JULY 10, 1944
HYDE PARK, Sunday—It is curious, when the news is so full of the loss of human life and when we are so accustomed to the harm that can be done to the civilian population by robot bombs and bombings of all kinds, that we should react with such horror when we read of an accident such as the one which occurred in Hartford, Conn. just the other day. Perhaps it is because so many of us remember the joy of our childhood in seeing a circus under a tent. The realization that it can turn into such scenes as those which the papers describe makes one recoil in horror.
One can only hope that in the future every precaution will be taken to prevent such disasters from happening. The loss of life which occurs unnecessarily, and which one feels might have been prevented, just seems to add to the world's burden of sorrow —it is the last proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back.
Again two bases in Japan have been bombed. Little by little, in its homeland, that country is going to know the same kind of horror which has visited the Axis countries of Europe, and which Japan itself has meted out to so many peaceful and unsuspecting island people.
If it were not for the papers and the radio, I would be almost inclined, sometimes, to forget the war up here. The woods are so quiet, the brooks murmur just as cheerfully and the flowers bloom as bravely, as if all the world were as peaceful as this little spot on the Hudson River.
Yesterday we had a picnic for 25 very active small boys. They spent an hour in the library, and we hope that they derived some educational benefits from there. Then, the real interest of the day centered on food. One small boy came to me and said: "I have eaten seven helpings of ice cream and three glasses of lemonade, I think I have a tummy ache." But he told me afterwards that he would always prefer to eat good food, even if he became uncomfortable after eating too much of it.
After lunch we told them they all had to rest, and so we gathered them under a tree and I read them Kipling's story of how the elephant got his trunk, which they seemed to enjoy. Then we had games and races, and they left me at three o'clock, saying that as soon as they got back to camp, they were going to have a swim. Their crowning joy was that each carried a prize for some feat which he accomplished during the games.
The tug-of-war seemed to be the most successful of all. I discovered that the lawn sloped a little in one direction, so I made the teams change places each time, and thereby managed to see that everybody got one prize at least, for those on the downward slope always seemed the stronger team.