MARCH 29, 1939
SEATTLE, Tuesday—Yesterday evening the Women's University Club here gave a very delightful dinner which I much enjoyed. Afterwards, I had an opportunity to tell them something about my White House mail. Every President's wife, of course, must have received a great many letters, but in 1933 conditions were so serious I think the urge to tell troubles to someone was almost uncontrollable and perhaps it served as a safety valve. In any case, today my mail is far less than it was in 1933. But it still is very valuable because it gives me a picture of the feeling which individuals have about conditions in their particular sections of the country. Sometimes this is vastly discouraging. Sometimes it is really heartening.
The other day, for instance, from a place in Kansas, there came to me a seven page, longhand letter telling of the struggles of a farmer's family. First prosperity, which led to over-confidence, then the depth of despair, and finally the gradual climb back again. The following paragraph seems to me particularly significant.
"The Government granted our loan and established us. Now the result. With peace of mind my husband's health is restored and this is no more important than his restored courage. He has taken a new lease on life, making plans in a bigger, better way and, may I say here, I think the loan worth the price from no other standpoint than the fact that it installs a system of bookkeeping which is going to make a business man of the farmer. We profit from its benefits each month and, instead of trying to destroy us, the government loan seeks to aid us in every way. Not a day in my life I do not thank God."
A letter such as this makes up for many discouragements. Of course, even well-meant efforts have to fail sometimes, for no human agency can ever be perfect.
Another beautiful day and we again are going to picnic out of doors and enjoy the sunshine. My granddaughter has also requested eighteen sandwiches, so evidently the younger generation is off on an outdoor party too. One of the nice things in coming to my daughter's house is not only the pleasure of seeing the family, but she has a colored maid, Katie, who watches over them all and whose welcome I look forward to with great pleasure. Katie spent a good many years with me when Anna was a girl and has been with Anna ever since she first kept house. There would be a big gap if she were not here to welcome me. Now her co-worker, Ivan, has acquired the same feeling of family responsibility and they both refused to take their day off on Sunday because it was my first day here. Katie knows that no one can cook certain things as well as she can and she always has them waiting for me. It means much in life to feel real loyalty and affection about one.