MARCH 14, 1938
PHOENIX, Sunday—The Altrusa Club, under whose auspices I spoke in El Paso, gave me a little glimpse into old Mexico, even though I did not have time to go over the border. They showed me a number of very beautiful native costumes from different counties in Mexico, two couples danced delightfully and one woman, who teaches music in a private school, sang a Mexican song very beautifully. At the same time, a tipica orchestra played and I have rarely enjoyed anything more.
In the afternoon, we visted Fort Bliss and saw many buildings which were made possible by WPA I was also shown the process for making adobe bricks. The Government Hospital for Veterans also has many improvements on which WPA has worked. At the School of Mines, the depression has really been a blessing in disguise, for only through WPA work could they have acquired some very badly needed improvement. In all these places they have murals done by WPA artists.
It gives one a sense of satisfaction to realize that, in spite of the fact that the depression forced upon us the necessity of giving people work through WPA, we have managed to make the work so useful that much of it will be enjoyed long after the depression is forgotten.
After the lecture we boarded the night train for Phoenix, Arizona. I woke this morning and saw a heavy shower in the desert. The transition from the desert, with its high cactus plants sticking up like magnified fingers, to green fields and irrgation ditches is quite sudden. We found ourselves looking at winter wheat, old cotton fields and orange groves before we knew it.
Some of the streets in Phoenix, lined with tall palms or a double row of olive trees and mountain ash, are very lovely. You would expect the mountains, which have no vegetation, to appear gaunt and bare, instead of that, the shadows and peculiar formation of the rocks make them most interesting and beautiful.
In Phoenix we lunched at a WPA practice house where they are training some 52 girls in household arts. Later, we visited one of the little houses which the National Youth Administration has built for tubercular patients in the poorest parts of the town. This house was occupied by a young tubercular father and was located within a stone's throw of the house occupied by his family, so that he can be cared for without infecting them. Because so many poor tubercular people come to this part of the country, the problem all over the state is very serious. This particular NYA project tries to keep the children from developing tuberculosis.
A most interesting project in cotton weaving, in which home-grown cotton is used, is at present being developed.
We are now on our way to San Francisco, but since conditions are not quite normal as yet, we are not quite sure when we will arrive.