DECEMBER 31, 1936
BOSTON, Wednesday—The last twenty-four hours, except when I have been at the hospital reading aloud a ludicrous book by Wodehouse called "Laughing Gas," I have been submerged in mail. Mail to sign, mail to read. Not all of the letters are written to me some of them come to Franklin, Junior, and of course, he can do nothing about them. People are very kind and they want him to profit by their experiences little realizing that there are individual factors that make every case different.
One letter brought us a great deal of amusement, however, which was written to Franklin by a lady who demanded to know why he didn't go home, that it would cost him nothing to be ill in the White House and then he could send her the money which is being spent on the hospital. The money might mean nothing to him, but it would mean a great deal to her! Both of us had to laugh but Franklin has been forbidden to laugh so his was a rather smothered variety. If he could have chosen where he was to be ill, I don't think there is any question but he would have preferred to be at home and it would have made life considerably simpler for me! Unfortunately when people are taken ill in one place you can't transport them by wish to another.
Another young lady assured him of her devotion and one young gentleman wished that he might take his place "because he was a bachelor and twenty-three years old."
Some situations are very pathetic however, one woman writes me that in spite of good training she has been unable to find any work, is suffering from sinus trouble and that "the cold climate and colder faces in Boston" make it imperative that she betake herself to warmer climes. She can not however, find any job which will keep her alive here or take her away. It is almost pathetic to realize what confidence she feels that I can find something for her and yet so far my imagination has been unable to think of a situation.
I lunched with Admiral and Mrs. Byrd and their four children. Mrs. Byrd told me that when her husband was on his expeditions the whole family lived through the expedition with him. They got daily reports and followed every move and the children are accustomed to having, their father on these faraway trips and look upon it as his job and take it all very much for granted. I can't help thinking, however, that even to them it must seem a little more adventurous than having a father who goes to his office at nine every morning and comes home at five with more or less the same routine incidents to talk about. I am certainly getting old! Though I feel no older than I did twenty years ago, still I realize that I first knew Dick Byrd when he was only a few years older than his son is today! I dressed him up in a cocked hat for a fancy dress party as the "Admiral" in a musical comedy.