DECEMBER 5, 1940
HOUSTON, Wednesday—It was interesting to see the West Texas oil men wandering in and out of the lobby of our hotel as they gathered in Abilene for their convention. There is a long, lean, Texas type of man who reminds me always of Will Rogers. One imagines that they all possess the qualities which were so attractive and loveable in him. They look like people who can stand sun and wind, who are at home on horseback and in far places by themselves. They give one a great sense of security in the future of our country.
In Dallas, Texas, we spent a little over an hour yesterday in the railroad station before leaving for Houston. A reception was held for me in the station by the Women's Democratic Luncheon Club. The members brought me flowers and were most kind in coming down to welcome me as I went through their city.
Mr. Murrell Buckner presented us with something very unusual, which the chef of our dining car cooked for our dinner. It was venison sausage. I confess I wondered what it would be like, but it turned out to be very good and we enjoyed our evening meal on the train.
By the time we arrived at Houston, I felt as though we had had quite a long day, but I must say that hours spent on the train give one an opportunity for reading rarely obtained elsewhere. I finished a whole book, which I had carried in my brief case for some weeks before returning it to the Junior Literary Guild with my criticism.
Yesterday we went through some hilly sections of Texas that had a certain amount of water. It does make a great difference to the countryside. I am struck by the fact that on the outskirts of nearly all small towns and big ones, there are houses which look very much like some of the California migratory camps. The houses are made of scraps, apparently, bits of corrugated iron, even heavy cardboard is used and it looks as though they were built on the dump heaps of the towns.
It can not be very healthy for people to live in them. One wonders how conscious the town authorities and the town people are of these conditions on their outskirts. I suppose this is partly the result of being a new country, where people come either to begin life for the first time on their own, or to begin it over again, if, for some reason, they have failed elsewhere. Modern conditions do not make the pioneer way of living as safe as it once was. However, I can not help feeling that there should be some better way of meeting this problem in modern society than the one which seems prevalent in many parts of the country.
We have had a most comfortable night in Houston, for which I should probably thank Mr. Jesse Jones, for I think our hotel is one of his Houston interests. In an hour we shall leave by motor for Victoria, Texas.