SEPTEMBER 18, 1944
HYDE PARK, Sunday—The trip down by the night train from Quebec was so peaceful, as far as we were concerned, that I was appalled, when we reached Washington Square Friday morning, to see the damage that the hurricane had brought about. Large trees in the Square lay uprooted, and the havoc was pitiful.
Trees always seem to me to have personality, and when a big one is blown over you almost feel that it must have hurt the spirit within the tree. Especially ignoble must it seem to have your branches down in the dust, and, in this case, the pavements!
In Long Island, apparently, not only trees suffered, but houses and telephone and electric wires were all put out of commission. Our daughter-in-law could not be reached by telephone, and when I finally saw her in the late afternoon I found that she and the children were not only without a telephone, but also with no means of cooking. Long ago I discovered that one could get along very nicely in primitive conditions, but to be primitive surrounded by modern inventions is extremely difficult. Our ancestors kept their milk and butter down the well, but now when the electric icebox goes off there is no well to keep things cool! Like many of her neighbors, my daughter-in-law spent the afternoon trying to find enough ice to keep the children's milk from going sour.
Fortunately, her house was unhurt, and my real sympathy went to another young woman of my acquaintance whose house, a summer cottage, was completely flattened by the gale. Her children luckily were not there at the time, but she still has not been able to find out whether any of her belongings were salvaged.
On Saturday I did a little shopping, and got back here in the early afternoon. Little damage was done here, except for some branches that were blown down in the woods.
That was an extraordinarily courageous thing those young scientists did when they flew straight into the teeth of the storm to find out about the currents of wind. Their exploit will make it safer for fliers in the future, but I always marvel at the courage which makes people willingly risk their lives to ascertain scientific facts.