MAY 29, 1939
WASHINGTON, Sunday—We left Arthurdale at 11:30 yesterday morning, stopped at Romney for lunch and reached home at 6:30, in time for a swim before dinner out on the porch. The Under Secretary of the Treasury and Mrs. Hanes were our only guests. They know Mr. and Mrs. Robert Deans, who were among my companions on this three-day trip and I thought they would all like to have a chance to see each other.
I have been going over in my mind, as I always do after these trips, the things which stand out as significant. It is apparent that more and more people are out of work in these mining areas. As I look back, the outstanding picture was the one-armed miner, standing at the top of the hill with his squad of workers who were out planting corn. "Did you have experience on a farm before?" I asked. The face before me was lined, perhaps that missing arm had something to do with etching lines of pain, perhaps anxiety as to where the food for his family was coming from day by day was responsible. In any case, that face showed character and intelligence. The eyes lit up with a curious faraway look as he answered: "No, Mrs. Roosevelt, but we are in the machine age now, and some of us have got to go back to the land."
Up those little hollows are shacks built of boxes and tar paper. They call them "hide-outs." They are places you build for yourself when you have to get out of the company house. The mine which owned the village of Jere (correct) was taken over by the bank. The bank sold the village to the junk man, except in the case of a few houses which were owned by individuals. That is one reason why for nine months there was no water in Jere (correct) except what could be taken out of the creek into which all the drainage flowed.
The cooperative has put in a spigot for the families who still live there and pays the water tax. The families have been able to pay the small amount necessary per week until about a month ago, but lately a good many families are off WPA and on relief, and to earn twenty-five cents is a real problem when there is no work. As one woman told me: "Mrs. Roosevelt, how do I live. My husband is sick, I have three children. I get ten dollars a month on relief."
Oh, I know the usual answer—if you need work badly enough, you will find it, but up Scotts Run unless the cooperative can make work, you don't find it and I am going to watch that self-help cooperative with the greatest of interest and I hope that many people are going to help them out, for self-help cooperatives need a great deal of help from outside people at the start.
I must stop, but I shall tell you some more tomorrow.