JUNE 23, 1954
NEW YORK, Tuesday—In writing about my annual picnic at Hyde Park last weekend for the boys of the Wiltwyck School, I forgot to mention a very interesting thing.
Dr. Ernst Papanek, who is now the head of the school, was thought at first by some people to be a little too casual with the boys and not quite enough of a disciplinarian. I can only say that he seems to have done a most remarkable piece of work with them. They were better behaved at this year's picnic than they have ever been. And every one of them came and told me he had had a good time and thanked me. This would be remarkable in any family of children, but in these emotionally disturbed children, who have been through so many vicissitudes, I think it is an especially remarkable achievement.
I would like to add that the counsellors, many of whom come from religious groups such as the Mennonites, seem also to have done a very good job. Every year I test the boys at the end of the day by asking them to do a hop, skip and jump, after which they get candy, comic books and other small gifts. Many of them show the effects of rickets when they were young and are very badly coordinated physically but I noticed a marked improvement this year. I think this is the result of better psychiatric treatment and better physical development—which is done, of course, by the counsellors. I promised the boys I would go over in August to see them in camp—which I must try not to forget to do.
All our own children were most helpful at the party. My grandson Haven Roosevelt did a valiant job of broiling hot dogs, while the girls gave out cupcakes; and later, Jonathan Lash and little Forbes Morgan gave out some of the prizes.
After the picnic, I went over to the Memorial Library to meet members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and to see them place a wreath on my husband's grave. Then I came back to the cottage for my first swim in the pool this year. My son John is very proud of the pool because, after many trials and tribulations in cleaning out the filters, at last the water is clear. As an experiment he painted the pool white this year, and it is really very pretty.
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On Tuesday I went to Hartford, Conn. for a meeting which Mrs. Beatrice Auerbach and Miss Florence Harrison had planned for the service clubs, in a particular effort to bring together the foreign students in Connecticut with American students and representatives of the service groups.
The object, of course, is to make the foreign students feel intimately connected with people in this country. Sometimes they are invited to stay in people's homes—which is, of course, a great privilege for any foreigner in a strange land. It is the best way to get to know the people of a country—what they think and feel, how they live and what they enjoy. And these are all things we must learn if we expect to have any understanding of one another.