JANUARY 28, 1938
WINCHESTER, Ky., Thursday—We left the Lexington station at 7:00 this morning and Mrs. Morgenthau said she wondered why she chose such energetic friends.
I think, however, every one of us is glad we were energetic enough to take this trip. The purpose of our journey to Jackson, in Breathitt County, was to dedicate a high school. Mothers, fathers and officials of the government, have struggled and sacrificed to ensure, through this school, hope and opportunity to the children of the county.
At the exercises I was introduced to a little boy, whom I had met in the art room. His achievement was a model in clay of his own cabin with his family sitting on the steps. He was sixteen but looked twelve. Everyday he walks six miles from his home to the road where he takes the bus and drives fifteen miles to school—a twelve mile walk daily while school is in session.
A look at these children's faces made me understand a young woman whom I met yesterday and who seemed to me, at the time, quite unique. Perhaps there are more like her living in the mountains. If so, the future of America looks distinctly bright. She was introduced to me thus:
"Meet the young lady, Mrs. Roosevelt, after whom more children in the mountains are named than any other person."
I looked at a slender, dark haired, intelligent looking young woman who was well dressed in a black, fur trimmed suit and a smart little black hat. She organizes the radio listeing posts for the University of Kentucky. She goes into the communities, makes friends with the people, tells them about programs, gets them to come in and listen, and guides them in their choices.
"I walked nineteen miles last week to reach one of the posts." she said.
A little aghast, I murmured, "How do you usually reach these communities?"
"I go as far as I can by bus or train, and then I ride or walk. I did the nineteen miles in a day."
She told me she had grown up in the mountains and had spent eleven years boarding in one of the mission schools. Both her mother and father had encouraged her to earn most of her way in this school, but it was her mother who insisted she keep on.
Of the twelve children in her family every one of them has been through high school and some of them have college degrees. She is helping the younger ones now. She went back to teach and loved it, but she likes her work with the listening posts even better. I can well understand why she is so popular and has so many namesakes.