SEPTEMBER 27, 1939
WASHINGTON, Tuesday —Are you ever annoyed with yourself for not having thought of the doctrine of chances? I wanted very much to leave Huntington, W. Va., last night on a train which would have reached Washington early this morning. The train, however, is a fast train and the railroad people said they could not hold it even for a few minutes. It did not seem fair to cut my lecture short for my own convenience, particularly as it would have meant no question period and that is usually, to me, the most interesting part of the lecture. So we made up our minds rather reluctantly to take the 1:37 a. m. train.
When we got back to the hotel, after the lecture, it was a little before 10 and we were told that the train we had wanted to take was twenty-five minutes late. If we had packed, just on the chance of something like this happening, we could easily have made it, for the audience asked only one question of any importance. With a little hurry on leaving the auditorium, we would have been at the station in ample time.
As it was, having had a late lunch, we went without dinner and had a sandwich and some soup when we got back to the hotel. Then we packed and I had a short visit with Miss Dorothea Campbell, of the Business and Professional Women's Club of Charleston, which is now working so hard to help the women on the Red House government project. It was still only twenty minutes to 12, and we had to wait until 1:37!
I knew that our kind hosts were waiting also to take us to the train and we felt very guilty. But we slept for an hour and I hope they did too. They were so kind to us, and I think Mr. and Mrs. Philip Gibson and Dr. James Allen must have longed to see the last of us.
It is amusing, when you spend a full day in a hotel, to find how many of the young people telephone and would like to speak to "Mrs. Roosevelt," or to come up to see her and get an autograph. Miss Thompson has a weak spot for the young. She had one particularly long conversation and when she was through she told me that a young Boy Scout at the other end of the telephone was asking if I could not incorporate in my speech the fact that a great many boys in Huntington would like to join the Boy Scouts if someone would just provide the money for uniforms!
They really did not care what they belong to, but they were joining another organization which called itself the Red Shirts, or some such name, and had a camp some eight miles out of town, simply because they could not afford to belong to the Boy Scouts. He felt that this now organization was not as good an influence as the Boy Scouts, and was much troubled.
Ten minutes later he was back on the telephone to check on whether Miss Thompson had given me his message. We smiled about it, but just the same I think it is a good sign, for if you can be as keen as that about the Boy Scouts, you are developing a real sense of responsibility.