MARCH 20, 1946
PHOENIX, Ariz., Tuesday—It seems so warm to me here that I was almost surprised to find how cool it was last night! Driving around today I realized what a wonderful farming country this is when you bring water to the land. Even among the orange and grapefruit groves arrangements are made for letting in the water which comes all the way from Roosevelt Dam to make this fruitful valley a green and profit making proposition. Land around here costs about $1,500 an acre. One acre of cauliflower will give you a good sized year's income! Across the way from Mr. Douglas's house, I noticed quite an area in grape vines and was told they were those green seedless grapes that have become so popular. Last year $20,000 was made from this particular piece of ground. Mr. Douglas ships hundreds of carloads of grapefruits and oranges and I walked a little way into his orchards and had a view also of date palms with the dates actually hanging from them. I've always thought of dates before in packed boxes in the grocery stores, never as hanging in great bunches from the trees with paper bags over them to keep the birds away. I also saw an orchard of olive trees this morning and was told that they were very scarce at the moment and bringing very high prices. That is, I imagine because Italy and Spain are not able to ship their usual quotas at the present time. In winter carloads of lettuce also travel northward from here and this is certainly a part of the world where intensive cultivation on small acerage brings good results as well as the larger ranches for citrus fruit and beef cattle. The milking cows look to me pretty poor and that, I imagine, is due to the fact that there is no very good pasture for them and feed is expensive.
The population of the state is increasing by leaps and bounds and Phoenix itself seems to have grown overnight or rather the numbers of small houses going up indicate that many people are moving here. They tell me that a great many veterans are coming here which is easily understandable for the climate will help many of them to rehabilitate their health. For a long time both this state and New Mexico have been the mecca to which many people with tuberculosis have come and it has always seemed to me unfair that these states had to bear the burden of the care of many indigent families who came here from other states, often having waited too long for a real cure to be possible. It would seem as though the federal government had an obligation to help, particularly where the veterans are concerned.
I visited, yesterday morning, the little office which my daughter and son-in-law have taken and saw their partners in their new publishing enterprise. I like the confident way in which everyone is looking to the future and greater success and apparently is prepared to work hard to succeed. This is still the country of the pioneer and of young people and I can well understand the attraction for those who are starting out to carve their own way in the world.
Now I must say just a word about a very enterprising young man who writes me every year from River Falls, Wisconsin. He is Mr. Raymond Baird, and from his wheelchair he writes several sports columns a week besides being the publicity director for Camp Wawbeek. This is a camp run by the Wisconsin Association for the Disabled, and boys and girls on crutches and in wheelchairs go there and spend a happy holiday every summer. They raise their money by the sale of Easter Seals and so Mr. Baird has asked me to tell the nation again that on the 20th of March, their campaign begins and though it is a Wisconsin charity, he hopes anyone in the country who feels that disabled youngsters are a national responsibility will help to swell the sale of seals this year as in former years.