DECEMBER 11, 1937
WASHINGTON, Friday—A very appealing letter has come to me from a woman describing her boy's efforts to find a job. I am going to tell the story here because I think that if more of us need to understand in order that we may be helpful when we come in contact with similar circumstances.
When a sophmore in college, this boy had meningitis which left him completely deaf. A year later he went back to college and completed his course. He took lip reading and became very good at it; studied bookkeeping and business methods feeling that here was a field where his deafness would not handicap him, but when he went searching for a job, nobody wanted him. Then he turned to commercial art work, won a scholarship at the art institute and obtained a summer position, but again nothing permanent had come his way.
In some state and federal government positions, there is a rule that a certain definite percentage of handicapped people must be employed, and I know that that is the rule also in certain big business organizations. I have inquired from the heads of these organizations, and they tell me that almost invariably, the blind, the deaf, and the maimed do their jobs well. Perhaps they concentrate more easily because of their handicaps, and the training which they have had to undergo in order to overcome it is good discipline.
We cannot take care of all of these handicapped employables unless it becomes a more universal practice to devote exclusively to them certain positions which they can fill. This may mean a study of the industry in an effort to make the adjustments necessary, but like so many other things in life, with goodwill it can be done, and I hope that it will be done.
I went to the broadcasting station straight from the dinner table last night and after my conversation with Kate Smith I returned to find the rest of the family still conversing over their coffee, so Mrs. Scheider and I had our coffee and dessert which he had expected to sacrifice on the altar of radio punctuality! It is funny how you instinctively like certain people. I have met Kate Smith once I think, but her voice is warm and I have a feeling that if knew her better I should like her, so I hope the opportunity for better acquaintance than a radio connection will come to me before long.
I worked all evening and at midnight was back at the radio station to repeat the program for the west coast, which made the day seen quite long.
We have been rehearsing our skit for the "Gridiron Widows' Party" tomorrow night and it always amused me to find how awkward one feels until one gets scenery and costumes, and then it is quite easy to pretend.