MARCH 17, 1938
LOS ANGELES, Wednesday—At 3:00 o'clock yesterday afternoon, the WPA State administrator and various other officials called for me and we drove to the Fresno airport, which has been greatly improved by WPA labor. Under this program, some of the buildings have been moved and the administration building has been built. Then we drove through the park to see the artificial lake the WPA has constructed. Finally, we returned to the State College to see a project which had employed only a few people and which is now practically complete.
It interested me greatly because I think it will mean much to the schoolchildren of this district. In a series of well-lighted cases running along a corridor, they have depicted a section of California from the coast, over the mountains and to the desert. In each, against backgrounds painted from actual scenes, the birds and animals of the region are shown.
In those cases showing the marshy sections right next to the coast, I was amused to see the same little sandpipers and yellowlegs disport themselves as we find up north on the Atlantic Coast in the marshy section of the Island of Campobello. The backgrounds are skillfully painted and give depth to each scene. I can well believe that hundreds of children have enjoyed this natural history exhibit.
Two of the men of the American Legion, which sponsored the lecture in Fresno, very kindly suggested that we might like to go out to see a winery. The wine industry is, of course, important in this State. My only knowledge of wine making is derived from seeing the champagne cellars in Rheims, France, many years ago, and seeing my grandmother make mulberry wine at home. Here we saw sherry, port, muscatel, brandy and many other varities. We were given some sherry and port to taste and they seemed excellent to me.
We reached the hotel about 6:00 and a number of people came to call. After that I tried to write a few letters, but only succeeded doing the absolutely necessary ones before it was time for dinner and the lecture.
The gentleman who introduced me at the lecture had lost his house in the flood. He had built it only two years ago and I thought he accepted his loss very remarkably. Instead of bemoaning it, he said:" We regret the loss of things to which we had some sentimental attachment and which we cannot replace, but perhaps such things should happen to us lest we grow too soft." Not many of us take our adversities in that spirit.
I returned here on the first train to go through from Fresno to Los Angeles since the flood. We woke early this morning and saw we were going through an area which had evidently been hard hit. Steel bridges were destroyed as if they were made of paper and whole sections of the highway seem to have been undermined.