AUGUST 12, 1938
HYDE PARK, Thursday—I had a most ignominious experience yesterday afternoon. The night before I had carefully noted the fact that I needed gas in my car. It registered almost, but not quite, empty. I was driving my aunt and uncle around some of the country roads and we had just come out on a road which was about a mile above our own lane, when my car stopped. Two young women were standing outside a nearby house and I asked if they had a telephone, for I knew at once that I had run out of gas.
This hasn't happened to me in years. As far as I can remember, the last time was somewhere in central New York State when I was on my way to Watkins Glen. Miss Dickerman and I happened to be going through a valley and the entire valley apparently had quarrelled with the telephone company and had removed their telephones. At the first house at which we stopped, they placidly announced that no one for two miles in either direction had a telephone. We finally borrowed a gallon of gas which took us to the next gas station.
Luckily, this time, the house across the road had a telephone. After calling our own house and getting Miss Dorothy Dow, one of the most versatile and capable secretaries, to start off to our rescue, I chatted for a while with the kind people who allowed me to use their telephone and then went back to sit on the road to wait till the wherewithal to start the car made its appearance.
We came home to find three young people waiting for me. They had made an appointment for an early hour in the day but had an accident to their car and therefore were delayed. The young girl, who had written and asked to see me, interested me very much. She is an orphan and was brought up in an orphan asylum and her great ambition is to do social service work. She managed to finish high school inspite of being moved eight times to different families during her course. She has held an office job, but is now doing domestic work. She wants to help girls, who, like herself, had no homes when they first left the institutions and started out to make their way in the world and felt lost and lonely. She wants someone to help establish houses where these girls can live until they are completely on their own feet and independent. She wants a chance to fit herself to do this work. She is pretty and young, only nineteen, and I could not help thinking that, even if she manages to win an opportunity for preparation of this kind, it might not be long before she is married and doing something different.
I think her idea a good one, for I have always felt that these children are turned out in the world at a pretty defenseless age. I would not limit such homes to girls, for I think the boys have just as hard a time. I hope that something can be done to help my young visitor, for she struck me as having real quality and a kind of ambition which was not purely selfish.
We dined last night with my sister-in-law, Mrs. J. R. Roosevelt, and returned home in a pouring rain. As my farmer neighbor, Mr. Moses Smith, says: "You hardly get time to put in a load of hay before you get more rain." However, the country does look lovely and the sun is shining this morning.