Lady in Moscow" is a delightful travel article, and I recommend it when you need to laugh. The little touch about keeping the door open to let the cockroach out was quite delightful.
People are being so very kind—the waiters who bring in our food—the taxi-drivers, all Franklin's friends and our own are more than thoughtful, but we still live a quiet and monotonous existence waiting round the hospital or the hotel.
Things seem to be progressing smoothly however, and for that we are all grateful. We have made one innovation and we walk from here to the hospital or back at least twice a day. I am discovering that the City of Boston has innumerable quaint small shops down equally intriguing little streets, and someday I know I shall be weak and begin to investigate them, which will make my walk a very much longer one.
1. The phrase "in Harper's" did not appear in the draft version. It appears on a published version of the column (ELPH, 29 December 1936, p. 6).