JULY 14, 1943
FRANKTOWN, Nev., Tuesday—Some days ago, as the newspapers have recorded, I came to spend a few days in this beautiful valley. I have a room that looks across a little lake to the mountains. There are farms around us settled long ago by some hardy Swiss pioneers. Gurgling streams run down even now from the mountains. Wild flowers bloom in the meadows, the pine trees and the cottonwoods give you shade.
I have walked in the early mornings with the sun coming up, and again in the evening under the moon and watched the stars come out, and renewed my understanding of our pioneers who gave us this vast land of ours. They had no fear of new adventure, there was no pattern to follow in their lives, they accepted men as they proved themselves in the daily business of meeting emergencies.
Have we lost this spirit, do we fear to face the fact that we have new frontiers to conquer? I was sick at heart when I came here, over race riots which put us on a par with Nazism which we fight, and make one tremble for what human beings may do when they no longer think but let themselves be dominated by their worst emotions. We are a mixed nation of many peoples and many religions, but most of us would accept the life of Christ as a pattern for our democratic way of life, and Christ taught love and never hate.
We cannot settle strikes by refusing to understand their causes, we cannot prepare for a peaceful world unless we give proof of self-restraint, of open mindedness, of courage to do right at home, even if it means changing our traditional thinking and, for some of us, a sacrifice of our material interests.
We visited an Indian school near here yesterday. It was a great satisfaction to see the nice dormitories, simple living rooms, and workshops. The girls who learn to garden, care for the chickens and cows and horses, who live in the little two room practice cottagea [originally: cottage] and care for the baby, will take much back to their reservations to raise the standard of living.
The baby came to them a poor little undernourished waif, five months old and weighing nine pounds. It is a healthy little two-year-old today and the girls go out and earn money for their baby's support. The older boys are nearly all off to the war, but the younger boys are there. I was particularly interested in the man who teaches them carving and does some beautiful work himself. He told me that he had never had a lesson, and yet his work has real quality and feeling.
We passed through extraordinary and ghostly Virginia City. What fortunes were made and lost there. There are still the remains of houses which give an inkling of the money spent. All materials came from far away and the difficulties of transportation must be hard for us even to imagine. The old opera house still stands with the list of famous people who appeared on its stage. Jenny Lind and the great Patti were among the number.
One of the things which warms one in this part of the country is the friendliness of the people. If your cattle get out, help is there as soon as your neighbors know you need it. I doubt if they have more time than the rest of us, but they are not afraid to be kind.