My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

LANSING, Mich., Tuesday—We had a very pleasant trip yesterday afternoon. Much to our surprise, we were met in St. Louis by Mr. T. M. Hayes of the Wabash Railroad. It turned out that he had been with Mr. Frederic Delano for ten years, that the latter was president of the Wabash and for several years thereafter. We were his guests on the trip to Decatur, Illinois, where he was born and raised, and then back to Chicago. He made it a very pleasant journey. It is always interesting to travel with some one who is very enthusiastic about his job, and the Wabash Railroad is quite evidently one of the main interests in Mr. Hayes' life. His father was with the railroad for 57 years, and he has already 37 years of service behind him.

Traditions such as this are rather rare in the United States, but the great opportunities for material advancement in our country came out several times in the conversation. He mentioned another man, who started as a telegrapher and today, in middle life, occupies one of the high executive positions in another railroad.

I am not sure that in the next decade our young people can look forward to quite such rapid changes in their material situation, but it seems to me that there are more and more opportunities for leadership of groups are opening up. These are found in labor, agricultural, civic and political groups. They will, perhaps, lead to a more divided and more widely distributed material rise and will give many individuals tremendous scope for their powers of leadership. The guiding of such groups through the transition period, which has many pitfalls but also many future possibilities, will be tremendously interesting and will satisfy the highest type of ambition.

One sees no sign of spring in any of the places we have been in so far, and so I was rather surprised to find quite a crowd braving the cold air to great me at the station last night. We went directly from the train to the lecture hall. The audience in Decatur was an excellent audience, quiet and attentive, and the questions asked at the close of the lecture were nearly all interesting ones. Before leaving the building, I was able to greet one of the patients who had been at Warm Springs, Ga., and who returns there every six months. She is now attending the university and shows in her face a happy spirit, which is an achievement for she has to move around in a wheelchair.

Then I met a large group of newspaper people and returned to the train for a comfortable night on the way to Chicago.

This morning we were met by our friend, Inspector Daly, and after a very good breakfast, we drove about for an hour. It was the first time I had seen the University of Chicago buildings and the outside of the Rosenwald Museum. Sometime I hope to have time to see a little more of both these institutions. Now we are back on the train bound for Lansing, Michigan.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL