OCTOBER 17, 1938
JOPLIN, Mo., Sunday—One pleasant thing about traveling is the opportunity it gives you to see your friends and acquaintances. It was delightful to change trains at Chicago on Friday and be met again by an old newspaper friend, and then to find Mrs. Cotsworth and her daughter, and Mrs. Flynn of the Burlington Railroad all there to greet me. Afterwards Mr. Louis Ruppel of the Chicago Times, came down to the train and I felt I had had a real reunion.
I have never before stayed in the city of St. Joseph, Missouri Historically it is very interesting, for at one time it was the end of the railroad and many of the Western trails started there. The streets are narrow in the business section, but I have never seen such a delightful network of boulevards and nearly all the houses in the residential district have trees, lawns and gardens around them.
We lunched on Saturday at the WPA practice house where the training of girls for domestic employment is being carried on. Like every other place where people apparently have been accustomed to having untrained maids, there is need for education among the employers. They are not always ready to set up certain standards of employment, which are the only way of attracting the really well trained women to domestic employment.
We drove about the city afterwards to see some of the building which has been going on at the state hospital for the insane and ended our trip by seeing a WPA recreation project for children, which seems to be doing exceptionally good work. They have reconditioned an old building and have a gymnasium with a stage at one end, a library, a club room and a game room.
Their play supervisors are practically all WPA workers and this makes it very difficult to find qualified people to do this work. It seems to me, of course, that it should eventually be a part of the school organization in every city, for supervised play and occupation during free time is our best defense against the spread of delinquency among young boys and girls. The moving spirit here seems to be a young Presbyterian minister and, from what I hear, he has succeeded in making his church members work hard.
After returning from the drive around the city, I went into the crystal room of the Hotel Robidoux to unveil a most interesting historical painting which commemorates the old Pony Express which started from St. Joseph and went to Sacramento, California. Its riders were brave men and kept communication open between our far-flung Western settlers and the Middle West before the telegraph or the first train had gone through. The picture is not only historically interesting, but extremely decorative and colorful. It does credit to the painter, Mr. George Gray.
We came in by train this morning to Kansas City, breakfasted and changed trains and are now on our way to Joplin, Missouri.