AUGUST 1, 1944
HYDE PARK, Monday—On Saturday the Poughkeepsie Women's Club had a meeting at Mr. Moses Smith's farm, right across the road from us, and I went to speak. Just as I got up, after listening to a young girl from Vassar sing charmingly, I noticed that the sky was beginning to look very black. I had been introduced, as usual, as "the First Lady," and so began by telling them about an incident at Lake Junaluska, where a mother had told her little girl of 6 that the First Lady, Mrs. Roosevelt, was coming to luncheon.
"Oh, that can't be so, Mother," the little girl responded, "because the first lady was Eve."
Everyone laughed, and then as I began to be a little more serious, thunder drowned out my words. I realized that the rain was going to fall and that I had left the top on my car down. Then and there, I stopped my speech and ran to put the top up. I came back and began again, only to be stopped by a torrent of rain. I decided nature was against my making a speech that day. But the committee still felt that we should be patient, and so the hall and the porch of the farm house were packed with human beings more or less wet to the skin. When the rain let up, I was asked to finish my much interrupted speech!
Under the circumstances, I thought a very few words would be all the poor people could bear. Afterward, a lady with a lovely voice sang one more song to close the meeting, and I finally fled to my car!
In the evening I went to Lake Mahopac to speak at a National War Fund meeting. Here we were more fortunate, the thunderstorm taking place only during the trip down. Mr. Samuel Barlow, of New York City, made an excellent speech and conducted the money-raising part of the meeting in marvelous fashion. We did not get home until nearly midnight, but I felt the meeting had been a great success.
In spite of the fact that thunderstorms have played quite a part in our existence the last few days, we are very grateful for them, for we did need the rain and our gardens are flourishing.
This morning some very sad news reached us. Miss Marguerite LeHand, who for so many years was my husband's devoted personal secretary, passed away very suddenly last night. I am sure that for her, after her long illness, death will be a release. But those who loved her, particularly her nieces who lived with her, will feel her loss deeply. She was a member of our family for a good many years, and gave the kind of service to the President which is never paid for, but for which he and all those around him have always been extremely grateful.