SEPTEMBER 5, 1940
NEW YORK, Wednesday—It was foggy when I first looked out of the train window yesterday morning in Charleston, West Virginia, but I soon realized the chemical plants and the low-lying valley caused the mist, for above the sky was blue and the sun was burning through.
Miss Thompson and I had breakfast early, for we realized the day would be busy and, unless we could get our column written before we left the train, we might find it difficult to do so during the rest of the day.
By 9:00 o'clock, the party was ready to leave, and Mrs. Neely, Mrs. Holt, Mrs. Koontz and I drove together in an open car behind the Secret Service, who always follow the President. I rather like driving behind because you get a much better impression of what it means to people to see the President of the United States.
They often come up to him and say they have driven hundreds of miles to see him, but one takes that as a mere desire to be polite. People aren't being polite, however, when they stand on the sidewalk. Yet the expression on the faces of certain people gives one a feeling of the depth of the responsibility which a man has when he is President of the United States. To many people the President is a symbol of protection, a source from which comes their sense of security in a sadly troubled world.
We drove through a plant in Charleston, W. Vir., which my husband, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, had seen built during the last World War, but I confess that the machinery meant less to me than it did to the gentlemen. We also saw a plant under lease to the Carnegie Steel Corporation.
My greatest thrill was in seeing the NYA resident project. Here some 500 boys were being trained as aviation mechanics. It looks like a good shop with excellent teachers. They were working on a real production basis and that, after all, is the only good preparation to give young people who eventually want to be skilled mechanics.
In driving back to the train we went over the new boulevard which runs along the river. It is certainly a beautiful drive and I suppose in deepening the channel they may have done something to improve flood conditions which so often menace this area.
I felt quite sorry to let so many nice people depart on the train and I wished that I could have seen more of some of our friends who made the trip with us. Miss Thompson and I stayed in Charleston, and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Koontz were charming hosts. I was taken to the Capitol, a beautiful example of Mr. Cass Gilbert's work. After greeting a number of people there, we returned to a delightful ladies' luncheon at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Koontz. A small reception followed and a little after 4:00 o'clock we boarded the plane for New York City. We were in our apartment there at 10:00 p.m., and now I am starting out on a busy day in New York City.