FEBRUARY 8, 1937
HYDE PARK—I reached Hyde Park late Friday night and woke to a very pleasant day on Saturday. Snow on the ground but not deep enough to make either driving or walking impossible. A long walk in the morning, an afternoon of work and a pleasant, peaceful evening.
Another beautiful day today which is being spent in much the same way. This evening I will be back in New York and take the midnight to Washington.
A kind friend sent me a book: "Let the Hurricane Roar,", by Rose Wilder Lane which I read through last night. I have always loved stories of the people who opened up the west but this story I recommend to anyone who feels a bit discouraged. These people had courage, the kind that rises above almost any obstacles. Of course different days have different difficulties, and those that we face today are perhaps not as simple as those which faced the pioneers. The solutions are more difficult to find but the same kind of courage and determination which conquered their difficulties, applied to ours will do the trick, I think. This young wife writes in her little sod hut to her husband lying with a broken leg many miles away: "We are having hard times, but we should not dwell upon them, but think of the future. It has never been easy to build up a country but how much easier with us, with such great comforts and conveniences—kerosene, cookstoves and even railroads and fast posts, than it was for our forefathers. I trust that like our own parents we may live to see times more prosperous than they have ever been in the past, and we will then reflect with satisfaction that these hard times were not in vain."
Perhaps our generation also will live to reflect in the same way that our hard times were not in vain. They should make us more conscious of the conditions which we wish to eradicate.
Six girls who belong to a union in New York City, came to see me Friday afternoon. Five of them were unemployed probably because they belong to a union, for it is not a very strong one as yet and the employers, many of whom would like to be fair, are in a competitive business and they cannot afford to meet the demands of the union unless everyone in their line of business is forced to do so too, and at present this union can not hope to be strong enough to accomplish that. They are not such unreasonable demands—a wage which will make it possible to live decently in New York City, perhaps even to contribute two or three dollars a week to help the families at home or with whom they live; a forty hour week; a definite period of notice before layoffs take place and the eratication of a number of other conditions which would probably right themselves with these three basic things settled. Many people do not believe in unions. Unquestionably unions and their leaders are not always wise and fair any more than any other human beings. There are only two ways to bring about protection of the workers, however, legislation and unionization. So far the majority of the people in this country seem to favor unions as a more democratic and elastic method, though certain things must be dealt with by legislation.