NOVEMBER 10, 1937
I was both flattered and intimidated by the fact that Governor Horner joined me on the platform last night in Rockford, Illinois. Not as a speaker, alas, but as part of my audience! When the time came for questions everything in the world was asked of me from such domestic questions as: "What is your favorite recipe, can you cook it yourself and can you tell us what the ingredients are?" to "What do you think the chances are of bringing about peace in the Far East?"
The Governor seemed a little restive at first. I think he was afraid I would be embarrassed. When it was over he confided in me that he had secreted one question. I dug it out to find that it was: "How do you raise your children when you travel around the country so much?" The poor man, being a batchelor had not realized that my children are all "raised." Quite obviously no one can leave home for long periods of time when they have young children to look after, but alas, my youngest son is a senior at Harvard and getting married in June, and I never did believe in grandmothers who tried to "raise" their grandchildren.
The hotel in Rockford was run on the old time principle that the proprietors were hosts and I have never seen anyone more attentive and kind than our host and hostess. They even gave us breakfast at six-thirty this morning and were up to see us off. That from my point of view is the acme of hospitality!
We arrived in Bloomington in the middle of the day and in the afternoon I went out to see the Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Children's Home. It is a very interesting establishment run for dependent boys and girls. It was founded in 1867 for the children of Civil War veterans. When they became scarce, the State of Illinois took it over, and now the American Legion is taking an interest in it for it takes care primarily of the sons and daughters of veterans of the World War.
The school is run by the nearby normal school, but the entrancing part of the place was the children's village. Small whitewashed brick cottages, just the right size for little children, each one with a living room, the floor of which is laid so as to furnish entertainment to the children. In one place the squares are for Hop-Scotch; in another for checkers and so on all over the floor. The tables and chairs are small, and in the babies' nursery we were led around by two tiny mites who proudly pointed to "my chair," "my bed," "my mug." They could not have been more natural or possessive in a home of their own. I am no believer in institutional care for children, but if you have to have an institution, I can think of none better adapted to their needs than this one. A really great achievement.
Tea with our friends, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Vrooman and the most delicious sandwiches made of homemade bread which Mrs. Vrooman proudly said she had baked this morning and cut at three.