DECEMBER 29, 1939
WASHINGTON, Thursday—The snow is still making it possible for the children to coast on the south lawn at the White House, and they are taking full advantage of it. They have to take a good deal of trouble to keep the slide in coasting order. I was amused when my young grandson dashed in and demanded as big a tin tray as we had in the pantry. When I inquired if a sled would not be more useful, he looked at me pityingly and retorted:" But, grandmere, the tray will be better for improving the slide."
At 12:00 o'clock, Major Walker of the Farm Security Administration, and Mr. Harry Slattery of the Rural Electrification Administration, came to discuss a group of young people's country neighborhood problems with them. I think they found each other mutually interesting, for they were still talking when I left at 12:45 with Mr. Frederick Delano and Mr. Cammerer of the National Park Service. We lunched with Colonel Patton and the other guests were Mr. Cline, the engineer in charge of building the new airport, Colonel Sumpter Smith, of the Civil Aeronautics Authority, and his assistant, Mr. Early.
It always interests me to have a chance to listen to gentlemen who are planning the use and development of land areas. In Washington which has such great possibilities for beauty, it is important that every new development be considered from every possible angle. I had seen no model of the proposed airport buildings and roads and it fascinated me to have a chance to see all the details which have been considered in these new plans. I was interested in the possible development of bridle paths, for the loss of the one which we used to ride so constantly from Memorial Bridge to Alexandria is a real deprivation this year.
I am back now from this very pleasant luncheon party and at 4:00 o'clock the American Political Science Association group will come in for tea. At 5:00 o'clock Sistie is having a party and they are going to be shown "Gulliver's Travels," which I am told is a most interesting movie. I only wish that I could watch it, but I shall be seeing various guests at tea and later a few people will dine with us.
I finished a book the other day by Constancia de la Mora, called: "In Place of Splendor." The first half of it is extraordinarily interesting, because in showing her own development, she pictures a period of change which was particularly accentuated in a country like Spain, where the old nobility had lived with so little change in customs and habits over a great number of years. Whether one is sympathetic with the Loyalist cause or not, one cannot help but marvel at the devotion which the author and her associates gave to this cause. The sacrifices they made seem almost superhuman. One can easily understand that, having made such sacrifices, the country and the cause are enshrined in their hearts. It is an interesting book, regardless of your own sympathies, and I think will be a contribution to the historical knowledge of the future.