MARCH 20, 1947
PHOENIX, Wednesday—As we neared Phoenix on the plane yesterday, my young neighbor, a sailor who had come down from Seattle, looked out of the window with great interest at the irrigated farms below us. Wherever there is water, the desert blooms. I can remember the day when there were no farms in this area, but now they look green and prosperous.
The only need is more water, and I am told that that is one of the great preoccupations of this state. The sunshine and the climate are a gift from Heaven, but somehow people will have to use their ingenuity to increase the flow of water, so that more people may enjoy this health-giving atmosphere and at the same time earn a living.
I stopped off here primarily to spend two days with my daughter and son-in-law, who have settled here, started a newspaper, The Arizona Times, which will soon be on a daily basis, and bought a charming small home under the shadow of one of the mountains. Last summer I thought the heat might somewhat dampen their enthusiasm, but I was quite mistaken. They enjoyed it, because apparently what you adopt as your own always loses its flaws. Since this is their adopted state, even their two older children, who are away at school part of the year, have decided that they thoroughly agree on the choice.
I have not heard a murmur about the heat from any of them. In fact, they tell me it is quite different from the heat in the East. That is damp, and this is dry. And the nights are never too warm to sleep. They haven't yet told me that you must have a blanket to be comfortable even on the hottest night, but I fully expect to hear it before long!
* * *
Some friends came in late yesterday afternoon and among them were Mr. and Mrs. Charles Allen Ward of St. Paul, Minn. Their three girls look like perfect patterns for the rodeo in Madison Square Garden, but I was told that they had on their new Easter outfits—embroidered cowboy boots, turned-up riding trousers, colored shirts and gay neckties. Even the little 4-year-old girl rides or swims all day.
Everyone is agog over the coming rodeo here. Before it there is a parade in which beautiful saddles and bridles and the most expensive cowboy suits can be shown to the best advantage. I am told that anyone who appears on the streets in anything but Western garb while the rodeo is on runs the risk of being put in jail!
This show is, of course, part of the local color which draws many visitors to this part of the world every winter. There are more here this winter, they tell me, than ever before, and prices are higher than ever before. Someone told me that a depression has begun, but I can't say that it looks that way when hundreds of visitors are able to pay present-day hotel prices.
In San Diego the other night, a little item on a menu struck my eye. It was a little clipped-on sheet and it said: "Take Our Special Steak Dinner. Price, $4.00." Shades of the time when $2 would have bought a very special steak dinner or any other kind of dinner!