JUNE 17, 1936
GRAYVILLE, Ill.—Four o'clock this morning, Mrs. Helm's faithful Mary was gently touching my arm and announcing that it was time to get up! I imagine everybody knows the feeling you have when you know you have to get up early in the morning. When the light begins to change at dawn, in spite of your determination to sleep, you have a faint realization that the time left you is short but strange to say I was not half as reluctant to get up as I expected to be.
I packed as much as I could last night, making allowance for the fact that I might return from the coal mine so dirty I would have to change most of the things I had on! This proved a wise precaution.
Breakfast and on our way by five o'clock. For the time being our traffic policement out ahead seemed rather unnecessary as we had the road to ourselves. We reached the Orient Mine at West Frankfort by six thirty. There is a superstition about letting women go down in a mine so I stood where the men were going to work, and watched them all load and go down. Then we went over to the new Orient Mine and as that was not working we were able to go down and see something of this mine which is said to be the largest in the world. It was certainly modern in every way, even to the landscaping around the office. I must say this country side is far less grim looking than some other mine fields I have visited.
We had a second breakfast with Mr. and Mrs. Williams, the WPA district director and drove to Harrisburg where we visited the Trachoma Clinic and saw the patients being brought in by buses. The transportation is furnished by WPA and it has doubled the number of patients who can be treated at the clinic, and in consequence greatly reduces the sum of money which must be spent yearly in pensions for the blind by state and county. I was fortunate enough, also, to see an exhibition of WPA women's and professional work in the high school. I get a feeling everywhere that these projects are gaining in importance and popularity in the communities where they are located.
The welcome and hospitality extended me everywhere in these small towns and villages make one realize that no part of our country has a corner on hospitality. I have experienced it in pretty much every part of the country and it is always the same—simple and cordial and given from the depths of warm hearts.
Back at Mrs. Helm's at twelve o'clock, and driving to Indianapolis after lunch.