My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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REEDSVILLE, W.Va., Tuesday—Have you ever gone on a trip and found yourself wondering what would be the next thing that would happen, because everything that did happen was so utterly unexpected? When I left West Liberty, Kentucky, yesterday everything went smoothly except that we started two hours later than we had planned. The school dedication ceremony was really interesting and my visit to the exhibits of WPA and NYA work was heartening from the point of view of their real accomplishment.

Our first unexpected event was when we pulled up at a turn of the road and two gentlemen asked me if I would go a mile out of my way. I assured them that it was impossible as I was already very late, and then they said that they had held a thousand children for over two hours with the promise that I would appear and say a few words to them. Of course, nobody had told me beforehand but I felt obliged to go: Another half hour was lost from our schedule!

Then we struck gravel roads and oiled gravel with the result that our motorcycle escort had to go very carefully and our progress was very slow. We had been assured that our road must go through Ashland, and the Mayor asked if we could stop there for a minute. It took us so much longer than we expected en route that I began to be very nervous as to where I was going to file my column, finally I saw a Western Union office in the town of Louisa and stopped there to turn in the column. While we were doing that, Mr. Clarence Pickett of the American Friends Service Committee, who was with us dashed over to a lunch wagon and bought some sandwiches, bananas and oranges so that we could eat by the side of the road with the least possible delay when supper time arrived. By this time I had studied my road map and decided that Ashland was really a longer route but having promised to go that way, we went that way and in spite of the fact that we were an hour and a half later than schedule, a large group of people were waiting for us. I got out and said a few words of appreciation of their welcome, received some lovely flowers and we proceeded on our way. Nothing further happened until we were about six miles from our destination, Morgantown, West Virginia, and suddenly we had a puncture. Punctures are never pleasant but at three in the morning, I fully expected our chauffeur and Mr. Pickett to use some forcible language, but Quaker training stands one in good stead and Mr. Pickett's restraint must have restrained the rest of us for nobody even said my favorite expression "spinach." The tire was changed and we reached the hotel at twenty minutes before four this morning.

Mr. Pickett, Mrs. Scheider and I with Miss Nancy Cook who joined us in Morgantown were on our way at eight-thirty this morning and reached Arthurdale soon after nine.

Tomorrow I want to tell you about the ceremonies here and a little about the men who are making it possible for all of us to feel that Arthurdale is a success and will continue to grow.

E.R.
TMsd 25 May 1937, AERP, FDRL