MARCH 21, 1939
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Monday—All day yesterday we went through the desert. Wherever there was water, fields were green and trees were blooming, but elsewhere it was just sand with desert vegetation and here and there patches of yellow and purple wild flowers. It seems to me the mountains change from New Mexico to California. They become more indented and you can almost imagine that they take on different shapes.
Last year, when we were in Los Angeles, our train was one of the first to come into the city and go on through to San Francisco. We were three hours late, but very fortunate to be able to travel at all. This year we ran according to schedule and roads and bridges are all back in condition, but there are still signs of the flood in stumps and old logs which are now left high and dry.
In the midst of orange groves and flowering peach trees, and blooms of every kind, I kept wondering what was the specie of tree with a smooth, almost silver-grey trunk and not a leaf of any kind on its branches. The first chance I had, I asked someone who lived here and was promptly told that it was an English walnut. I wonder how it can be acclimated to such a change from its native soil.
We had three hours in Los Angeles yesterday afternoon, so I wired ahead to our son, Jimmie, and he met us at the station. We drove out with him to see his little house. It is a perfectly enchanting spot which looks modest enough, but which has every comfort and, in addition a delightful swimming pool in a little back garden with a cabana for nice warm weather.
I almost told him I would rent it from him the next time he went East. It looks so tempting to work out there on sunny days. In the corner of his living room, is an open fireplace, for the rare rainy days of this region. On thinking it over, however, I decided that I had all the homes I could use just at present and I certainly wanted to return to them, so I decided it was better not to be carried away by enthusiasm!
It seems far away here from the turmoil of Europe, and though I buy the newspapers whenever we reach a city, it is hard even to take in the headlines. What horrible things one man can do to upset the peace of the world! I think if I had to choose between being that particular man and the Czech Minister in Washington, I would rather accept the tragedy which the latter faces, for he carries no responsibility for a situation which must in the end spell tragedy for many people.
We arrived in San Francisco early this morning. This is one of the cities of the United States which I think has real charm and I always enjoy coming back to it. I hope to see something of the Fair, but this morning I am devoting to getting myself and my clothes in order after the trip across the Continent.